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How to Grill Food

Grilling Fish

Related Recipes

Grilled salmon recipes are among the favorite summer recipes. Whether you're looking for the right Labor Day recipes, or simply want great barbecue recipes any time of year, fish fillets are easy to prepare and great to eat anytime of year.
Grilling Salmon Fillets

Steak or fillet, salmon is America's favorite fish with good reason. The rich, full flavor is perfect when enhanced with a touch of smoke from the grill.

To grill salmon fillet:
  1. Prepare grill for direct cooking.

  2. Rinse and dry salmon. Run fingers over cut surface of fish. Remove any bones.

  3. Cut salmon crosswise into serving-size pieces.

  4. Lightly brush salmon with oil and sprinkle with salt.

  5. Place salmon, skin-side down, on preheated grid.

  6. Grill salmon, on covered grill, over medium coals 8 to 10 minutes or until salmon flakes easily when tested with fork.

    When grilling salmon fillets, remember that simple grilled salmon can be paired with sauces or herb butters.
    © 2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Simple grilled salmon can be paired
    with a wide variety of sauces.

Salmon's bold flavor stands up well to strong seasonings, whether you choose spicy, smoky, or sweet. If you're interested in making a grilling rub or marinade for your salmon fillets, check out our article on how to grill.

Fish Steaks

(for tuna, swordfish, halibut, or shark steaks cut 1 inch thick)

To grill fish steaks:
  1. Marinate fish steaks in a single layer in large shallow dish, using your favorite recipe.

    When grilling salmon fillets, marinating fish before grilling is a great way to add impact.
    © 2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Marinating fish before grilling adds impact.

  2. Prepare barbecue grill for direct cooking.

  3. Hot Tip!
    Tuna becomes dry and tough if overcooked. Tuna should be cooked as if it were beef. It should be opaque, but still feel somewhat soft in center.
    Drain fish steaks and discard marinade.

  4. Place fish steaks on preheated grid.

  5. Grill fish steaks, on uncovered grill, over medium-hot coals 3 to 4 minutes per side or until fish is opaque and flakes easily when tested with a fork.
Whole Snapper

(about 4-1/2 pounds, scaled, gutted and cavity cut open*)

To grill whole snapper:
  1. Prepare barbecue grill for direct cooking.

  2. Rinse snapper under cold running water; pat dry with paper towels. Open cavity of snapper; brush with lemon juice. Sprinkle lightly with salt, pepper, and your favorite chopped fresh herbs.

  3. Place a few lemon slices inside cavity and close snapper. Secure opening by threading a skewer lengthwise through outside edge of cavity.

    When grilling whole fish, thread with a metal skewer to securely close a stuffed, whole fish.
    © 2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Threading with a metal skewer is a
    fast and easy way to securely close
    a stuffed, whole fish.

  4. Place snapper in oiled, hinged fish basket or directly on oiled grid.**

    When grilling a whole fish, oil the hinged basket or grid to keep the fish from sticking.
    © 2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Oil the hinged basket to keep from sticking.

  5. Grill snapper, on uncovered grill, over medium-hot coals 20 to 25 minutes or until snapper flakes easily when tested with fork, turning halfway through grilling time.

  6. Transfer snapper to carving board. Remove skewer from snapper. Slit skin from head to tail along the back and belly of snapper; pull skin from top side of snapper with fingers.

    When grilling whole fish, pull the skin gently to remove it from the snapper.
    © 2006 Publications International, Ltd.
    Pull gently on the skin to remove from fish.

  7. Using a utility knife, separate top fillet from backbone; cut into serving-size pieces. Lift up tail; pull forward to free backbone from lower fillet. Cut lower fillet into serving-size pieces. Remove skin, if desired.
*This can be done by your fish retailer at the time of purchase or you may wish to do this yourself.

** A whole red snapper may not fit in a hinged fish basket. If desired, remove head and tail from snapper.

If you prefer shellfish, we have some suggestions on how to grill seafood in the next section.