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May 07, 2021

Warm summer months call for a big cookout, which usually entails grilling big slabs of meat like steak. However, did you know that certain types of fish and seafood develop wonderful flavors on the grill as well?

Check out the best fish for grilling according to our experts in this article!

Best Fish to Grill

Salmon

Salmon is one of the best fishes to grill, WITHOUT A DOUBT.

This oily fish is not only CHOCK-FULL of health benefits [1]; it's also a versatile option that responds well to high heat!

In fact, you can go for a steak cut or a fillet—either way, you'll get a smoky, distinct flavor from cooking salmon on the grill.

Served on a plate Salmon

To amp up its distinct taste, season it generously; use a citrus marinade or grill it over cedar planks. If you can't find quality salmon fillets, arctic char is a close substitute that's equally delicious.

Tuna

There's nothing better than a thick, meaty cut of tuna that's cooked perfectly at medium rare.

Tuna is easily one of the best fishes to grill and makes for an excellent pair with salmon.

Luckily, tuna is SO EASY to grill—just throw on some salt and pepper, place the fish on the grill grates, and wait for it to cook through.

Tuna on a plate

This firm fish won't fall apart either, so you can serve it whole, sliced, or in chunks according to your preference.

Swordfish

Swordfish is another firm, meaty type of fish that's great for grilling.

Because swordfish is clean and mild-tasting, it takes well to all sorts of marinades, seasonings, and herbs. Feel free to experiment and find the best flavor combination for you!

Swordfish

Now, whatever you choose, just make sure to give the swordfish a good sear so you get those beautiful grill marks on both sides.

Mahi Mahi

Mahi-mahi is known to be a flaky type of fish that's commonly found in tacos, but it's still a firm enough fish for grilling. Just be careful not to overcook it, as it can get tough quite quickly.

We find that fresh herbs, citrus marinades, and tropical fruits pair exceptionally well with this mildly sweet white fish.

Grilled Mahi-mahi

Sardines

Sardines don't seem like an obvious choice for grilling, but they have a wonderful texture when cooked this way—the skin crisps up nicely while the flesh remains moist and tender.

Because this grilled fish is already quite salty, you don't even need to add much to it! Just some olive oil, lemon juice, and a dash of salt and pepper will do the trick!

Sardines

How to Keep Fish from Sticking

Besides picking firm types of fish that can withstand grilling, the best tip to prevent them from sticking according to our experts is to reduce moisture.

ALWAYS PAT your seafood dry with a paper towel, and make sure the grill is adequately hot BEFORE you place it on the surface. It also helps to use a lot of oil—this forms a smooth and slippery barrier between the seafood and the grates.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it Better to Grill or Bake Fish?

Grilling fish will produce a good sear on the meat—something that baking won't be able to achieve.

If you just want tender flesh, you can opt to use an oven, but if your goal is crispy skin and smoky flavors, then a grill is your best bet.

Make sure to place the fish skin side down on the grate to help it crisp up quickly.

What Kind of Fish is Best for Grilling?

Any type of meaty or firm fish should be good.

Besides all the best fishes to grill we've mentioned, you can also try snapper. Whole red snapper or snapper fillets soak up the flavor from marinades quite well!

Delicate types like tilapia and flounder may fall apart during grilling, though.

How Long Do I Grill Fish?

Generally, per inch of fish, you should be grilling each side for 4-5 minutes. If unsure, consult the recipe and test for doneness early to prevent overcooking.

How Do You Keep Fish From Sticking to the Grill?

Three easy steps:

  • One, make sure it's completely dry.
  • Two, preheat the grill and make sure it's very hot. 
  • Three, use oil liberally so the flesh or skin doesn't stick to the grates.

Conclusion

Now that you've read the entire expert article, we think you're ready to try out some grilled fish recipes for your next backyard cookout. Have fun!


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