Fish Grilling Tips for Perfect Results Every Time

Grilled-salmonTrue, it’s easier to throw a steak on the grill than a healthy piece of fish – especially if the thought of grilling fish intimidates you. But your family will be asking for seconds when you try these tips for making the most of your grill recipes for fish.

Fish grilling tips

Keep these basic tips in mind and you’ll be rewarded with juicy success every time.

Buy fresh fish. Only fresh fish can give you the best results, whether you’re grilling or using another cooking method. Fresh fish doesn’t have a strong ‘fishy’ odor. It should be firm to the touch and appear moist. Try to eat your fish the same day you buy it. If you can’t, wrap it tightly and refrigerate for no longer than two days. For longer periods, freeze it.

Know your fish cuts. Avoid cooking a whole fish until you master a few smaller grill recipes for fish. Try fish steaks or fillets. Keep in mind: a ‘steak cut’ is easier to grill, while delicate fillets may fall apart when flipped. If you’re taking on the whole fish, stuff it with an ingredient that adds moisture to the inside, creating a space for heat to circulate.

Kenmore-charcoal-gas-combo-grillUse a hot grill. It doesn’t matter if you have a charcoal, gas, electric or stove-top grill pan. Don’t place your fish on top until the surface is super hot. Sear your fish immediately to seal in the juices.

Oil the grill top correctly. You don’t want to apply oil to your grill top until the surface is hot. When it is, dip folded paper towels into the oil, and using grill tongs, wipe the oil over the grill surface.

Watch the timing. A basic rule for grilling fish is to allow 8 minutes for each inch of thickness, or 10 minutes when grilling a whole fish. Be sure to check your fish prior to the time you think it should be finished. You can always leave it on the grill longer, but you can’t fix fish that’s overcooked.

Wait to apply a glaze or sauce. Glazes and marinades add flavor to any fish dish, but don’t spread one on while the fish is grilling. Sear it first, turn the heat to low, and then brush on the glaze during the final two minutes.

Grilling fish – different methods

When you achieve a comfort level grilling fish, you can begin to experiment with different grilling methods.

1. Use a grill pouch. Aluminum foil works well for certain types of fish. Even better is using edible leaves such as cabbage or banana. Be cautious when opening any hot pouch with steam inside.

Grilling-basket2. Buy a grill basket. Wire mesh grill baskets are designed to make grilling fish easier.

3. Thread onto skewers. Cut fish into chunks and thread onto stainless steel skewers.

4. Grill using a plank. To achieve a natural, smoky flavor, use a water-soaked cedar plank. Grill recipes for fish that make use of a plank almost guarantee success – no turning is required.


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