How to Prepare Fish for Grilling
Fish get a bad grilling reputation. Or maybe the grill has a bad reputation for being harsh on fish. Regardless, both assumptions are wrong as fish on the grill is a true delight.
If you’ve had some missteps while trying to figure out how to cook fish on your pellet grill, take heart — you’re still a pitmaster superhero. The easiest way to avoid future grilled fish fails is to learn tried and true techniques for cooking fish in your Silverbac, Chimp, Grilla or Kong.
Pick the Right Fish for the Grill
Have you ever had a fish disintegrate on your grill? This phenomenon typically occurs for one of two reasons. First, you innocently chose the wrong type of fish to grill. Or second, you didn’t prepare the grill with some grease.
Grills typically mix high heat with hole-filled racks. Some fish, such as pollack and thinner tilapia cuts, can’t stand the environment. However, meatier, thicker fish such as a whole snapper, salmon fillets or swordfish steaks are some of the best fish to grill.
One trick for how to cook fish on a grill is to thoroughly coat the grill five to 10 times with a swipe of vegetable oil. Use tongs to move paper towels dipped in oil over your grill’s hot rack or grate surfaces. Wait a minute and repeat until the surfaces shine. By greasing your grill racks with the oil, you’ll get the fish off more easily.
How to Grill Fish Properly
With a properly seasoned grill, you should be ready to whip up some delicious fish. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure your seafood comes out as expected.
- Start by grilling all fish skin-side down, especially salmon. Kick the heat to a medium or medium-high setting and let the skin take on a charred appearance. Only flip the fish once after four or five minutes, or when the skin lets go of the grates.
- Use two spatulas when you have to flip or handle the fish on the grill. Two tools give you more control and precision than one.
- Give your fish about eight minutes on the grill total for each inch of flesh. But make sure the internal temperature hits around 125 degrees Fahrenheit to avoid serving the fish undercooked.
Alternative Pellet Grill Cooking for Most Fish Types
For fish types that don’t appreciate being rubbed down and slapped on a hot rack, you can get a little inventive to cook them on your smoker grill. For example, learn how to grill fish in foil by making a foil “canoe” that will hold a tender piece of fish and a little liquid. Seal up the canoe and put it in the smoker to absorb the smoky flavors and poach for about 15-20 minutes. You’ll get all the character of the wood pellets without ruining your fish.
Remember, that you can use aluminum baking dishes for cooking individual fish fillets or roasting whole fish. Just because you don’t actually use the racks doesn’t mean you can’t master how to cook fish in a pellet grill.