Fishing & Boating in the Northwoods

Mesquite-Grilled Margarita Northern Pike Recipe

Northern pike made margarita-style

Northern Pike will lend themselves well to being prepared in a variety of ways. This is especially true if they are fresh. But even after lengthy freezing, they will still maintain a very good flavor if rinsed well before freezing, and then soaked in a mixture of egg and milk for a few hours prior to cooking. Here is one of my all-time favorite recipes for northern pike – especially pike with the y-bones removed! It was inspired by the many foods I’ve come to love that are prepared in a Spanish style.

northern pike plated with green beans and potatoes

Not sure how to fillet northern pike? Check out my step-by-step instructions.

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  • 1 Fresh Northern Pike (any size, but a 3-4 pound fish works best)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Lime juice from 1/4 fresh lime
  • Splash of tequila
  • Garlic powder
  • Chile powder
  • Cumin
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Hot Pepper Flakes (optional and only for the stoutest of taste buds)
  • Mesquite chips


Soak about one cup of mesquite chips in water for an hour or so. While the chips are soaking, coat both sides of the pike fillets with a small amount of olive oil. Squeeze half of the lime juice on each fillet. Sprinkle rib cage side with tequila and the remainder of the above-listed ingredients. Allow to marinate for about an hour.

northern pike marinating

Fire up your grill. It would be very helpful here if you have a fish grill grate (keeps the fish from falling through). When the fire is hot, add the wet mesquite chips to the coals of the grill.
When things get good and smoky, lay the pike fillets on the grill, rib cage side down. Cook for 2-3 minutes, turn over and cook for another 2-3 minutes. DO NOT OVER-COOK! The fillets should still be moist and tender.

To accompany the fish, we made a sauce of sautéed onions, mango pieces and red grapes. A little cayenne pepper can be added for some additional heat and flavor.

That’s it – one of my favorite ways to prepare northern pike: in the Spanish style of Mesquite-Grilled Margarita Pike (without the bones, of course!).

Serving suggestions: Try serving with R. Karl’s Spanish Rice and Heidi’s Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon Dressing.

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R. Karl

Angler, Author & Epicure

Fishing since the age of eight.  Seriously writing since the age of 16. Chef and foodie from the age of 22 years… and counting. So much to learn and so little time. I have enjoyed every minute of it all.  Whether on the water (where I like it best), in the kitchen, or at the keyboard, churning out content, I feel like I have found my place.  I am sharing it with you in the hope that some of what I love to do will rub off on you. I hope to see you On the Lake!

R. Karl