You haven’t lived until you’ve had some delicious fish straight off the grill. That kinda flavor will turn anyone into an avid seafood lover. Grilled fish is dynamite! But many people that attempt to cook it have one common, frustrating problem; how in the world do you grill good fish without it sticking to the grill?
When it comes to cooking fish on a charcoal grill (like most things prepared on the grill), it’s all a matter of following a sound process. The issue with your fish sticking is that fish cooks fast on the grill, due to its thin texture, compared to other meats like chicken or pork. So what we’re gonna do today is discuss how to make some dynamite grilled fish, and we’ll also go over some tricks to keep it from sticking to those grates on the grill.
How to Cook Fish on the Grill – Preparation
Before we get our fish cooking, we want to get it cleaned up and seasoned properly. So the first thing to do is to decide how you want to enjoy the fish. Do you want to cook it whole, fillet style, or in steaks? Steaks are great for thicker types of fish like swordfish, tuna, and salmon. I like my fish made fillet style, so that’s what we will cover.
To begin, it’s very important to clean your fish well. Washing it thoroughly over lukewarm water in the kitchen sink will do the trick. When you finish, place your fish on a plate while you get your seasonings. All you need are three things; salt, pepper, and olive oil.
Once you have those, get some paper towels and pat the fish dry and run the excess water on the plate off. Next coat your fish lightly with olive oil. You can either use your hands or a cooking brush. Then sprinkle a light coating of salt over the fillet, followed by a coating of pepper. That’s it! Next, we’re going to grill it.
Time to Grill Your Meal
When it comes to the grill, remember that its very important to clean your grill well, since that fish can easily stick to the leftover crud from earlier cookouts. That means clean those grates well – don’t do it halfheartedly. After that, make sure to get the grill really hot. The trick is that you want the fish to sear almost immediately after placing it over the fire. This (along with oiling the fillets and cleaning the grill well) is the best way to grill fish without sticking to those grates.
When the grill is good to go, lay your fillets across the grill bars on it’s back, or skin side . Since the fire is hot, you’ll find that the skin is going to hold the fillets together without them breaking up and falling into the fire. Close the lid and allow those fillets to cook uninterrupted for about 3-5 minutes. If they’re thicker, give it closer to 5 minutes. This is the trickiest part, because each type of fish cooks differently. But generally speaking, fish cooks fast. To be safe, let the fillets cook uninterrupted for at least three minutes.
Next, open your grill and turn the fillets on the meaty side. What you’ll find is that the skin side will easily tear off from the meaty portion, which is fine (it’s done its job). You can remove the charred skin onto a plate and throw that away. This part can be tricky as well, because the fleshy side won’t need long to cook – typically after 2 minutes, it’s ready to turn again. If you want the underside firm, then give it another minute after turning. Otherwise, your delicious meal is ready to eat!
Tips and Advice
To ensure that you can grill fish without sticking to the grill, you can also oil the grates as well as the fish. Either apply the oil to a paper towel and then run it along the grates with a wire brush (while the grill is heated), or use cooking spray to do the job.
A fish turner is the ideal tool for grilling, if you and your family
(or friends) enjoy eating fish often. It’s specifically made for grilling and is very useful.
For people that prefer to grill fish whole, a wire fish basket is the best tool for the job. It is still recommended that you coat the fish in oil and seasonings. Although another method is to stuff your fish with seasonings and vegetables and grill it in the basket. Either way is quite tasty.
Another easy method is to place a sheet of aluminum foil on the grill and cook your fish over the foil. While this guarantees that the fish won’t break apart and fall into the fire, some people feel that this robs the fish of that smoky outdoor flavor, and is more like baking the meal.
Learn by Doing
Grilling a good fish meal will definitely distinguish you as a grillmaster of note. Although fish may not be the easiest meal to prepare on the grill, we have discussed a really simple way of cooking it, along with several different tips to aid you in your cooking. My advice would be to get a fish basket and turner to help make things easier for you. But as you gain experience, you’ll work out the best method of how to grill fish without sticking to your grill for your cookouts. And there are some really tasty recipes for grilled fish once you get the hang of things. So get out there and get started. And as always….Happy Grilling!