Grilling fish on the grill can be a little complicated but you can totally manage this! Some species of fish make better choices than others, and some very delicate fillets are not suitable for grilling at all. but some of our go-to we enjoy are tuna, salmon, halibut, and shrimp. Of course, swordfish is also a great option!
First of all, here’s how to prevent fish from sticking when grilling
Before you even start grilling you have a great opportunity to prevent your fish from sticking to the grill. Fish selection will be very helpful but the solution is a well-prepared grill and the right grill temperature, which most times is medium-high. On the grill, make sure your grates are really clean and really hot before you start.
What are the best fish for grilling?
When choosing a fish for grilling, it is important to look at how sturdy or firm it is. Delicate fish such as the sole, tilapia, or flounder do not fare well in open flames. They are more likely to be flakey, split or fall between grates. It is better to choose a sturdy, firm fish.
Complete Grilling Fish Tips
Challenges when grilling fish are twofold. Your first goal is to achieve a crispy outside and this can be done through searing your fish while ensuring the fish is cooked all the way through. The end goal? A nice char covering the smooth and lovely texture of the fish. Fish such as tuna, salmon, halibut, and swordfish, the texture of which is very similar to beef or pork, should be ground directly into the grate. (More fragile fish, such as tilapia, sole, and flounder, sometimes do better when wrapped in foil packs or grill baskets.)
- 1 tsp. chili pepper
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp. Cayenne pepper
- kosher salt
- Fresh black pepper
- 1 1 1/2 “-thick fillet skin-on white, such as bass or cod
- Lime wedges, for serving
Prepare the Grill
Turn the heat on the grill to the top and get ready to prepare the grill grate. You will want to make sure first that your grill grate is as clean as possible. As you heat the grill, cover the grate loosely with aluminum foil. Excessive heat will cause any debris to melt. This also reduces sticking. At very high temperatures, this should only take 10-15 minutes.
Scrape Grill Grate Until Clean
Remove the aluminum foil from the grate. Using a sturdy cord brush, brush the grate clean. Fold a few sheets of paper towel into a small square or pad. To hold paper towels with tongs, soak paper towels in oil, and grease the grate bars with it. Continue to rub the grate with oil-lined paper towels until the grate is kind of glossy. Plan to do this about 5 times. It is a good idea to re-dip the paper towels with oil for each application.
Properly Season the Fish
Remove the fish from the fridge and lightly brush both sides with oil. Season chili powder with oregano, cayenne, salt and pepper, then whisk together.
Cook until almost clear
Place the fish skin-side down on the grate. This not only creates those beautiful grill marks you see in restaurants; it actually makes it easier to flip the fish because they are in an angle.
Cover the grill, reduce the heat to medium and allow to cook! Cook the skin side down, covered, for 8 to 10 minutes, until completely opaque throughout.
Don’t try to move the fish until you see that the side of the skin has a good sear and looks crispy. If you are unsure when to check to see this, try to gently lift it with a spatula after a few minutes.
If it does not lift the grate easily, let it cook a little and then wait for 20 seconds until done.
How to Flip Fish
Flip and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes, until completely covered.
To find out more about fish, here is a great trick that not all Grill Master knows. Using two finely ground spatulas, lift the fish fillet off the bottom of both sides and flip the fish. Then cover and cook until the fish reaches the desired doneness. If you do not have two spatulas, just try using a fork. When cooked properly, the meat will be firm to the touch, flake easily with a fork, and appear opaque all the way through.