Fire Up The Grill For The Fish
I have done many recipes for the BBQ but all have been for meats. Lets face it when most people do outside grilling, they pair it with beef, pork, chicken or another type of meat. That being said, what if you want to be daring and grill fish fort your next barbecue?
The challenges when grilling fish are twofold. Your first intent is to sear the fish so that you achieve a crispy outside while ensuring that the fish will be cooked all the way through. The end goal? A nicely charred exterior that envelops the smooth and luscious texture of the fish. Fish such as tuna, salmon, halibut, and swordfish, whose texture is more like beef or pork, should be grilled directly on the grate. (More delicate fish, such as tilapia, sole, and flounder, sometimes fare better when grilled in a foil packet or grill basket.)
Your second challenge, and perhaps the trickiest, is figuring out how to keep the fish from sticking to the grill — every fish flipper’s nightmare. The solution is a well-prepped grill, dry product, and the proper level of grill heat, which is usually medium-high.
Here are some great tips to make sure your fish grilling is a success.
1. Wrap the fish in paper towels or a kitchen towel, to get rid of excess moisture, and place on a large plate in the fridge until your grill is ready. If the fish is wet, it will steam not sear.
2. Turn the heat on the grill to high and get ready to prep the grill grate. You’ll want to ensure first and foremost that your grill grate is as clean as possible. As you’re heating up the grill, cover the grate loosely with aluminum foil. The intense heat will cause any debris to break down and dissolve. This also minimizes sticking. At its highest heat, this should only take about 10-15 minutes.
3. Remove the aluminum foil from the grate. Using a stiff-wired grill brush, scrape the grate clean. Fold a couple of sheets of paper towel into a small square or pad. Grasping the paper towels with tongs, dip the paper towels in oil, then rub over the bars of the grate. Continue to wipe the grate with the oiled paper towels until the grate is somewhat glossy. Plan on doing this about 5 times. It’s a good idea to re-dip the paper towels in oil for each application.
4. Remove the fish from the fridge and lightly brush both sides with oil. Season simply with coarse salt and cracked black peppercorns. Position the fish skin-side down diagonally on the grate. This not only creates those masterful grill marks you see in restaurants, it actually makes it easier to flip the fish because it’s on an angle.
5. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the grill, and let cook! Don’t try to move the fish until you see that the skin side has a nice sear and looks crisp. If you’re not sure when to check the fish to see this, try gently lifting with a fine-edged spatula after a few minutes. If it doesn’t lift off the grate easily, let it cook a bit longer and check at 20-second intervals until it does.
6. To flip the fish easily, here’s a great trick that not every Grill Master knows about. Using two fine-edged spatulas, lift the fish fillet underneath from both sides and flip the fish. Then cover and cook until the fish has reached desired doneness. If you don’t have two spatulas handy, simply try using a fork. You can work the fork tines between the grill bars and gently lift up the fillets, then turn over. When cooked properly, the meat will be firm to the touch, flake easily with a fork, and appear opaque all the way through.