How to cook fish on the grill: what you need to know

How to cook fish on the grill: what you need to know

Who doesn’t like a barbecue in the summer? We gather around the barbecue coals at family or friends gatherings to eat informally. Although it is more common to cook meat and sausages, remember that the fish are perfect after going through the grill, and we will talk about that today.

In addition to what we already have in another article about what you have to take into account to make a fish barbecue, today we delve into cooking techniques and complete with our recommendations so that you can cook all kinds of fish on the coals, with results almost professionals.

How to cook fish on the grill: what you need to know

The ideal coals for cooking fish

First things first: if in our kitchens we use electricity or gas to heat utensils and food, when we have a barbecue, the essential thing is the embers, which have to provide us with the necessary heat and for long enough to roast the food. Food.

In general, the cooking of the fish is relatively short, so we will only need to prepare a small amount of charcoal to make the embers. I usually use a kilo of charcoal and some small twigs like a Sarmiento to light them every time I prepare a barbecue.

If we let the embers cook well over high heat and let them mature, fanning from time to time, they will soon be red hot, covered by a light gray layer of ash. At that moment, we must spread them over the entire surface of the grill and begin our roast.

What fish to choose for the barbecue

A priori, any fish, will be delicious after going through the charcoal grill, but it should be noted that it is better to use fish of medium or large size since when cooking small fish on the barbecue, they may dry out.

For this type of fish, such as anchovies, red mullets or small fish, we can use a grill plate placed on the coals, which prevents the small ones from slipping through the grill slots and turns our barbecue into a large scale.

Special mention in the case of sardines: it is preferable to use the skewer technique to thread a few specimens on a rod close to the coals but only place them on them once they are cooked.

Regarding the species or different fish, gilthead bream, sea bass, red mullet, bream, sea bream, turbot, amberjack, croaker, salmon, mackerel, horse mackerel, or mackerel remain very well on the coals. Others familiar in our diets, such as hake or cod, are usually cooked on something other than the coals.

How to prepare the fish before grilling it on the coals

Generally, fish is grilled, gutted and descaled, although some cooks recommend leaving the scales and removing only the guts and entrails before salting the fish. Depending on the size and thickness of the fish to be cooked, it may be advisable to cook the fish open in half or make it whole.

In the case of very large fish, if the cook does not decide to open them in a butterfly shape by dividing them in half, they can be roasted whole with some transversal cuts on the loins to help them cook well on the inside. Small serving-size fish can be cooked whole, turning halfway through cooking.

Whole fish open in butterfly

It is usual to open the fish in a butterfly shape, making a longitudinal cut that divides the body into two halves without actually separating them. You can leave the thorn or scrape aside or remove it, like in the photo you have in this paragraph.

To roast the fish this way, it is convenient to use a large cage or besuguera that helps us turn the fish over when it is ready. It must be borne in mind that fish like this is skinny, so its cooking point is high-speed. With five minutes per side, it will be enough for that sea bass to be perfect,

Whole fish open at the belly

To eviscerate the fish, it is common for fishmongers to cut the ventral area and remove guts and entrails, leaving the whole fish ready for roasting. If there are roe, we can remove them or leave them inside the fish, giving it a more intense flavour.

cleaning and salty

Before putting the fish on the grill, it is advisable to review the work of the fishmonger and eliminate any remains, webs or bits that have yet to be removed so that diners do not find them already on their plate. In addition, the fish should be lightly salted on the inside.

Marinades, stuffed, garlic sauce and dressings

To get more flavorful grilled fish, we can leave them in a marinade before roasting them on the coals. An hour will be enough for them to take flavour.

We can also put them in the sea bass with some lemon slices or fill them with vegetables, which will be cooked inside the fish, taking advantage of the ventral incision.

Let’s make a marinade in addition to marinating the fish before roasting. We can also use this liquid to varnish the fish from time to time during cooking, obtaining juicier fish with more robust flavours.

Once the fish is roasted, it is common to complete the dish by adding a garlic sauce on top, giving an extra flavour. To make it, we brown some garlic in a pan with olive oil, and when they are done, we add a splash of vinegar.

Once the dressing or garlic sauce is ready, we pour everything over the fish and take it to the table. Optionally, add a little paprika before adding the vinegar with the heat off.

Some utensils that will come in handy for grilling fish

To cook fish on the barbecue, in addition to the necessary tools to handle the coals, it is good to have a besugara for portioning fish and a large cage in which to cook the most significant fish -or many small ones at the same time. -.

Fish Roasting Basket, Collapsible Portable Stainless Steel BBQ Grill Basket, Comes with Basting Brush and Storage Bag (Type 1)

Tips for making certain fish on the barbecue

To finish, we will briefly tell you how to prepare some of our fish recipes on the barbecue so that you can put into practice everything we have told you about how to prepare fish on the grill. Soon you will see some of them published

  • Grilled sea bass: Place the sea bass -also valid for lemon fish- on the grill, letting it cook for six or seven minutes on each side. The skin should start to brown but not completely.
  • Grilled mackerel: Brown the mackerel for three or four minutes on each side. Finish with garlic.
  • Grilled sea bream: Place the sea bream on the barbecue grates allowing it to brown well on both sides. It will take about five minutes on each side with very powerful coals.
  • Grilled turbot: To make turbot, as it is a fatty but flat fish, it is convenient to cook it very close to the embers, lively and for a short time.

With all these tips, we are sure that your next summer barbecue will be fish, and we are looking forward to reading the comments about your experience.

Grilled fish: how to prevent it from sticking to metal

If you want to prepare a perfect barbecued fish and prevent it from sticking or breaking, we give you some simple tricks so that a grilled fish is excellent.

What to do so that the fish does not stick on the grill

Take note! If you want to know why the fish sticks on the grill or the griddle when you think you are doing it right, it is due to various causes. Therefore, it is essential to consider the following factors to prevent grilled fish from ending up destroyed.

How to cook fish on the grill: what you need to know

Choose a good fish grill.

Most of the time, the main reason why fish sticks to the grill is because it is not fresh or because its characteristics need to be more suitable for grilling fish.

Therefore, since the main tool to make this dish is the griddle or grill, it is necessary to choose it well and keep it in perfect condition. When buying them, remember that they are with a nonstick or ceramic surface since they considerably reduce the probability that fish or other foods will stick to their surface.

Check the plates or pans from time to time to make sure they are in good condition and remember that these kitchen items tend to lose their qualities with use and poor care. In addition, good care is essential to maintain a good grill and obtain exquisitely grilled fish.


Heat the fish rack very well.

Although, at first, it may seem to cause the opposite effect, a very hot iron helps it absorb much less oil and seal almost immediately. The result will be a well-cooked and firm piece that you can handle easily.

To do this, you must ensure that the fish grill where you cook has a suitable temperature before placing the fillet on top. In the same way, check that there are no traces of burnt oil or excess oil or fat, as it could get inside the fish and moisten it excessively, thus causing it to crumble.

How to cook fish on the grill: what you need to know

Add a little flour or salt.

These ingredients keep your grilled fish from sticking together while adding a unique and delicious touch.

In the case of salt, it works by adding a generous, but not excessive, amount of coarse salt to the fish before placing it on top of the grill. This creates a protective film around the meat of the fish and prevents it from sticking.

You have to dry the piece of fish very well and pass it through flour, shaking off the excess before putting it on the grill. On the other hand, the flour is responsible for reducing the oil absorption from the fish when cooking it on the grill. In addition, it gives it a crunchy touch so that you can do it with your grilled fish. Although it is not necessary to use egg or breadcrumbs, you can flour it first and then dip it in beaten egg and again in flour or breadcrumbs for a crunchier result.

Use very little oil.

Remember that, as we said before, one of the leading causes of sticking to grilled fish is from absorbing too much oil. That is why it is essential not to use too much oil or butter before cooking it.

It is best to pour a few drops on the surface of the fish grill or the fish itself and, with the help of a brush or kitchen paper, spread them over the entire surface before placing the piece of fish. Later you can add more if you wish.

How to cook fish on the grill: what you need to know

Dry the fish very well

As we have said, and although it may seem an inconvenience, humidity is the enemy of fish, at least when grilling fish. For this reason, it is essential to dry it well before cooking it.

If the fish comes frozen, you must defrost it thoroughly before cooking it and, just before placing it on the stove, absorb the excess liquid with the help of a kitchen napkin or cloth.

If, on the other hand, the fish is fresh, you have to dry the piece before putting it on the fire with the help of a kitchen towel or a napkin. In any case, the important thing is that there is no water left, so it does not stick to the fish grill.

Now that you know how to make your grilled fish perfect, you may be interested in these tips to keep your grill or griddle in excellent condition and prevent it from sticking:

  • To extend the life of your griddle or grill, avoid using metal utensils on its surface, or it will end up scratching sooner rather than later.
  • Do not scrub the bottom of the grill or iron with the grating part of the scourer when washing them; this will also grate the surface, and the grilled fish, as well as other foods, will stick more and more efficiently.
  • Avoid storing these utensils in a stack, or the nonstick surface will be damaged.

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