How to perfectly cook fish on a bbq
We all love outdoor cooking, and eating, when the weather allows. Traditionally, people rush out and plunder the butchers, or local supermarket, for the best cuts of meat – however, fish makes a great BBQ cooking alternative!
Whilst some people may go into a blind panic when faced with cooking fish on a BBQ – it can be more complicated than grilling meats, but it doesn’t have to be difficult – and the results of successfully cooked fish are amazingly tasty and satisfying!
Here are some tips as to how to properly prepare for, and execute, the perfect barbecued fish:
When buying your fish
- Ensure that it is fresh – and BBQ it on the day of purchase
- Try and buy thicker cuts – steaks and fillets will cook more easily
- If cooking a whole fish, ask the fishmonger to clean, gut and scale it for you
Prepare the grill
- Ensure the grill (especially the grid) is clean – the biggest problem people have when trying to BBQ fish is it sticking to the cooking grid
- Prepare the BBQ grill so that you have access to two cooking zones – both direct and indirect heat will be needed to successfully cook the fish
- Leave the skin on the fish – this helps keep the fish complete and stops the flaking
- Lightly oil both the cooking grids, and the fish, with a high-heat oil to prevent the dreaded sticking
Prepare the fish
- Simply season the fish with salt and pepper
- If applying any citrus flavouring (lemon, lime or orange), try grilling them and then squeezing the juice over the fish just prior to serving
- If marinating your fish, ensure you don’t overdo it – 30 -60 minutes MAXIMUM, or the fish could deteriorate, or even start to ‘chemically’ cook!
- Meaty fish like tuna, salmon, swordfish or shark can be bought as thick steaks or fillets, and are best seared over a high heat
- Cook, initially, flesh side DOWN to create sear marks, then turn over to the skin side to finish
- Searing can take 3-5 minutes per side. If the fish is sticking to the grid when you try to turn, or flip it, it isn’t ready!
- Leaner fish like cod, haddock and sea bass can be more difficult to BBQ – they have a tendency to flake more easily whilst cooking. These are best grilled on a pre-heated pizza stone with a parchment paper lining or barrier.
- You can use a grilling plank to good effect with the thinner fillets and more delicate fish
- Alternatively, you can BBQ the fish in a foil pouch with butter and even vegetables, or use a grilling basket to hold the fish above the cooking grills
- For smaller seafood items, such as prawns, shrimp, scallops and squid, then cooking on a skewer over the heat works well.
A whole fish
- Cut slits in the skin of both sides of the fish and season thoroughly
- You can flavour the fish by filling the cavity with sliced citrus fruits and appropriate fresh herbs, if you wish
- Use indirect heat to cook the fish – if you wish to ‘crisp up’ the skin towards the end of the cooking, then apply over direct heat
How to tell when cooked
- The flesh will flake easily and will be opaque right through
- Insert a metal BBQ skewer, knife or fork into the thickest part of the fish and leave it for a few seconds. On withdrawal, if the implement is warm to touch, then the fish is cooked through.
- A general guide to follow is to allow 10 minutes cooking per inch of thickness in the fish.
OutdoorChef helps you to master every culinary challenge. Whether gas, charcoal or electric, from grilling to cooking or baking: our intelligent barbecue systems and the wide selection of accessories pave the way for versatile barbecuing pleasure and relaxing times outdoors.
We’re are the official UK importer of OutdoorChef and provide the largest product catalogue. You can buy online or contact us for more details.