Warm weather is here, and with spring fully underway it's time to start thinking about lazy summer days and delicious barbecued feasts. This summer, up your grill game. Instead of just cooking the usual wieners and patties, make this the year where you learn how to grill fish. After all, fish is one of the healthiest and tastiest meats out there, and there are tons of varieties that offer different nuances and flavors. If you can add fish to your cookout repertoire, you'll be the champion of the barbecue. Here are a few tips to get you started:
"Larger, meatier kinds of fish will hold up on the grill."
Best Kinds of Fish to Grill
One of the biggest mistakes people can make when grilling fish is using the wrong type of meat. Some fish just won't work on the grill – for example, if the cut is too thin, you won't be able to flip it over without it falling apart. Instead, look for larger, meatier types of fish. Some great kinds of fish to cook on the grill include swordfish, mahi mahi, salmon, halibut, and arctic char. Tuna and snapper are also classic summer fish that work perfectly on the barbecue.
Ask your fishmonger to cut you a nice fillet – about 1 inch thick should be perfect. Don't go thinner than that – you don't want it crumbling apart when you go to flip it over.
Prepping Your Grill
Fish is more likely to stick to cooking surfaces than chicken or beef. The good news is, you can definitely get your grill ready for fish anyway. The first trick is to get the grill squeaky clean beforehand – any leftover gunk from last time will ruin your cookout. Give your grill a serious once (or twice) over with your BBQ grill brush before and after cooking fish.
Once you're ready to start grilling, thoroughly coat the grill's surface with olive or vegetable oil. Finally, give the grill some time to heat up before you start cooking the fish: This is not a kind of meat you want warming up with the cooking surface.
Onto the Fire
If you've done the legwork to get your grill ready to go, cooking your fish should be a fairly simple process. Lay your fillets – seasoned to your liking – on the grill and let them go until the bottom starts to turn opaque. Use your BBQ turner to quickly scoop and flip your fish. If you feel resistance, let the fish cook a little longer. Just like any other kind of meat, fish will become less sticky as it heats up.
Once you've flipped it, let it cook until it is opaque all the way through. You'll want to pay close attention, because fish can go from perfect to overcooked very quickly. It's worth remembering the fish will continue to cook a little bit after you take it off the grill – if you use a fork to take a peek and see the fillet is opaque except for a thin section right in the middle, you should remove it from heat and let it finish up off of the cooking surface.
Serving Your Fish
The grill will add smokiness to your fish that makes it perfect to serve as soon as it's done. However, there are plenty of ways to add a little something extra to your fish to make it tailored to your tastes. For example, you can serve it alongside homemade fruit salsa. If you're a fan of heat, you can spice your fish up with some Sriracha. Of course, there's always the classic fish prep: a quick squirt of lemon juice to brighten the fillets' natural flavor.