Whether using an indoor grill or an outdoor grill, the art of cooking fish on a grill takes time and practice to perfect. Unlike chops or burgers, grilling fish can be a notoriously difficult task as fish is typically thinner and much more fragile so it lends itself easier to breakage whilst cooking, while it can also leave behind a hard-to-clean residue when being lifted from the grill.
As a result many people are reticent to attempt to try and grill fish for fear of their attempts going wrong. Fish when grilled tenderizes and breaks up easily when cooked making it a difficult food for beginners to grill successfully.
However, grilling fish needn’t be as difficult as it appears; here’s a few handy hints and tips to grill perfect fish every time.
Keep your grill clean
A clean grill can go a long way to successful fish grilling; of course, a grill should be clean before use on any sort of food.
While cold, scrape off any burnt on matter that might be stuck to the grill bars. Then gently let it warm up and before commencing cooking use a lightly-oiled cotton cloth to wipe over the grill. Hold the cloth in between a pair of tongs to avoid burning yourself.
Apply a few thin coats of oil to the grill as it reaches temperature as multiple applications will help to build up a layer that will make it harder for the fish to stick to.
Once grilling is complete and before the grill cools, wipe the grill down with a damp cloth to remove any left behind matter.
Select the best fish for grilling
Any fish can be cooked on a grill but some might be better to grill than others; some types are more forgiving of beginner mistakes and produce better results. Fish with firmer flesh structures are less likely to crumble and fall apart, as are thicker cut portions.
Before placing onto a grill lightly brush the fish with oil; combined with the oil already on the heated grill then the fish is even less likely to adhere to the metal.
One thing to remember is not to grill the fish immediately from the refrigerator; instead let the fish reach room texture before putting it on the grill. Make sure it is covered and in a cool place away from direct sunlight while resting.
Don’t grill on too high a heat
It is a good idea to lower the heat of the grill slightly prior to cooking; grilling of fish should take place at around 400 degrees Fahrenheit and cooking time should be around 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness of the cut of the fish.
If the grill is too high a heat or the fish is overcooked then some of the fish may begin to stick regardless of the amount of oil that has been applied beforehand.
Once fully cooked and removed from the grill, allow the cooked fish to rest for a few moments and allow it to reabsorb the juices and make it more tender.
Skin On v Skin Off
Leaving the skin on will make the fish more crispy and help prevent the fish from breaking up. Start with the skin to the bottom of the grill and then turn half-way through. Be sure to oil the skin first though so it doesn’t stick and it should come away slightly from the grill once grilling has been completed on that side.
If cooking fish with the skin off, don’t be tempted to continually turn and flip the fish as this will increase the chances of it breaking apart. Fish being grilled without skin should only be flipped once during cooking and not forced off the grill once cooking is completed.
Use foil for perfect grilling
If you’re still a bit wary of grilling fish unaided then consider using foil to wrap the fish prior to placing on the grill.
Cooking fish wrapped in foil eliminates the possibility of the fish sticking to the grill or falling apart; while during cooking the foil keeps the juices contained which can then be reabsorbed into the fish during resting.
The foil does the cooking for you, conducting heat and ensuring perfect cooking; additional flavor can be added as well with herbs and other condiments wrapped in the foil parcel and left to the grill to work its’ magic and produce a tasty, perfectly grilled fish with far less risk attached than grilling with direct contact.
Any fish can be grilled in foil, just lightly oil the inside portion of the foil, add the fish and any additional flavorings. Wrap into a parcel ensuring all the fish is covered and place on the grill to cook for the requisite time.
Once cooked, leave to rest for a few minutes before unwrapping and removing the fish for serving.
Or use a grill for fish
Using grills for fish is another way to minimize the potential for fish to break up or stick during cooking and have become a common and useful tool for those grilling. Typical grills for fish consist of a two-piece basket that latches together to securely hold the fish in place, helping to prevent accidents in the cooking process especially when turning the fish.
There are several variants of different design and shapes that can contain and grill multiple pieces of fish at the same time while ensuring easy turning to allow for perfect cooking time and again. Check out some unbiased reviews before you choose one. For example, here’s a good grills for fish analysis. Make sure to keep them clean after each grill and they’ll last a good while.
With plenty of choice of recipes to suit a wide array of fish there’s sure to be a meal to delight. Grilling fish needn’t be difficult and while it might appear daunting, these tips should help ensure you perfect the art of grilling fish time and again.