Weekends typically involve grilling hamburgers, steaks, and chicken, but why not fish? There is simply nothing better than grilled fish to end the day, not to mention how much healthier it is than virtually all other meats. Moreover, preparing fish is not as difficult as it may appear. In reality, fish cooks significantly faster than other meats, and it is much simpler to prepare distinctive and flavorful dishes with fish. Grilling seafood is a fantastic way to add variety to your cuisine, but certain species are superior than others for grilling.
Considering all the benefits of grilling fish, we must ask: Redfish? Bluefish? Snapper versus tuna? There are so many varieties of fish — which is the best for grilling? We consulted an expert for assistance in picking the best fish to barbecue this season. Chef Akira Back is no stranger to grilling fish and other seafood, since he operates numerous seafood-focused restaurants, including Yellowtail in Las Vegas. He provided us with information on which fish to grill as well as useful advice for creating the perfect summer seafood buffet.
How to grill fish: A few pointers
Back advises grilling your fresh fillet skin-side down until the skin becomes crispy (if your fish has skin). Next, turn the fish once on the grates to complete cooking or to the desired doneness.
- Before grilling, Back suggests short soaking the fish in cold, salt-vinegar water with plenty of ice to eliminate any too fishy odor or flavor. It must be well dried before being placed over the hot flames.
- A citrus marinade, blackened seasoning, or salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon are typically sufficient for seasoning a beautiful, fresh fillet of grilled fish. Back like marinating his fish in a spicy Korean bulgogi sauce before cooking it if he wants to add a kick.
- As far as equipment goes, you’ll need a grill to barbecue fish. These useful grill mats facilitate cooking and cleaning, particularly when working with flakier seafood like salmon. I also enjoy using a $14 grill basket from BBQ Guys that allows the flames to kiss the skin and flesh of the fish without the risk of it falling through the grates.
- Man Crates manufactures a fish-grilling kit that includes a grilling basket to hold the fish, a 7-inch filet knife, cedar and alder grilling planks to impart additional flavor, as well as a spice blend and lemon-based marinade.
The ideal fish for grilling
When picking the best fish for grilling, Back prioritizes firm and meaty fish. Tuna, salmon, snapper, sardines, and yellowtail amberjack are among his favorites because their skin crisps up while the flesh remains juicy and soft. Finding nice fish for grilling might be difficult, especially if you’re landlocked, but we’ve reviewed some of the top online seafood delivery services to bring you some fresh catch.
Here are a couple of chef Back’s top recommendations for the best fish to grill, so that your seafood game is on point.
You are aware. You adore it. Fresh fillets of fatty tuna are among the best fish for grilling. Tuna is available in a variety of preparations. Tuna has a plenty of robust flavor, so a squeeze of lemon, a dollop of wasabi, or a pinch of salt and pepper are all that are required to make it sing. However, overcooking tuna is the gravest offense you can commit, so exercise caution. Depending on the thickness of your filet, grilling time should not exceed two minutes per side.
While not as meaty as swordfish and tuna, salmon grills exceptionally nicely. Some people still prefer to wrap salmon fillets in aluminum foil or grill them over cedar planks for safety. Salmon pairs nicely with a variety of complementary flavors, such as peanut sauce, lemon pepper, paprika rub, and chile and lime. Arctic char is another member of the salmon family that cooks and tastes similarly to salmon. It will also perform splendidly on the grill.
Swordfish is as meaty as it gets and has a taste that is mild, clean, and buttery. Blackened swordfish cooked to perfection and topped with citrus tartar sauce is pure joy. Swordfish can also be marinated with herbs, or it can be grilled and served in tacos with avocado and crème. Look for swordfish on sale at your local fish market or through one of these excellent online seafood retailers.
This fish may be most known for its award-winning position on sushi plates, but it also makes an excellent grilling fish. It may be more difficult to obtain in fish markets than some of the others on our list, but if you do find it, it grills well and has a texture similar to mahi-mahi and a flavor similar to tuna, but milder.
This meaty white fish is excellent for grilling, particularly when prepared whole. It may sound intimidating, but you can pack the cavity with lemon wheels and grill it over low heat (a grilling basket is recommended for beginners). The skin will prevent the fish flesh from drying out much.
These salty tiny fish are not everyone’s cup of tea, but they grill pretty well. The best aspect is that they require less preparation. Simply wash and pat dry your sardines before placing them skin-side down over the grill flames. Serve with olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper for a (healthy) appetizer or main meal.