How to Grill Delicious Salmon

In Delicious Chicken & Fish by marketninjas

Salmon is known to be a superfood.  It is great for brain health and cognitive functioning.  Grilling produces some of the tastiest salmon, and it is extremely easy to grill salmon.  We provide a rundown of how to get your salmon from store to seared in only a short amount of time.  I think you will find grilling salmon to be both easy and delicious.

How can you grill delicious salmon? You can quickly and easily make delicious salmon on the grill.  Begin by choosing the freshest fish.  Cook on medium temperature for five minutes one each side of the fish.  Use a marinade or dry rub if you prefer, or just drizzle your salmon with olive oil for a quick way to produce moist and tasty fish.

We provide the go-to instructions for cleaning and grilling delicious salmon several different ways, along with many proven recipes for the best marinades and salmon you can cook on the grill.  In no time at all, you will be serving your family a delicious, healthy option, and they will not be able to get enough!

Ways to Grill Delicious Salmon

Salmon is a fairly easy dish to grill.  It does not take long to grill salmon, and the salmon comes out flaky and delicious.

Here are some easy steps to grilling basic salmon:

  • Heat up the grill
  • Spray your grill with nonstick spray
  • Cover the salmon
  • Cook for approximately 5 minutes per side
  • Take the salmon off of the grill

The salmon grilling process will be faster if you have a gas grill.  If you have a charcoal grill, go ahead and light your charcoal and let it cook down until the heat has somewhat dissipated. 

You do not want to cook your salmon on too high of a temperature.  If you have a gas grill, turn it to medium and let it heat up.  Wait until your grill is ready.

You will want to either spray your grill with nonstick spray or use a grilling basket made for fish and vegetables. 

The grilling basket may be your best bet.  It will keep your salmon all in one piece.  Another option would be to cover your grill grates in aluminum foil and place the salmon on top of that. 

You can choose whether or not to cover the top of the fish with aluminum foil as well.  Covering the top of your fish may help it keep its moisture and tenderness.

Next, pull your grill lid down and set a timer for five minutes.  You will want to turn the fish over with a spatula after the first five minutes. 

Then let it cook for another five minutes.  Cook times may be a bit longer if you have an especially thick piece of fish.  When the time is up, pull the fish off of the grill.  It should be flaky, moist, and ready to serve.

How to Prepare Salmon Before Grilling

Assuming you have caught your own fish, or purchased a fish whole, you will need to start by cleaning it before grilling.

Here is how to clean salmon:

  • Choose a high quality, fresh fish
  • Scale and gut the salmon
  • Debone the salmon
  • Skin the salmon
  • Store the fish properly

Assuming you are purchasing your salmon, and that you have not caught it on your own, there are certain signs you will want to look for to make sure you are buying the freshest fist possible. 

The eyes of the salmon should be clear.  They should not be cloudy at all.  The gills should be red, not brown.

Also, the skin of the salmon should feel elastic and bounce back after you touch it.  Your finger should not leave a hole or imprint in the skin of the salmon.

After you have chosen your fish, you are ready to scale and gut it.  First, wash your fish in cool, clear water. 

Then, using a dull knife or scaling tool, scrape the scales off of the fish by pulling the knife against the grain, from the tail toward the head.  Do this until all the scales are gone, up to the head of the fish.  No one wants to bite into their fish and find a scale in their mouth.

Now, on to the gutting.  Place a knife on the belly of the fish and cut between the fins, from tail to head. 

Then use your knife to scrape out the insides of the fish.  Rinse the fish thoroughly to remove any lingering scales or gut residue.  You can cook the fish at this point if you like, or you can cut it into filets.

To cut the fish into filets, start just below the backbone and cut from head to tail, until you have a nice piece of salmon that resembles a steak.  Once you have cut both sides of the meat away from the bones and head, you have salmon filets. 

To skin the filets, take a sharper knife and place it between the skin and the meat.  As you slice upward, the skin should all come off in one piece.

Now that you have your fish cleaned, go ahead and rinse your filets one more time.  You should have a nice, perky, red piece of fish. 

To further prepare it before you put it on the grill, you might choose to drizzle the fish in olive oil or lemon juice or a combination of the two.  There are also dry rubs and seasonings you can choose to apply to the fish if you like.

This is not totally necessary, as salmon has a lot of natural flavor.  Using olive oil will help keep the fish moist as it cooks, though.

How to Know When Salmon is Done Grilling

There are different ways to be able to tell when salmon is done grilling.

Here are some ways to tell if your salmon is done grilling:

  • Use a knife to cut a small incision in the thickest part of the filet
  • Use a fork in the thicket part of the filet to check for flakiness and color
  • Use a meat thermometer to check the salmon’s inner temperature

Five minutes per side should give you a done fish, if you are cooking a standard sized piece of salmon.

 If your salmon is thicker, you may need to employ other ways of checking to see if it is done.  Take a knife and gently cut a small incision into the thickest part of the salmon.  If the fish is translucent on the inside, it is not done grilling yet, and needs to cook longer.

You can also perform this task with a meat fork.  Not only should the salmon be a deeper red and not see through at all when it is done, it should also be flaky.  You can check for color and flakiness with your meat fork.  If the salmon is not done, close the grill and let it cook a little longer.

You can also use a meat thermometer to check the temperature of your fish.  The digital thermometers are best.  Your salmon filets should reach an internal temperature of 140 degrees before they are ready to pull off of the grill. 

Be sure you are inserting the thermometer probe into the thickest piece of the fish and measuring the temperature at the very center of this piece of fish.

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How to Grill Salmon With Skin

Salmon is delicious cooked either with the skin on or off, but we will go over how to complete the first option in this section.

Here are the steps to grilling salmon with the skin still on it:

  • Turn the grill to medium heat
  • Place the salmon on the grill with the skin side up
  • Let the raw fish sear for just a few moments
  • Turn your fish and lower the heat

Once again, you will want your grill turned to medium heat to cook your salmon, either with the skin on or off. 

Laying down a sheet of aluminum foil on the grill or using a fish and vegetable basket is advisable.  Place the salmon on the grill with the skin side up.  You only want to leave it this way long enough to get a good sear and some grill marks on the meat side of your salmon.

Close the grill, but only for a few moments.  If the meat side of your fish cooks too long, it will become flaky, and your salmon filets may fall apart.  After 2-3 minutes, open your grill and flip your salmon skin side down. 

Turn the heat on your grill to low, and close the lid again.  Cook for 5-8 minutes.  Then check to see if your fish is done. 

Use the methods discussed under the previous heading to check to see that the salmon is done.  Either use a thermometer, or check the color of the inside of the fish with a knife or meat fork.  If the salmon is done, it is time to pull it off of the grill.

The Best Grilled Salmon Recipes

A good marinade can be the most important component of making delicious salmon. Take a look at the list down below for a great start for a delicious marinade.

Here are the ingredients for a basic salmon marinade:

  • Soy Sauce
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Dark Brown Sugar

Now on to some tasty recipes.  These are tried and true recipes that will have your family coming back for more and asking for salmon over and over again.

Season the salmon fillets with lemon pepper, garlic powder, and salt.

In a small bowl, stir together soy sauce, brown sugar, water, and vegetable oil until sugar is dissolved.

Place the fish in a large resealable plastic bag with the soy sauce mixture, seal, and turn to coat. Refrigerate it for at least 2 hours, and then preheat the grill for medium heat.

Lightly oil the grill grate to begin cooking. Place your salmon on the preheated grill, and discard the excess marinade. Cook the salmon for 6 to 8 minutes per side, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1 – 1 ½ lbs. salmon fillet cut into 4 pieces
  • Olive oil
  • ¼ c. garlic powder
  • ¼ c. kosher salt
  • ¼ dried parsley
  • ¼ c. dried minced onion
  • ¼ c. dried basil

How To Make It:

  1. Prepare the House Seasoning: Mix ingredients together and store in an airtight container for up to 6 months.
  2. Prepare the Salmon: Rub each piece of salmon with olive oil and sprinkle with house seasoning, to taste (I use about 1 teaspoon of olive oil and ¼ teaspoon of seasoning per piece).
  3. Grill the Salmon: Heat coals, gas grill, or grill pan to medium heat. Place salmon on the grill. Cover and grill over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side (maybe a few more minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish). The salmon is done when it flakes easily with a fork.

The following recipe includes grilled salmon with the skin still on, as discussed in the previous section.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 1 1/2 pounds salmon with skin on
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Parsley, chopped for garnish
  • Lemon wedges

How To Make It:

  1. Combine all marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place the salmon in a large zip-tight bag or shallow glass baking dish and add the marinade, turning to coat the fish entirely.  Seal tightly or cover with plastic wrap and marinate in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours.
  2. Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Take a large piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil and remove the salmon from the marinade, laying it skin side down in the center of the piece of foil.  Fold the long sides up and then over themselves, repeating with the short sides, to create a sealed packet containing the salmon.
  3. Transfer the foil-wrapped salmon to the hot grill over indirect heat not directly over the flames and close the grill lid. Cook for 15-18 minutes until almost entirely cooked through.
  4. Brush the grill grates directly over the flames with a little oil, then carefully open the foil packet and using one of the long edges of the foil, and flip the salmon directly onto the grill grates over direct heat to char the top.
  5. Grill just until cooked through, and grill marks appear (1-2 minutes) being careful not to overcook, the use two large spatulas to remove the salmon from the grill.
  6. Transfer to a serving platter and garnish with chopped parsley and lemon wedges before serving.

The third and final recipe, to finish up this section, is a sweet and savory dish that will surely please all of the guests at your backyard BBQ party.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 2 – 4 salmon fillets
  • Marinade
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup lite soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic

How To Make It:

  1. Place all marinade ingredients into a gallon size zip lock bag and seal. Squeeze gently to combine ingredients, then add salmon fillets. Seal and refrigerate for 1 to 3 hours to allow flavors to penetrate the fish.
  2. Preheat grill to medium high heat. For each salmon fillet, take a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil and fold into a “dish” with sides. Place a salmon fillet into each dish skin side down. Add a little of the marinade on top and place the entire dish on the grill.
  3. Grill for 15-18 minutes with the lid closed. Flip the salmon onto the grill to sear the top, about 1-2 minutes. Carefully scrape off the skin (it should lift right off) and serve.

First, take some salmon. You can either go for salmon steaks or salmon fillets. Just make sure that they are of good quality. It should smell fishy, but not rotten.

The meat should have a slight spring when you press at it. Prepare about 1 and half pounds. Prepare two tablespoons of lemon juice.  Mince three cloves of garlic. It might seem like a lot but trust me with this.

The garlic will complement the rest of the ingredients. Also, cooking the fish on the grill will mellow out the garlic flavor.

Now on to the seasonings. Combine a teaspoon of salt, one teaspoon of pepper, and three Cajun seasoning.  Mix all your marinade ingredients with three tablespoons of olive oil.  When the ingredients are well-blended, pour your marinade mixture over the salmon.

Let it sit for about an hour. If it is a hot day, go ahead and put it in the fridge to marinade. This will prevent your fish from going bad from being under the sun for too long.

Now we move on to the next stage.  You will now grill the salmon.  Start by placing the salmon on a preheated grill, skin-side down.

Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. The quick blast of heat is what will give your salmon those professional-looking grill marks. You can place your fish diagonally against the grill.

The grill marks will cut across the fish diagonally too so it will look like a professional did it.  On average, it will take about three to four minutes of grilling on each side.

Now all you have to do is to plate it up. Salmon can be served in different ways. You can try rice or some vegetables that you can also cook on the grill. Don’t forget to serve it with a wedge of lemon.

The hit of acidity right before you take the first bite will elevate the flavors.

These are just a few recipes and variations on grilling salmon.  Not only is salmon healthy and delicious, it is also one of the easiest fish to clean, prepare, and grill.  If you have been hesitant to try grilling fish in the past, now is the time to give it a try.  Grilled salmon is a crowd pleaser that cannot be beat.

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