While the rich smoky flavor of grilled salmon may be the biggest reason for grilling, conveniences like the smooth process and short grilling time add to the fun of opting for this simple method. There are various ways available online and you can also learn how to grill salmon from a recipe book. Grilled salmon is also packed with proteins and heart healthy fatty acids which is another reason to grill them fresh. Before grilling your salmon, it is important to prepare them depending on what you are going to use and how you prefer them grilled. You can charcoal grill salmon or use gas. You can also grill large chunks or pellets according to your own taste and meal combination. The processes are only slightly different.
Preparing salmon for grilling
This is the most vital process of grilling salmon as it will allow you to have exactly what you want regardless of the method of grilling you choose. The key to having a wonderful grill is correct timing to ensure your salmon remains tender throughout the process. When shopping, choose moist clean cuts (fillets or steaks) with a moderately firm skin that holds the salmon together. Avoid salmon with loose skin and strong fishy odor. You can grill salmon the day you purchase it which is always the best option. You can also freeze (up to 3 months) or wrap it loosely and refrigerate for up to 2 days. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator for 2 days before grilling.
Before grilling, make sure you rinse the salmon and then pat it dry using paper towels. You can also enrich the flavor using a marinade sauce of your choice, dry rub or sprinkle with herbs and spices like thyme, basil or dill. Salmon often picks up flavor very fast so don’t worry about a 30 minutes marinade as it is all you need to have a delicious flavor or your grilled salmon.
Grilling salmon fillets and pellets
Once your salmon is prepared, you can follow the simple steps for how to grill salmon. Simply place the salmon in a grill basked that has been greased to keep it intact. You can also use a greased nonstick foil with a few slits through the foil to allow the fluid to run out after rinsing. If you prefer naked grilling, you can place your salmon directly on a greased rack and turn down the heat slightly to prevent your salmon from burning on the outside. It is recommendable to remove the burnt skin once you are done the grilling.
Grilling salmon on charcoal
When using the charcoal grill, place the salmon directly on the grill rack and then place the rack directly on medium heat coals. Grill your salmon openly for 4-6 minutes for every inch steak until the flesh flakes when poked with a fork. Turn the salmon and brush with olive oil or other flavors like melted butter that keep it moist when grilling. You do not necessarily have to grill openly when using charcoal although this is the conventional method that will give you the characteristic flavorful smoky aroma. You can still grill then inside a wrapping.
Grilling salmon on gas
The gas grill is not any different from charcoal. The only difference is the source of heat and final flavor, but the process is more or less the same. Simply preheat the gas grill and then turn the heat to medium. Place the salmon on the grill rack and then over heat. Cover the grill and follow the same guidelines given for charcoal grill. If your grill does not have preset values for medium low and high heat, place your hand on the position of the grill rack and determine how long you can take the heat. About 4 seconds should do for medium heat.
Knowing when the salmon is done!
To know whether your salmon is done and ready for service should not take a lot of effort. When grilling with the skin still on, let it turn brown and crisp until the fish pulls away from the skin when you turn it over on the other side. Use a fork to test the thickest part of the flesh for doneness. If the salmon is well done, the flesh should be opaque yet moist and should spread easily. A fancy way to tell if your salmon is done involves inserting a thermometer inside the thick steak. Remove the salmon when your thermometer reads an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit. As a general rule of thumb, salmon should be grilled for around 8 minutes on medium heat.
Salmon grilling tips
In order to end up with a delicious grilled salmon, there are various things to take note of before you even go looking for the salmon. Always shop for fresh refrigerated salmon and plan to grill it on the same day. As aforementioned, you can freeze it for up to 3 months or refrigerate to 2 more days before grilling. However, fresh salmon usually has the richest flavor. Pay attention to the herbs, spices and other condiments used to flavor-up the salmon. Do not mix too many things or use too much so that the spice overtakes the salmon’s sweet grill flavor. If your other meals already have spices and herbs, you may only need a little pinch to make the salmon tasty and more blending. Clean your grill and let it dry before you start grilling to prevent other existing flavors from rubbing off into the salmon especially since fish picks up other flavors quite fast.
There is no distinct how to grill salmon instruction that one must follow and you can always come up with your own techniques and steps. Nonetheless, these are the basic considerations and steps used to grill fillet or steak salmon on gas and charcoal. If you are not sure what to do exactly, an illustrative grilling book or cooking DVD may help you improve your grilling skills. You can also look through various recipes to try new spices and herbs, cuts and styles for a different delicious grilled salmon every time.
Really great! Salmon is the most difficult ingredient to grill.
Thank you for the great article. I grill salmon frequently. Sometimes on applewood smoke, sometimes without. One great tip for preventing fish to stick on grill grate is to place it on top of thin lemon slices. Works every time. I find salmon being one of the most easy ones to grill. Maybe it just takes some practice.