This succulent, lightly flavored fish dish brings a different nuance to tailgating offerings. A nice surprise for the jaded palate, the sweet and sour sauce pairs well with the haddock or tilapia to create a fusion of Chinese and American ingredients. Also, the caramelized onions add a little extra fun to the already delightful dish. You’ll never go back to frozen fish sticks again.

Sweet and Sour Grilled Fish
Prep time: 10 minutes
Marinating time: 1 hour
Cooking time: 7-10 minutes
Difficulty level: Easy
Serves 6-8

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  • 2 pounds thick-cut fillets of tilapia or haddock, washed and cut into 3×3-inch pieces
  • 1 cup hickory-smoked barbecue sauce
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon oyster sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • Salt if needed
  • 2 large onions, sliced into thin circles


Blend barbecue sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chili sauce, ginger, garlic and brown sugar into a smooth marinade in a large mixing bowl. Add salt if desired. Pour 1/4 of the marinade into a separate container. Add onion slices, coat evenly and store in the refrigerator.

Add fish fillets to the remaining marinade and turn gently to coat thoroughly. Store them in a large plastic bag or tupperware container in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

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Once at the tailgate, using an oiled metal fish slice, distribute each fillet of fish onto a medium-hot grill. Turn the fillet once until cooked and lightly golden, basting with the marinade as needed.

Simultaneously, place marinated onions into foil packets and grill directly on the flames for about 10 minutes.

Serve the grilled fish with the caramelized onions.

Looking for other unique recipes?  Try our Chili-Citrus Tri-Tip Steak.

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Bina Joseph, a resident of Glastonbury, CT is a freelance writer covering all things travel-related in Connecticut.
A passionate veteran of the travel industry, Bina has visited more than 40 countries, giving her a unique, global perspective. Her work can be found at