Grilling Salmon Is Easy – Here’s How
Fresh salmon has a high fat content which helps it cook up nicely on the grill (since it won’t dry out easily) and it couldn’t be simpler to do! Here are step-by-step directions along with a few tips and recipes to get you started.
To prep: Rinse salmon with cold water and pat dry with paper towel. Season with your favorite rub or keep it simple with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Another easy recipe is to brush the steaks with olive oil on both sides and sprinkle paprika lightly on both sides. For more ideas, see the list at the bottom of this page.
How to tell when it’s cooked: Use a knife to pierce the fish at the thickest part and check the flesh, it should be barely opaque and slightly pink in the center. If you press with a fork, the flesh should begin to flake easily. Internal temperature reading from the thickest part should be at least 145°F (though this is debatable, I’ve seen references as low as 120°F and as high as 165°F, it depends on how well done you want it to be…I prefer it heated to 135°F. The USDA recommends an internal temperature of at least 145°F for fish.).
*Cooking times are for 1″ thick steaks, adjust time as needed if using a different thickness (rule of thumb is about 10 minutes per inch).
- Spray racks with non-stick cooking spray or brush with olive or vegetable oil. Preheat on high heat for about 10 minutes (cover closed).
- Reduce heat to medium-high, place fish directly on the rack, close cover and cook for about 4 minutes until nicely charred then turn and cook another 5 to 6 minutes or until done.
That’s it, easy peasy!
- For added flavor, try brushing fish with a favorite marinade, thinned orange or lemon marmalade or barbecue sauce before flipping.
- Smoky Cedar Plank Cooking: Soak plank in water for at least 60 minutes (as long as overnight), pat dry then place directly on rack and preheat for about 3 minutes. Turn over, place the fish on it and cook for about 20 minutes with the cover closed. This will provide a tasty, smoky flavor. Use untreated cedar planks that are made for cooking and do not leave unattended (the plank can start on fire if it hasn’t been soaked enough), keep a spray bottle filled with water nearby.
- If cooking with the skin on, start cooking the fillets with the flesh side down (5 minutes) then flip and cook for another 5 minutes (with lid closed) or until done.
Here’s a handful of different recipes you can try that I’ve handpicked from around the ‘net, some a little fancy while others are nice ‘n easy. Enjoy!
- Fillets with Creamy Horseradish Sauce: Ingredients include sour cream, mayonnaise, prepared white horseradish, chopped fresh basil, fresh lemon juice, soy sauce, vegetable oil, soy sauce, minced garlic, salt, coarsely ground black pepper. From Bon Appetit.
- With Sweet Onions and Red Bell Peppers: Ingredients include soy sauce, light brown sugar, extra-virgin olive oil, small sweet onions, red bell peppers, balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper, chopped thyme, chopped marjoram. From Food & Wine.
- With Garden Mayonnaise: Ingredients include finely chopped celery, thinly sliced green onions, mayonnaise, lemon juice, fresh tarragon. From Better Homes & Gardens.
- With Roasted Red Pepper Sauce: Ingredients include sliced almonds (toasted), red bell pepper, halved grape tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes), garlic cloves, extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar (ore red-wine vinegar), an orange, paprika, salt, freshly ground pepper, olive oil or canola cooking spray and chopped fresh parsley for garnish. From Je Mange la Ville.
- With Honey-Soy Marinade: Marinated first for about 30 minutes, ingredients include brown sugar, butter, olive or vegetable oil, honey, soy sauce, chopped garlic. From Betty Crocker.
- With Mustard & Herbs: Ingredients include fresh lemons, mix of fresh herbs (such as thyme, tarragon and oregano), garlic clove, salt, Dijon mustard. From Eating Well.
- With Pineapple and Corn: Ingredients include olive oil, chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, apple cider vinegar, fresh lime juice, sugar, salt. Served with grilled corn and pineapple slices. From Rachael Ray.
- With Sweet & Spicy Rub: Ingredients include brown sugar, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper, olive oil. From Food Network.
- With Lime Butter Sauce: Uses freshly grated lime zest, chopped garlic clove, fresh lime juice, salt, black pepper and melted butter. From Gourmet.