When you have a fish as versatile as salmon, choosing which way to cook it can be a pretty tough decision to make. There are just so many different cooking methods that you can choose from. However, if you want your salmon fillet to turn out perfectly cooked on the inside and crispy on the sides, then you should stick to the grill. Yes, you heard us right; grilling is a healthy and delicious way to cook salmon. Plus, when you grill salmon it cuts your cooking time in half! WOOHOO!
Salmon is the perfect fish to toss on the hot grill thanks to its generous fat content and its more sturdy meat compared to grilling other kinds of fish. Grilled salmon also has a bolder flavor, due to the smokiness of the gas or charcoal grill. You will find that this cooking method amplifies the taste of any good salmon fillet, without making it too complex for the more picky eaters too.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to tossing a salmon on the grill! If you are not careful the fish could easily fall apart, stick to the grill grates, or become very overcooked. So, whether you’ve never grilled salmon or you are just looking for some seasoned advice, we’ve got you covered. Today’s post is all about the best salmon grilling tips!
Best Salmon Grilling Tips
Choose The Right Salmon
An ocean-raised, ocean-loved salmon fillet will ensure you the best grilling experience, whether it is on a charcoal or gas grill, at lunch or dinner, alone or with guests. You also want your salmon to be as fresh as possible, as not properly frozen salmon is more prone to crumbling apart on the grill and its flavor is milder. Clean, sustainable salmon is our priority here at Oshēn Salmon, and we deliver it straight to your door!
Pick A Grill-Friendly Cut
A compact, smaller, and thicker salmon fillet will probably not fall apart as easily as a thin 2.5Ib fillet. A 2 to 3 inch, 6 to 8-ounce fillet will work best for a high heat grilling experience. The sturdier and thicker the cut, the better.
Cut The Fillets
Begin by slicing up the fillets into individual servings of your desired size. This will help the portions to be more compact and hold up better on the hot grill. The smaller the portion, depending on the thickness, the easier it will be to flip! To avoid the salmon sticking to the grill or falling apart because of too much moisture content, pat the fillet dry with a paper towel before adding any spices to it.
Don’t Over Use Marinades
Sure, we’re all tempted to do adventurous flavor combinations such as a brown sugar and soy sauce glaze, but these fluid spice mixtures accelerate the loosening of the muscle structure of your salmon. That is when the fish starts to fall apart or stick to the grill, usually because of the heavy glazes or marinades. At least for your first time trying a high heat grill, stick to olive oil, regular or kosher salt, and a couple of powder spices.
Grill On Clean Grill Grates
No, you can’t leave a little grease on the grates from the burgers you made at lunch to spice up the flavors. Your salmon fillet will stick to the grill in a flash! You are better off getting a wire brush and doing some deep cleaning in advance. This tip is always a must to follow so if you want to learn more in-depth on how to clean your grill grates check out this article here.
Oil The Grill Grates
Before you even think about placing the salmon on the grill, oil the grill grates. This is super easy to do too. Just grab a paper towel dipped into some olive oil and spread it on top of the grate. Make sure to coat every little corner. If you want to be extra sure, toss some baking flour on top! This tip also helps to prevent your salmon from sticking to the grill. I know, this brought up the million-dollar question didn’t it? The next tip is the one you’ve been waiting for!
Preheat Your Grill
“How can I prevent my fish from sticking to the grill?” It’s one of the main questions people always ask when it comes to grilling fish. Don’t panic, we are here to help!
So are you guys ready for the secret? Here it is! You have to preheat your grill. The key to salmon not sticking is for the grill grates to be over a high heat beforehand, so the flesh blackens as soon as it touches them. This ensures the meat is no longer as fleshy and soft.
Cook Skin Side On Grill First
Not only does this help the salmon not to stick to the grill, but it also creates a delicious and crunchy caramelized crust! The flesh side is very prone to tearing apart when flipping, so the smart move here is to let it settle for the first few minutes. When this side is done, you can flip it and leave the flesh side to cook and acquire some very aesthetic grill marks that will look great once plated.
Grill Salmon With The Lid Closed
If your grill has a lid, you better make good use of it! Grilling with the lid closed will ensure that the salmon cooks evenly on both sides, as well as helping the fillet hold together more easily.
Cook Each Salmon Side Properly
The rule of thumb is to let each inch of thickness cook for 8 to 10 minutes. So you should be leaving your salmon on the grill for a total of about 20 minutes, assuming you got an average-size, 2-inch thick fillet. Flip it over once you are around the 10-minute mark. Also, the right temperature to grill salmon fillets is medium to high heat.
Don’t Rush Flipping The Salmon
Once the timer goes off, you might be tempted to force the fillet to flip at all costs, in fear of overcooking it. Don’t let this get the best of you. Be patient and see how the fish reacts to trying to separate it from the grill grates. If it’s not wanting to come off, give it another minute and you’ll see how it naturally starts to release itself from the grates. Now it’s time to flip the salmon!
Use The Right Grill Tools
A stainless steel fish spatula, a sharp fish knife, and a pair of long tongs will be your new best friends. These tools will make flipping your salmon fillet on the grill much easier! You should start by using the spatula or the knife to carefully separate the salmon from the grill grates, and then you can use the tongs to turn it over completely. These will also come in handy when taking the salmon straight to your plate!
Are you ready to try grilling your salmon?
As you can see, grilling fish is not an impossible task! You just have to be careful and follow these tips to ensure a great meal. With this advice put into practice, you will be able to toss a salmon on the grill without worrying about it sticking or crumbling apart before your very hungry eyes. If you are on the lookout for some more cooking inspiration, our blog is packed full of delicious salmon recipes that you can always go back to. Good luck with that hot grill!