Blog - How To BBQ Fish - Lobster Feature Image

Tips & Tricks For Perfect BBQ’ed Fish

I’m sure you, like myself, have been there before. Tossing a beautiful fish steak onto the grill, thinking you’ve done everything right and winding up with a flaking disaster. Fish stuck to the grill, undercooked, and just generally a bad time had by all. Use these tips and tricks to take your nightmare to sweet dreams made of Bream. (That’s a fish joke, feel free to laugh.) How to BBQ perfect fish isn’t as hard as you think. The tips and tricks below will definitely help.


When Purchasing Fish

  1. Buy fresh fish and aim for steaks and fillets that are 1-inch thick

  2. BBQ the fish on the day of purchase

  3. Fresh fish should have clear eyes, shiny scales, no bruises, and not smell fishy – more fresh like the ocean

  4. When buying a whole fish you can ask for it to be cleaned, gutted and scaled in-store


Prep The Grill & The Fish

  1. Before you start, ensure that the cooking grids are well cleaned

  2. Preheat the grill (charcoal or gas) and have a two-zone fire for cooking using direct and indirect heat

  3. When possible, leave the skin on the fish, this will help keep things together while grilling

  4. If you’re worried about sticking, use sliced citrus as a bed, or lightly oil both the grids and fish with a neutral, high-heat oil


Seasoning Your Fish

  1. Season your fish simply with salt and pepper

  2. Citrus like lemon, lime, and orange compliment grilled fish, try grilling them and squeezing the juice over the finished fish when serving

  3. If marinating, 30 minutes to an hour MAXIMUM or the meat could chemically cook or go mushy

Blog - How To BBQ Fish - Fish Market


Blog - How To BBQ Fish - Salmon With Skin


How To BBQ Thick & Meaty Fish

  1. Thick and meaty fish like salmon, tuna, and swordfish can be sold as fillets, steaks, or whole sides.

  2. Usually cut nice and thick - can be seared over high heat

  3. Start cooking flesh side down for sear marks, then turn over to skin side to finish

  4. When flipping fish, don’t fight it. If you cannot easily lift the fish from the cooking grids, it isn’t ready on that side. Searing can take 3 to 5 minutes per side


How To BBQ Lighter, Thinner, Smaller Fish

  1. Lean fish consist of bass, cod, catfish, haddock, halibut, and mahi-mahi and can have a harder time staying together on the BBQ

  2. Grill thin fillets on a preheated pizza stone with a parchment paper barrier

  3. Use a grilling plank for more delicate fish, set the plank on the grill and don’t touch until the fish is done. Bonus – this adds a smoke flavor

  4. BBQ in a foil pouch with butter and vegetables for a “one pan” meal

  5. Use a grilling basket to hold the fish above the cooking grids Use skewers to hold smaller morsels like shrimp, scallops, squid, and octopus


Blog - How To BBQ Fish - skewered Shrimps
Blog - How To BBQ Fish - Planked Black Cod


How To BBQ A Whole Fish

  1. Cut slits through the skin on both sides of the fish, season thoroughly inside and out

  2. You can fill the cavity with sliced citrus and fresh herbs

  3. Use indirect heat when cooking a whole fish, however, you can crisp things up as needed with direct heat at the end


How Do You Know When It’s Done

  1. You will know fish is done cooking when the flesh flakes easily and is opaque all the way through

  2. You can test doneness by inserting a metal skewer, knife, or fork into the thickest part of the fish and leaving it a few seconds if it comes out and is warm to the touch the fish is ready

  3. A general rule is about 10 minutes for every 1-inch of thickness in the meat

Try all of our easy Seafood Grill Recipes!

Grilling seafood doesn’t need to be a complicated ballet of terror; it can be easy, fun, and quite tasty too. Just take your time and make sure to follow the tips and tricks above. If you have seafood grilling tips, share them with us through our social pages like Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #GrilledFish and #NapoleonGrills.

Blog - How To BBQ Fish - WholeFish
How To
Recipe FAQ's