Grilling Fish

Grilling fish adds a whole new dimension to the flavor or fish; also all other seafood, meats, vegetables and even fruits.

You really do not need a big grill in a backyard or summer to grill some fish for dinner. You can set up a sturdy small grill on the back porch or patio to serve yourself and others succulent and moist pieces of fish in the middle of winter.

It takes only a few minutes to cook fish over a preheated grill to add a little of summer to the cold weather.

For grilling fish, any whole, fillet or steak can be barbequed outdoors over hot coals that can be broiled in the oven. The taste of most fish is complimented by the smoky grilled flavor; those like salmon, mackerel and bluefish. Whole fish or thickly cut fillets or steaks are best for the barbeque. Oily fish require very little basting during their cooking due to their natural moistness; leaner fish (dryer ones) should be marinated and basted during the cooking.

For me, grilling fish poses a problem when I attempt to turn the fish over; quite often it will fall apart. For this reason I cook it in one of two ways. Sometimes I lay the fish on a grill plate which is a flat iron plate made to set on the grill or I use a grill basket. The plate is great for larger thicker steaks and fillets. With the grill basket all you need to do is clamp the smaller pieces of fish in the basket like metal grills; then just turn the whole basket over.

As I mentioned before, grilling fish like all other barbeque requires a preheated grill; gas heated 15 minutes ahead or charcoals need to show a film of white ash. For even cooking over charcoals, bank the coals around the space at the thicker end of the fish. Place the fish 4 inches above the heat source where the cooking temperature should be about 350F degrees. Generally speaking, barbeque the fish about 10 minutes per inch of thickness; carefully check for doneness, especially if the thickness varies, because fish becomes tough and dry if overcooked.

Some safety tips should be followed when grilling fish. Do not let fish or shellfish (or other foods) set out in the heat while preparing other parts of your meal; keep it on ice or refrigerated until ready to cook. Be careful of the surface which you work with the fish on; avoid any possibility of cross contamination. By being alert to these possibilities and avoiding them, cookouts are a time for fun and socializing.

The dry heat of grilling could render delicate shellfish very tough and unappetizing. Cooking time is always brief and must be grilled in the presence of moistening ingredients that keep the flesh succulent. The best way to grill shellfish is unopened in their own moisture which makes great barbeque appetizer recipes.


  • 2 Striped bass fillets (about 3 pounds each)
  • 1 Tablespoon fennel seed
  • 1 Teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • ¼ Cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon brandy
  • Lemon wedges

Rinse fish and dry on paper towels.

Place 3 or 4 slashes in the skin of each fillet (not all the way through); place together sandwich style.

Crush fennel seeds with mortar and pestle or rolling pin between 2 sheets of wax paper.

Combine fennel with salt, pepper, brandy and oil; mix well.

Brush skin of fish with mixture making sure extra gets into slashes.

Place fish into hinged grill and place about 5 inches over preheated coals.

Cook about 8 minutes on each side or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


  • 2 Pound salmon fillet
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons grated lime zest
  • 2 Tablespoons minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Teaspoon fresh lime juice
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter melted

Rinse salmon and dry; cut fillets crosswise into 4 equal pieces.

Season salmon with salt and pepper; sprinkle with lime zest and ginger; press down gently into salmon.

Thoroughly oil the grill and place about 3 inches above the coals.

Place the fish on a grill tray or on a piece of heavy foil 2 inches larger than the fish.

Place on the grill; mix lime juice into melted butter and pour half over salmon.

Cover the barbeque and cook for 8 minutes; pour remaining mixture over salmon.

Cover and cook until salmon is opaque through about 7 minutes.

Check for doneness by making a cut in the thickness part of the salmon and pulling back the meat.

To serve remove any skin by sliding knife between skin and fish.


  • 8 Salmon steaks ¾ inch thick
  • ¾ Cup dry vermouth
  • ¾ Cup oil
  • 1 ½ Tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¾ Teaspoon salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • ¼ Teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ Teaspoon marjoram
  • 1/8 Teaspoon sage
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped parsley

Place salmon in a large pan.

Mix remaining ingredients and pour over fish; refrigerate 3 to 4 hours.

Remove fish from marinade and place on preheated oiled grill (Reserve marinade).

Cook about 15 minutes brushing frequently with reserved marinade.


  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ Teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1/8 Teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 Jumbo uncooked fresh shrimp, shelled, tails on and deveined
  • 6 Large uncooked scallops halved
  • 8 Slices bacon cut into thirds
  • 2 Lemons cut in wedges

Combine lemon juice, ground red pepper, and garlic powder in a large resealable plastic bag.

Add shrimp and scallops to mixture and turn to coat all sides; let stand at room temperature.

Warm bacon to make pliable so it is easy to wrap; drain on paper towels.

Drain shrimp and scallops; discard marinade.

Wrap each shrimp and scallop half with 1 piece of bacon.

Alternately thread shrimp scallops and lemon wedges onto six 12 to 14 inch skewers.

Place kabobs on preheated grill 4 to 6 inches from heat.

Cook about 4 to 5 minutes or until bacon is crisp, shrimp turns pink and scallops turn opaque.


Tartar sauce:

  • 1/3 Cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon sweet pickle recipe
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill weed

Grilling Fish Recipe:

  • ¼ Cup melted butter
  • 1 Teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 (4 ounces each) whitefish

Combine tartar sauce ingredients; blend and refrigerate

In separate bowl combine butter and lemon juice.

Place fish on oiled grill rack or basket about 4 to 6 inches from coals.

Brush fish with lemon butter; cook 6 to 9 minutes until fish flakes turning once.

Serve with sauce.

› Best Grilled Fish

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