Sunday, August 13, 2017

Scallop Diving Trip

[FTC Standard Disclaimer] I received no compensation for this post.  Certified Angus Beef is a sponsor and I received the Grill Dome as part of a sponsorship package a few years ago.

We went diving for scallops in the Gulf of Mexico with my sister and several good friends last weekend.  My sister's beau had use of his friend's house that is on a canal and is just a stones throw from the Gulf.  

I had never gone scalloping before but anything out on the water is fun for me.  It was a very quick 72 hours but well worth the drive. 

View from the deck.  Just two right turns from here and you are in the Gulf.  We were so grateful that his friends were so gracious to share their home with us for the weekend. 

The hot tub was a welcome relief after a 10+ hour drive down from Tennessee.

Putting green in the back yard.

Sean made beef chimichangas for us the first night. 

They were crispy and delicious!  I topped mine with guacamole, crema, salsa verde, and cheese.

After dinner, we loaded up in Sean's boat and headed out for a sunset cruise.

The clouds didn't get the whole point of the "sunset" thing but it was still relaxing.

I love warm Florida Summer nights when you're out on the water.

Friday Morning 

Alexis and I brought several packs of our home cured and smoked sorghum and bourbon bacon. We our Grill Dome kamado grill and Rhonda brought a ton of accessories like this Little Griddle.

Rhonda made some ham and Swiss rolls which were great because we took the few leftovers on the boat with us.

Then we loaded up on the boat to head out to the scalloping.

Just kidding....this wasn't our boat.

This was our boat.  Well, Sean's boat :) 

For scallop diving, you just need snorkeling gear (fins, mask, snorkel) and a net for holding the scallops that you catch.

Alexis had never snorkeled before and she wasn't too sure about this.  A quick 1 minute lesson and she did fine.

Safety first!

To catch scallops, we went to shallow grassy areas in the Gulf.  Then you just snorkel at the surface until you see a scallop down below.  Then it's as simple as diving down to grab it.
"Fins up" is a sign that someone has found one.

Unfortunately, I'm temporarily on several medications until I get a procedure done on my heart later this month and as a result, I kept getting nosebleeds when I dove.  So I ended up being the full time "spotter" - a person that stays on the boat to keep an eye on the divers. 

Counting out the catch. It was a bit of a competition, who could catch the most, so everyone watched the counts to ensure there was no cheating....not that a fisherman would ever fib.
It was a fun filled day and we were all smiles heading back in.

We got back to the house and it was time to make dinner.  The scallops were for Saturday so we made some steak tacos.  We had a flat iron steak, a flank steak, onions, and peppers.  We didn't have a lot of time so I made a strong marinade.

Quick Marinade for Steak Tacos


  • 1/2 cup lime juice 
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 1.5 tablespoons season salt
  • 1.5 tablespoons cumin


Mix ingredients together and pour over scored steaks in a zip top bag.  Make sure the steaks get covered and leave at room temperature for 90 minutes, flipping every 15-20 minutes.

We grilled the veggies first.  Right next to the water, this was one of my favorite grilling locations ever.  Again, we were so appreciative for the use of the home.  

Marcia and I grilled the steaks.  Flank, flat iron, and sirloin flap steaks are all great options when you're grilling for a crowd.  Yeah, the gasket on this kamado is fried but it still works just fine. 

Flank steak is best served medium rare or less and thin sliced.  This one was perfect.
Alexis and Rhonda made a Tex-Mex rice that was really tasty and colorful for a side or as a stuffing for the tacos.  It was just thrown together but here are the basics.

  • Grilled 2 ears of corn and cut off the kernels. 
  • Sautéed diced green bell pepper, jalapeno, and onions in a little oil and seasoned them with a little salt and pepper as they cooked.
  • Stirred in about 1 1/2 cups of rice, tossing to coat the rice, until the rice became fragrant.
  • Then added 3 cups of liquid (stock and water mixed), 1/3 cup tomato sauce, the corn kernels, and a package of Goya Sazon seasoning (coriander and annatto). Stirred all of that together, covered, and let it cook for 18-20 minutes.

I had mine stuffed with the rice, shredded cheese, cilantro, steak, diced fresh onion, grilled onions, grilled peppers, Mexican crema, and cotija cheese.  They were superb and just the ticket for after being on the boat all day.

Saturday Morning

The next morning we were right back at it. We fueled up before heading out with breakfast casserole, our home cured/smoked bacon, and goetta sausage. 

Isn't this the best grilling spot ever? Grilling goetta sausage on the griddle on the Grill Dome. Goetta sausage is a Cincinnati thing.  It's a sausage made with oats and to me it has the texture of a cross between hash browns and sausage.  We LOVE it but it's hard to find outside of Cincinnati.

Marcia had to head out so on Saturday, it was me, Alexis, Jennifer, Rhonda, Sean, and B.J. 

Sweet boat on the way out of the canals.

Uh oh, it's the water po-po!  Just kidding, the Florida fish and game law enforcement are just out there making sure everyone is safe and making sure the resources are protected.

A lot of boats are out on the water on a Saturday so we had to be more careful on Saturday.  These groups are rafted together to just relax, so they are closer to shore.  We were headed out about 20 minutes further.

The key to scalloping is location.  Here we are at the right depth and Rhonda is just finding the perfect, sea grass covered bottom as Sean idles along.

Back in the water, collecting scallops.  I tried again but after just 3 dives down, started getting the nose bleeds again.  I can't wait to do this next year when that's no longer an issue.

So I played "spotter" again.  Usually, my divers were all around the boat but here's a rare time they were all together.  Sean in the foreground, Rhonda fins up, Alexis & B.J. then Jennifer fins up in the distance.

Headed back in after a day full of laughter and light hearted competition, we caught our limit in just a few hours.

The channel out is one of the narrowest I've seen in Florida.  In some spots, it's pretty tight for two large boats passing each other.

Plus, this channel isn't very forgiving.  In plenty of places, just a few feet outside of the channel the water is inches deep like this or lined with rocky shoals.

Sigh....last trip back in.  It felt like the last day of Summer camp.

Time to clean the scallops.

It was a team effort.

This is the prize - clean, fresh bay scallops.

We put a bunch of potatoes on the Grill Dome to bake.  That's going to take an hour...what should we do in the mean time?

We headed to the neighborhood's waterside bar and grill for margaritas! 

Alexis grilling corn for Rhonda's Mexican street corn.  B.J. rocking his limited edition Meat Church hat in the back ground talking with Sean.

Alexis and I brought a bunch of Certified Angus Beef steaks from Food City - 2 strips, 2 ribeyes, and 2 T-bones.  We seasoned them using a simple rub of sea salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne.
Then there was a "changing of the guard".  We brought this kamado down with us to give to Sean.  It has been a great grill but I've been downsizing and Sean's deal to buy a used Egg fell through.  So this was the point we turned it over to Sean and he grilled the steaks and scallops for everyone.

It's hard to beat the smell of a hot grill after a long day on the water!

Like quality beef, fresh scallops don't need much help.  Sean cooked them with just salt, butter, and garlic in cast iron over hot lump coal.

I didn't get any plated pictures because 1) technically I was on vacation and 2) there may have been some adult beverages involved.

We finished the day back on the water, docked at the local bar and grill, listening to live music.

What a fantastic weekend with family and friends. I'm already looking forward to doing it again next year.