Grilling is one of our favorite ways to prepare fish and meat, and when you are cooking grouper, it can become quite complicated. There are so many variables that determine how well your grill will cook this flatfish!
With that being said, we have gathered some helpful tips for grilling thick white fleshed fish like marbled or striped grouper. These grilled grouter recipes include tips for broiling, smoking, and even baking the fish depending on what time frame you have.
There are also several recipe ideas including whether or not the cooked side of the grouper should be cooked raw or warm like in our Grilled Marinated Groupers with Grape Mustard Sauce.
Use the proper temperature for the fish
When grilling grouper, you want to make sure that it is cooked all the way through before you plate it. Grilled raw meat can be dangerous for your health!
Grilling temperatures vary depending upon what kind of grill you have. A good rule of thumb is to take your initial grill temperature and then add 100-150 degrees to ensure that the whole fish is completely cooked.
This includes keeping an eye on it as well – if you need to pull the grill pan off or put it in the oven to check, do so very quickly so that it does not burn. If using a gas grill, make sure to keep a close eye on it because flames can sputter out.
Once done, let the grilled grouper rest until cool enough to handle, otherwise it will continue to cook at its original temperature.
Pat the fish down
When grilling grouper, one of your duke pieces or starting points is making sure it has an even burn. If you start smelling burnt flesh, that means your grill is burning too much!
To prevent this, make sure when you pull the fillets off the grill, they are cooked all the way through and their thickness is consistent. Thinly sliced meat will probably taste better, so have those muscles separate properly before putting them back onto the grill.
Another option is to cook the fillets completely undercooked and then finish baking them in the oven. This can be done either hot-baked or dry-toasted depending on what flavor you want.
Brush the fish with oil
After washing the grouper, brush it with olive or vegetable oil to prevent burning and/or drying out of the flesh. This also helps promote browning of the skin which some people prefer over white-colored meat.
Olive oil is usually preferred over coconut oil because it has higher smoking points (the temperature at which oils begin to smoke and burn). Coconut oil is much lower, making it less effective in grilled food. You can use soft brushes to apply the oil, but if you have a heavy coat, then using plastic bowls or containers to scrape off the excess will help preserve the rest for future uses.
Remember that fat slows down heat transfer, so grill your grouper slightly longer than needed to ensure full cooking and flaking of the bone. Check the meat frequently for doneness (for medium-rare, a digital thermometer should read 145°F–150°F [63°C–66°C] internally) and pull it away before it gets too warm.
Put the fish on the grill
When grilling grouper, one of the best ways to cook it is to put the whole fish onto the grill. This way, you can begin to brown the outside more thoroughly and also have access to each part of the fish easily.
Watch it closely
When grilling grouper, you will want to make sure that you are watching your grill very carefully. If while cooking the fish gets dry or if it takes too long for it to cook through, then you should start re-grillings.
The grilled grouter will need to be cooked completely before you can eat it! This is because there is not much meat on the fillet as it was made into sushi.
If the cheese melts down in fat, then you have wasted money. Make sure to keep an eye on your grill and check the consistency of the cheese to see if it has melted and how brown it is.
Cook it until it flakes easily
When cooking grouper, you want to make sure that it is cooked all the way through before trying to cut into it. If you start to see some pink in the center when slicing it up, then chances are it has not yet fully heated through.
Grilling can be tricky because people have different ideas of what “pink” means. Some say any light brown color is considered warm so if there is white in the middle, turn down the burners or remove the grill pan to get it completely charred and golden brown!
For best results, season your fish with salt and pepper and cook it on high heat for 5-8 minutes per one pound of meat. That way it will take slightly longer to finish baking which helps ensure it is fully cooked inside and out.
Serve with lemon or cocktail sauce
When it comes time to season your grouper, make sure you do not overdo it. While grilling is its own cuisine style, too much salt can actually taste good, especially if you have some kind of citrus in the recipe!
To prevent overly salty fish, either use fresh lemons or mixers like tartar sauce that contain acidy flavors which balance out the flavor of the salt. For best results, let your grill get very hot before cooking the fish so that the acids in the drink caramelize onto the meat!
Once cooked, cut the fillets into serving pieces and squeeze some of the juice from the leftover bits onto them to enhance their flavor.
Take time to enjoy the fish
When cooking grouper, your start point should be from raw to hot or warm cooked depending on what kind of grill you have. Grilling it directly over high heat can sometimes result in dry, crispy skin.
This is not good! Luckily, there are several recipes out there that tell you how to cook this beautiful white fish like perfection.