With warmer weather comes grilling season and one of the easiest and healthiest foods you can prepare on a grill, gas or charcoal, is salmon. There is a trick to grilling salmon though, that once you know will transform your success with grilling this fish forever. The secret?
Use skin-on fillets and place the salmon fillets on the hot grill skinless side down first.
The fillets, when raw, won’t flake and fall apart like they will when they are cooked. So, you sear the raw skinless side first, only enough to get some good grill marks and an edge of cooked fish, then you carefully flip it and finish your cooking at a lower temp with the skin-side down.
This way the skin will help keep the fillet together and help keep it from flaking apart and falling into your grill while the fish completes its cooking.
My friend Suzanne taught me this approach years ago and it makes a huge difference. If you do it the other way? Skin side first? It’s a mess.
Also make sure you coat the grill grates and the fillets well with oil, to help prevent sticking. Some sticking is likely to happen anyway, which is why you need to be careful when you flip the fillets over. But having a well oiled hot grill and well oiled fillets will help.
There are plenty of marinades you can use with salmon; I’ve included four favorites here. My friend Suzanne usually just uses a simple soy sauce and minced garlic marinade. Sometimes I get a little fancier and add mirin rice wine, ginger, and sugar.
Do you have a favorite way to prepare grilled salmon? A favorite salmon marinade? If so, please let us know about it in the comments.
Updated from the recipe archive. First posted in 2009.