Cooking Salmon, or any other type of fish, on the grill requires the acquisition of several skills and strategies that make it different from cooking other meats on the grill.
Cooking fish on a cast iron grill that has been properly prepared, heated and seasoned makes the fish cooking experience less prone to error or disaster than other types of grill cooking.
When the following steps are used the salmon, or any other type of grilled fish, will release from grill grates with beautiful sear marks and the flavor that goes along with the eye appeal.
CLEAN – Clean your grates of most of the old bits and food crust that are typically on the grates. The goal is to wear off the season, but to make the surfaces smooth and minimize crust that can cause the meat to stick to the grates. When the salmon sticks to the grates it will have a tendency separate when attempting to flip.
Preseason and Oil – Once you’ve hit temperature on the grates apply a little bit of spray oil (see in video above) to put just a little bit more seasoning to those grates before you put the fish on them. This extra step will help when you are teasing that meat off the grates to do the flip.
High Heat – Run your grate temperature up and the heat higher than you are used to. Once the protein have seared properly they will release on their own from the grates, and not a second before they are ready. Know your grill, where the hot spots are and when to pour on the heat or back the air supply off.
Dry Exterior – Dry the exterior of your fish and ideally use a salt preparation as demonstrated in the video to aid in getting that moisture out of the exterior of the fish. It is that moisture exiting the meat and sticking to the grates that will make lifting off of the grates difficult.
Cook Fast – Cooking faster than you are used to will go along with that high heat. For most cuts of fish you are talking any more than a couple of minutes for each side.
Flesh Down Skin Up – Cooking flesh side down first (if the skin is still on the filet) helps to keep the cut bound together.
Finish the Cook While Resting – You actually want the cook to finish up during the resting phase. You’ve put a lot of fast heat into the exterior of the fish. That heat will spread into the center of the cut during the rest. That enables the final cook in the to be a slow gradual cook that will keep it tender and juicy instead of running out into the coals on the grill.
Cut for Thickness – If you cut your filet into all similar in thickness sections you have better control over when they are done to the correct temperature to move into the resting process. If you filet still has thick and thin sections that are not separated you will have either parts that are overcooked or under cooked as you struggle with the different cooking rates.
Salmon Glaze Recipe:
- Real Maple Syrup
- Soy Sauce
- Black Pepper
- Smoked Paprika
- Chili Pepper Flakes (if you like a little pep)
- Oil (I like avocado, but olive or vegetable oil is good as well)