When it comes to grilled salmon, there are three main types of grill masters. Some cook their fish completely until dry and burnt outside and raw in the middle, creating dry and charred flavor that some people love. Others stick with more neutral-flavored cooked inside and crispy outside pieces that taste better when mixed into other dishes. A third group prefers very moist internal meat that can balance out other ingredients in the meal.
The first type of griller usually starts by heating up the grill really hot before cooking the fish. Then they take the fish and put it onto the preheated grill, sometimes flipping it so it cooks both sides. This is the most common way to grill most foods due to its ease of use.
However, this method cannot always work for thick cut meats or thicker cuts of fish. Because these products take longer to fully warm up, they will not get enough time to brown properly on the hotter part of the grill. Also, if the grill gets too hot, the food may burn which would not taste good.
So how do you make sure your grilled salmon is as delicious as possible? There’s a trick used by professional grillers that changes the way we think about grilled seafood.
Use the right oil
When cooking salmon, what kind of oil you use makes a big difference! There are two main oils that most people use for grilling salmon- olive oil and butter or margerine.
Many people add extra virgin olive oil to the grill before rubbing it onto the cooked fish, but we can leave that out because the natural flavor of the oil is okay.
Butter and cream contain large amounts of water, so when they come in contact with hot metal like your grill, the water gets heated and then seeps into the meat. This may result in dryness and loss of taste due to the water being soaked up by the meat.
To avoid this, make sure to only cook the fish for a short time after coating it in the melted fat. You also have to be careful not to burn it when taking it off the grill as it will lose some of its appeal.
We recommend using avocado oil since it has a high smoke point (the temperature at which oil begins to break down) and does not soak into the food too much.
Brush or wipe the fish with oil
When baking, washing or grilling salmon, how you prepare it makes a big difference! Whether you like your salmon cooked hot or warm, dry or buttery, there is an appropriate way to do it for every person.
To make sure your grill up in no wrong when it comes to taste, learn the tricks of grilled salmon. Here, we will discuss two different ways to cook fresh Atlantic salmon either raw or barely cooked- just like our beginner’s tips section!
Option one: Cook low and slow
This is the most classic way to grill salmon. You can broil, bake, fry, or even stick-grill it if you have a special tool designed just for that. What isn’t easy to match though, is a plate full of luscious, crispy, browned flakey salmon.
The trick? Cooking it slowly until it is completely done and then pulling it apart to enjoy all those lovely flavors and textures.
And while this article may seem kind of boring (we gave away some basic info already!), I would really love to help you out.
Use the right cooking time
When baking or broiling salmon, there is an important factor in how to grill it- how to cook it! There are two main reasons why this is crucial. The first is flavor – making sure that it does not overcook means it will taste better.
The second is safety – if your salmon is done before it properly cooks, then the raw fish may contain bacteria or parasites that could make you sick.
When grilling salmon, people usually stick to either pan frying or oven roasting. Both of these methods can be tricky for one reason: both require high temperatures to roast the flesh of the fish.
This may not work for cooked meaty parts of the salmon that take longer to dry out, but must remain slightly pink. This can sometimes result in broken bones or dried out and tough pieces of fish.
Grilling also requires very good ventilation, as strong smoke would probably interfere with the taste of the food. This is particularly true when using higher quality meats like wild caught salmon.
Make sure it’s fresh
When baking or broiling salmon, make sure it is very fresh! Salmonella can grow in fermented foods such as meat so if you are getting hungry, chances are your food was not fully cooked enough and may have been contaminated.
Tracy does not recommend freezing raw fish due to possible contamination from other ingredients. Freezing may also break down some of the fleshy parts of the fish which could potentially contribute to spread of bacteria.
She recommends either cooking the fish completely or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C) for extra safety.
Use the right pan
When it comes to grilling salmon, what kind of grill you have makes a big difference in how your fish cooks. Grills that are not coated in non-stick spray do not work with raw meat, so they cannot be used when broiling or grilled whole pieces of fish.
Regular stainless steel skillets and frying pans can also easily burn food due to the hot metal surface. These foods taste bad and sometimes are even harmful because of the burnt flavor.
Since most people use butter or olive oil for cooking vegetables and chicken, these oils won’t properly cook down when roasted over a high heat source like a grill. They will actually burn and potentially damage your health!
To ensure perfect cooked salmon every time, make sure to check out our tips here on the best ways to grill fresh salmon.
Flip it often
After searing the fish, which is to say cooking it under high heat for a few minutes to get a nice color, it’s time to turn it! Grilling salmon either face up or down depends on what kind of grill you have.
If the grill has very low bars that make it difficult to hold the pan in place, then cook it facedown until it can be held securely. This way, it doesn’t need extra support when flipping.
Once it’s cooked through, remove it from the grill and set aside. Now, using the back side of your grill as an aid, flip the fish over so that the other (browned) side is up.
Let it rest
When cooking salmon, let it rest either hot or cold depending on your preferences. To grill hot, just make sure that you have enough space to cook the fish fully without overcooking it!
To bake warm or toast it, remember that oven-cooked salmon will contain less fat than grilled salmon. You can also spread some lemon juice onto the cooked salmon to increase its taste and value.
Once finished, let the salmon cool down before serving so that it does not get mushy.
Serve with lemon
When it comes time to season your salmon, you want to make sure that you do not overdo it. While grilled salmon is delicious, some recipes seem to add too much olive oil or butter before seasoning the fish, which can actually burn in the pan when baking or grilling.
If you like things a little more spicy, then additional pepper can be added! However, unless you like very strong flavors, one extra dash of salt will probably suffice. If you like more texture, then try broiling the salmon instead of just cooking it directly onto the grill.
To avoid having to wash all this lovely flavor off your plate, simply serve the salmon with fresh lemons — yup, we said it! Grilled salmon is already high in protein so have some bread to dip into the leftover juices. Depending on how hungry you are, either toast or fry up some whole wheat or white bread to get some carbs.