How to Grill

How to Grill Fish and Other Types of Seafood So It’s Perfectly Flaky and Tender

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A grilled salmon fillet or a few shrimp skewers are some of my favorite ways to enjoy barbecued seafood. The natural, semi-sweet taste of the fish pairs with the smoky flavor of the flames to make a match made in flavor heaven. Grilling seafood might seem a little intimidating — after all, it’s more prone to sticking and falling apart on the grates than a steak or piece of chicken. However, if keep these five tips for grilling fish in mind the next time you’re serving up seafood favorites, you should do just fine!

What are the best types of seafood for grilling?

The options are endless, but you’ll need to narrow down your choices to get the best results on the grill.

For fish, the experts at Char-Broil recommend trying swordfish, mahi-mahi, snapper, salmon, or tuna. While each of these fish types have their own unique flavor, they all share a firm texture that can hold up on the grill. Shellfish like scallops and shrimp can also make great additions to your summer grilling feast.

What seasonings go well with seafood?

Once you’ve picked out your seafood selection, it’s time to decide what seasonings will go on the flesh. Salt and pepper are go-to’s, and citrus such as lime or lemon slices can be perfect for an added zingy flavor.

We spoke with chef Timothy Hollingsworth, Owner of Otium and OXO Chef in Residence, who says you should experiment with the kinds of the seasonings you use. “Dry rubs are a great way to add flavor and dimension to your fish,” he told First for Women. One to try: Kinder’s The Seafood Blend Rub (Buy from Kinders.com, $6.49)

How long does seafood take to cook on the grill?

Though you may be tempted to get your grill super hot, chef Hollingsworth explains that cooking seafood at a very low temperature is a better option. “Smoking [seafood] at 165 degrees [Fahrenheit] allows you to get a lot of flavor on a fish while avoiding overcooking,” he says.

As you’re grilling, keep a close eye on the seafood so you can tell when it’s done. Here’s the USDA’s guide for figuring out when seafood is fully cooked:

  • Fish: Cook until the fish reaches 145 degrees Fahrenheit or until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
  • Shrimp, lobster, crab, and scallops: Cook until flesh is pearly or white, and opaque.
  • Clams, oysters, mussels: Cook until shells open during cooking.

Another thing to keep in mind when trying for a tasty fish crust? Color equals flavor. “Sometimes I like to get a nice sear and caramelization on the fish and then move it to a colder part of the grill to gently continue the cooking,” Hollingsworth adds.

How do you keep fish from sticking to the grill?

One of the main concerns when grilling fish is that it’ll stick to the grates and fall apart during the cooking process. Fortunately, the grilling gurus at Weber offer four simple suggestions to help eliminate that problem:

  • Preheat your grill properly
  • Thoroughly clean your grates
  • Allow the seafood to sit to room temperature for at least five to 10 minutes
  • Generously oil and season the seafood before putting it on the grates

Once the fish is on the grill, you’ll also want to use the right tools to flip and turn the fillets. “OXO’s Grilling Precision Turner is great to use when grilling fish, because it allows you to pick up the fish with the most care,” Hollingsworth says. Try: OXO’s Grilling Precision Turner (Buy on sale from OXO.com, $12.99)

It’s also a good idea to keep a pair of tongs nearby. A pair like OXO’s Grilling Tongs With Built-In Bottle Opener (Buy on sale from OXO.com, $12.99) are ideal for turning and picking up things like shrimp skewers or scallops with ease.

How do you know if fish is overcooked?

You’ll know when you’ve overcooked fish or any other type of seafood if it’s dry and extremely flaky to the touch. When you’re chewing it, the texture will also be tough and rubbery instead of soft and tender.

Luckily, you shouldn’t run into that problem if you utilize these handy grilling tips.

This summer, visit your local fish counter to find the best grilling buys or have fish favorites, including wild salmon fillets, shipped directly to your door by purchasing them from SeaBear Smokehouse’s website (Buy a 6-pack of dinner fillets from Seabear.com, starting at $69).

If you remember all these tricks, your summer seafood spread should go off without a hitch this grilling season!

Looking for other grilling tips? Check out these stories:

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