How do I Grill Fish?

N. Madison
N. Madison

Fish can be an important part of a healthy diet, especially those varieties that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. One tasty way to prepare fish is on a grill, allowing you to have a main course ready in mere minutes. Start by deciding which type to prepare; almost any kind of fish can be prepared this way. Thicker, meatier fish types, such as salmon, swordfish, and tuna, naturally lend themselves to grilling; more delicate fish varieties, such as flounder, trout, snapper, swordfish and tilapia, can do just as well on the grill, however. You'll need to use a fish basket, foil pouches, or foil-lined grill grates if you decide to grill fish that is more delicate; this keeps the fish from flaking and falling through the grates.

Olive oil, which can be used to baste grilled fish.
Olive oil, which can be used to baste grilled fish.

Seasoning well is key when you grill fish; if you choose a delicate type of fish, you can marinate it, but avoid doing so for longer than 10 minutes. If you over-marinate such types of fish, the acid in the marinade will cause it to become mushy. In fact, it may be better to use dry seasonings on these fish, such as a fish rub, instead of marinating. If you choose to grill fish that is meatier, you can marinate it for 15 to 20 minutes before cooking it; simply brush the marinade over the fish about 15 to 20 minutes before you're ready to put it on the grill. Additionally, dry seasonings work just as well on meatier fish as they do on more delicate varieties.

Grilling is a good way to cook firm fish, like salmon.
Grilling is a good way to cook firm fish, like salmon.

When you're ready to grill fish, start by preheating your grill to medium low. Next, you'll want to grease your grill grates if you are cooking directly on top of them. If you plan to grill fish in a basket or in foil, you want to oil these surfaces lightly instead. The easiest option is to use a spray-on oil. Once this is done, you can place your fish directly on the grill, in the fish basket, or on the foil.

Butter can be used for a baste when grilling fish.
Butter can be used for a baste when grilling fish.

As you grill fish, it's best to watch it the entire time. This is due to the fact that fish can sometimes cook rather quickly and may become too dry if you don't pay attention. Some people have good results with basting their fish with melted butter or olive oil during the cooking process; this can help to prevent drying. If you choose to do this, use a basting brush that is designed for grilling. Keep in mind that oil may cause flames to flare up if it drips down to the heat below it; have a water bottle handy to keep your fish from burning to a crisp.

Salmon fillets can be cooked on the grill.
Salmon fillets can be cooked on the grill.

When the fish appears to be opaque, it is time to remove it from the grill. Many people wait until the fish flakes when pierced with a fork. However, some cooking experts state that flaking means the fish is actually overcooked. When the fish is done, let it rest for a couple minutes before you serve it.

Almost any fish can be prepared on the grill.
Almost any fish can be prepared on the grill.
Some fishermen prepare and barbecue their catch for that evening's dinner.
Some fishermen prepare and barbecue their catch for that evening's dinner.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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