Grilling is one of the most common ways to prepare fish. When grilling, your grill must be in good condition as well as having enough fuel to cook the meat. Proper temperatures for cooking depend on the type of fish you are grilling!
There are two main types of grilled fish: white-flesh fish like trout or brook trout, and dark-meat fish such as salmon or sea bass. Both types can be cooked whole unless it contains very thin bones that burn during cooking, in which case it should be cut into pieces.
This article will go more in depth about how to grill a fish whole depending on the size of the fish. If you would rather read something different, feel free to check out our recipe section here for some recipes.
Brush the fish with oil
After washing your fish, you will need to brush it off with either olive or vegetable oil. This helps ensure that the grill flavor doesn’t stick to the meat!
You can do this before putting it onto the grill or once it comes out. The best way to do this is using a paper towel to soak up some of the excess oil, and wiping the skin of the fish.
Never use butter as this may burn in the fire which would be disastrous for the taste of the fish.
Put on the seasoning of your choice
When cooking fish whole, you will want to make sure that it is well seasoned before putting it onto the grill or skillet. This includes rubbing the outside in additional seasonings as well!
When grilling fish at home, people usually start with brushing on some olive oil and then sprinkling the salt and pepper. After this, they may add other flavor ingredients such as garlic powder or crushed red pepper.
Some recipes suggest leaving the skin on the fish when baking or broiling it, but we recommend always having skin on your fish because many vitamins are absorbed through the skin. If you like extra coloration, try starting off by only adding half of each ingredient and then repeat after the fish has cooked for an equal amount of time.
Cook the fish on a very hot grill
When cooking a whole fish like a trout or cod, you will want to make sure that it is cooked all the way through and flaky. Grilling is a great method to use when baking or grilling a meat, seafood, or poultry item.
To cook the fish properly, the grill must be at least medium-high heat. If the fire is low enough, the fish may burn due to not being warm enough. Also, remember that fat cooks faster than raw chicken skin so make sure to keep an eye on your grill to ensure that it does not get burned!
When cooking a full size fish, usually one per person, we recommend using a plate to hold the fillets while they are cooking. This helps prevent the pieces from sticking to each other as well as helping to retain moisture. Make sure to wash this new plate before eating the fish to avoid any burnt taste or grease.
Let the fish cook all the way through
When cooking a whole fish like a trout or cod, you should let it fully cook all the way through before moving it or testing it.
This is important because if you cut into the meat of the fish before it is completely cooked, the raw meat may stick to the grill, making it difficult to eat the piece!
If part of the fish is already dry and flaky when you take it out, then no need to worry too much about this, but for other types of fish, letting it cook more can make it taste better.
Serve with your favorite salad and bread
When grilling fish, there are two main types of grilled fishes: white meat or dark meat. White-meat fish include trout, flounder, redfish, and cod. These are great alternatives to chicken when asked about their origin! They contain less fat than other white meats like tuna, salmon, and broiled white meat poultry.
Thicker skinned white-meat fish can also be cooked sous vide (see this article for more information). This way, they cook slightly longer in the grill/broiler mode, but taste similar to cooking them fully dry.
Since white-meat fish do not have much flavor of its own, you can either marinate it in olive oil and herbs or none at all! The best oils to use for this are coconut or avocado since they have high smoke points. Herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and oregano work well too.
For serving purposes, we recommend having some greens and toast along with your food. A good place to start is putting some wheat or rice toast next to each plate so that people can make their own.
Serve with roasted vegetables and rice
When grilling fish, how you cook it is very important! If the grill is not hot enough, your will have dry or raw meat. Grilled fish and meats can also taste funny due to overcooked flavors.
When cooking a whole fish like salmon or trout, make sure to cover it with plastic wrap as it will continue to roast and brown once cooked. This way, it does not burn which would result in an odd flavor.
Once the fish is done, let it rest for five minutes before serving so it can relax and retain its shape. Then, season with salt and pepper and serve with roasted veggies and rice to wash down all of the delicious bits.
While most people know how to grill fish as either hot or cold, there are actually three more ways to cook it. These include raw, warm, and oven-fried. Grilling a fish whole under cooked is sometimes referred to as “dry baking” because of the way the flesh cooks along with the skin.
Cooking a fish completely through and dry baking are both great alternatives to plain old broiling or frying. The best tip we have for anyone looking to grill a fish is to use the fillets instead of the whole fish. This will give you better control over what temperature your meat comes down to, and you can pull it off the grill at any time!
Another option that some people enjoy is grating the fish while it is cooking. Some types of whitefish like flounder taste good when done this way! Be careful not to overdo it though, as too much crunch can be annoying.
Serve with tartar sauce and French bread
When grilling fish, there are two main types of grilled fishes- fresh or raw fish and cooked or hot smoked fish. The difference between the two is really just how you prepare the meat! For example, when cooking a whole fish like trout or snapper, make sure to cover it completely so that it does not dry out.
When smoking fish, know what temperature your desired finished product should be! Cold waterfowl such as ducks and geese can easily get dried out, even though they’re high in protein. Bone-in whitefish and salmon will stay more moist if smoked at lower temperatures.
If you would prefer very flaky and crispy skin, cold waterfowl breasts like chicken thighs work well because they can be sliced off the bone later. Thicker bones require higher heat to melt away some of the moisture, which could result in drier meat.