July 31, 2014 – Grilled fish comes together in a matter of minutes, making it ideal for a weeknight meal. Even a novice backyard griller can achieve grilled fish perfection. No more fish sticking to grill grates, falling apart and becoming overdone. Get it perfect every time with a few tips.
Choose Your Fish
For fish that you are going to put directly on the grill grates, go for one that is thick and sturdy, such as salmon (try fresh Sea Queen Chilled* Salmon from the cooler section or frozen Sea Queen Wild Caught Salmon, thawed). This type of fish will stand up best to an open fire and will be less likely to fall apart when flipping them. Flaky and thin fish, such as flounder and tilapia, will not hold up to the direct flame and are better suited for cooking in foil packets on the grill or in the oven.
Prep Your Grill
Sometimes, a fish that sticks to the grill is not the fish’s fault. It’s all about having clean grates! Heat your grill to medium-high to get your grates hot for easier cleaning. After you clean the grates, oil them with a paper towel or cloth dipped in vegetable or olive oil (hold the cloth with your tongs so you don’t burn your hand!).
Prep the Fish
For the safest bet to avoid sticky situations (literally), we like to keep it simple with just salt, pepper and a good covering of olive oil. Sugars in marinades can caramelize and, in turn, burn and stick to grates. We recommend adding a sauce or just a squirt of lemon after the fish is cooked.
Once your fish is in the covered grill for a few minutes (4-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of your filet) over a medium-high flame, you will start to see the edges turn opaque (for salmon, it turns from a darker pink to a lighter pink). This is the time to flip your fish. You only want to flip it once. Use a spatula for this job – the bigger the better so as to get as much of the fish on the utensil as possible. If you feel the fish sticking, stop right there! If you have oiled the grates and the fish, this sticking means that there is a good chance it’s not ready to be flipped quite yet. The fish will tell you when it’s ready. Give it another minute or two and then try again.
Take It Off The Grill
The fish will continue to cook a little bit after you take it off the grill, so you will want to take it off just before it is completely cooked through. To check for doneness, stick a fork lightly in the middle of the fillet. If it is flaky and opaque in the middle, it’s ready to come off the grill. Or, if you have a meat thermometer, it should read 130-135°F. Delicately transfer the fish from the grill to a plate with your trusty spatula. If you want to top the fish off with a little something extra, try salsa or prepared pesto.
*Price and availability may vary by store.