Today we’ll teach you how to grill salmon in 6 simple steps so it’s heated through and filled with flavor, every time.
How To Grill Salmon | Fish Steak Goodness
Step 1: Pick The Right Cut
If you want to learn how to grill salmon, try not to put the entire fish on your grill from the get-go. I get it, it’s your fresh catch of the day and you want to eat it straight away. But patience will be our virtue in this guide today.
The right cut matters a lot when grilling salmon because different cuts require different methods of preparation. Choosing the right cut also depends on what kind of meal you’re serving. If you’re just having a quiet dinner, steaks, and fillets work, but for dinner parties or date nights, a whole side of salmon will be sexier. For this guide, let’s stick to salmon steaks.
Slice your salmon into steak cuts. This cut works well on a grill since it cooks more evenly and is the easiest to handle. Skin is a requirement here, so keep it on. You really want that crispy texture when you bite into it. Also, the skin keeps the fish together. Grilling a salmon steak without the skin will cause it to flake and fall apart, wasting valuable fish meat as it falls through the grill.
Seasoning is all up to your taste buds, but nothing beats good ol’ salt and pepper. It’s also advisable to rub a bit of kosher salt on the salmon’s skin to ensure that it doesn’t stick to the grill. It also adds a nice burst of flavor when you bite into the crispy salmon skin.
If you have no idea how to cut a salmon into steak, take it to your local fishmonger and they’d be happy to do it. In the event that you are not close to a stream where salmons breed, either fight a bear for it or just buy salmon steaks from your local fish market. If you buy, buy wild and sustainable!
Step 2: Debone the Salmon
Before cooking your salmon, remove the pesky pin bones first for the most optimum eating experience (nobody likes to bite into fish bones, or have to pick them out by hand). Use a pair of bone pliers or tweezers to grip a bone and tug it out whole. Repeat with all remaining bones.
Step 3: Fire Up The Grill
Get that grill started. Preheat it to medium or high and oil it well. It will also help if you brush the salmon with oil before putting it on the grill. You want to use an oil that can withstand HIGH heat (like olive oil or avocado oil).
While most of you dudes probably fire up the grill and throw the meat within seconds, we’re here to tell you that… well, don’t. The importance of preheating your grill is undeniable. The food will stay too long on the grill, leading to dry and tough steaks. Sear marks are also hard to come by if you put your food in too fast. Make sure to preheat as you don’t want the skin sticking to the grill.
Step 4: Place The Salmon On The Grill
When you have achieved the perfect grilling temperature, it’s time to finally get cookin’. Place it meat-side down, leaving the skin on top. Unless, of course, you want your skin a bit crispier, in which case grill the skin side first. Make sure you don’t overload the grill.
Leave some space between cuts to ensure even cooking all around. Don’t touch the salmon as it sizzles.
Step 5: Flip It Like It’s Hot
The next step in our guide on how to grill salmon is to, of course, flip the salmon. We can’t have you cooking just the one side, that’s not how grilling works! You should flip the salmon when it’s about 60% cooked — you’ll know because it will turn pink in the middle.
If you followed the steps above carefully and oiled the grill while preheating, the skin shouldn’t stick to the grill. Use a flat spatula to flip your steaks. Don’t try to be fancy and flip it in the air — unless, of course, you’re totally sure you can do it.
An inch-thick cut should cook at around 6-10 minutes, any longer and it’ll be too well done. You want to flip it at around 7 minutes to maintain a perfect, juicy texture to your salmon steak. After that, let the fish cook for 5-7 more minutes. Around this time, the steak should cook through. Use a fork to check how cooked your salmon is. The meat should appear a bit opaque but very moist and should pull apart pretty easily.
Step 6: The Rest Is Up To You
As with all grilled meats, you need to let your grilled salmon steak rest for a few minutes before serving it. Around 5-8 minutes is the sweet spot. Now it’s time to serve your expertly-grilled salmon steaks. Garnish it with some parsley and lemons for a bit of pizzazz in your plating. Serve with mashed potatoes, refried beans, or whatever carb you prefer. And of course, we can’t forget the brewskis to go with ’em.
If you’re more of a visual learning kinda guy, here’s a video from the Food Network on how to grill salmon steaks and fillets:
Grilling salmon is one of the easiest things to cook, especially during the summer. It is, however, rather meticulous to do, so precision should be a top priority. But without a doubt, this should be one of the mainstays on your menu. It’s easy, fun, and appeals to a lot of people. Hope this guide helps you out on your next barbecue!
Do you have a special grilled salmon recipe? Let us know in the comments section!