Braaied snoek with orange & apricot butter

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A platter with braaied snoek

Braaied snoek with orange & apricot butter is a delicious riff on a classic South African recipe. Snoek cooked over coals with apricot jam and garlic glaze is an institution in the Western Cape. The sweetness of the basting goes perfectly with the oiliness & saltiness of the fish.

Snoek to be cooked on a fire (BBQ)

The length of cooking time will depend on the size of the fish. Baste the snoek frequently and generously. Serve the remaining butter basting with the fish on the side.

Orange and apricot butter basting with thyme for snoek

What to add to a basting for snoek?

Traditionally fresh snoek in the Western Cape of South Africa would be basted with apricot jam, lemon juice, butter and garlic when cooked over a fire. For this recipe I have taken out the garlic which I find quite a strong flavour for fish, but feel free to add some in if you prefer.

I have replaced the lemon juice with orange juice in the basting and added orange zest to amplify the citrus flavour. I  served the cooked snoek with fresh lemon juice on the side.

The apricot jam adds sweetness and thickness to this basting making it easy to coat the fish.

A few sprigs of fresh thyme give this basting an earthy tone, and chopped parsley adds a herbaceous finish.

I love the hint of smoked paprika in this snoek basting. I have only added a hint as I find too much clouds the flavour. You could also add chilli if you like heat.

Basting fresh snoek with an apricot and orange butter

How to cook snoek on a Braai (BBQ):

Make the basting by heating all the ingredients in a small pot until it just starts to bubble. Allow to cool slightly and thicken.

Brush the snoek generously on the flesh side of the fish and place it on a basket grid with handles. This will allow you to hold the fish in place while you flip it. Line one side of the grid with foil as an option.

Cook the fish over medium hot coals.

Snoek can also be cooked on a griddle pan or under the grill in an oven if you prefer. Cut the butterflied fish to fit the size of your pan.

The fish is ready when it it is white and can form flakes.

A butterflied snoek basted with orange and apricot jam butter

I created this recipe with Kerrygold to celebrate Heritage month in South Africa. This is a dish I grew up with in Cape Town and one that love today.

A pot of orange and apricot butter basting for snoek

Snoek has a lot of bones and it’s impossible to take these out prior to cooking. Picking them out whilst eating the cooked fish is part of the experience. Serve with crusty white bread such as baguette, ciabatta or country bread with more butter for a delicious open sandwich.

If you have any leftover snoek, pick out the bones, shred it and make smoorsnoek like my mom used to make,or make a classic South African smoked snoek pate.
Braaied snoek with orange & apricot butter recipe

Recipe – for 1 small-medium snoek (serve 6 – 10 depending on size)

(If you have a very large snoek, increase the butter and apricot jam to 150gm)

Braaied snoek with orange & apricot butter

Braaied snoek with an orange and apricot butter glaze. 
Print Recipe
A platter with braaied snoek
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:16 minutes


  •  1 Snoek )preferrabley fresh) cleaned and butterflied as a whole fish.
  • 100 gm apricot jam
  • 100 gm Kerrygold butter
  • Zest and juice of an orange or blood orange
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt & coarsely ground pepper
  • lemon wedges to serve
  • Chopped parsley to serve optional


  • Combine the apricot jam, butter, orange juice & zest, thyme and smoked paprika in a small pot and melt until just bubbling. Allow to cool and for the thyme to infuse.
  • Brush the basting liberally over the snoek and season with salt & pepper.
  • Place the snoek in to a fish basket (flippable BBQ / Braai grid) over medium heat coals or under the oven on grill. This can also be cooked on a griddle pan (just cut the fish to fit).
  • Cook on each side for about 6 – 8 minutes depending on size.
  • Continue to baste the snoek frequently.
  • The fish will be ready after 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve with lemon wedges, any leftover basting and crusty white bread & more Kerrygold butter.
Servings: 4 - 6
Author: Sam Linsell

A few other South African Heritage recipes:

Classic South African unbaked milk tarts

The best buttermilk bran rusks

Earl Grey tea milk tart  -Baked milk tart 

Orange malva pudding

Pear & ginger malva pudding

Malva pudding with cranberries & ginger

My grandmother Betty’s crunchy recipe

Easy peppermint crisp pudding

Traditional South African bobotie with fragrant yellow rice

A few other recipes using Kerrygold butter & cheese

The best cheese & onion quiche

My best lemon meringue pie

My perfect cheese scones 

*This post is sponsored by Kerrygold




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