Salmon's rich flavor can take on barbecue, so bring it on. A sweet and tangy southern barbecue sauce complements the richness of salmon. A spicy sauce with Southwest flair amps up the flavor meter. Meet the Far East with a teriyaki sauce. Plan to serve 4 to 6 ounces of salmon per person, and round out the meal with a crisp green salad and rice to absorb the tasty excess sauce.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Use a bottled barbecue sauce or create your own. Whisk together a mixture of ketchup with a splash of lemon juice, a few dollops of maple syrup, and a dash of onion and garlic powder. Or prepare a lime juice-based sauce with brown sugar, cumin and red pepper flakes. If you prefer an Asian-inspired sauce, mix rice vinegar, soy sauce, grated ginger, honey and scallions.
Pat the salmon dry, whether you're making fillets, steaks or a whole fish. If you use the whole fish and it won't fit in the baking pan, cut off the head and tail.
Spray the baking pan with cooking oil, or place a few drops of oil on a paper towel and wipe the bottom of the pan. The oil helps the barbecue sauce from sticking.
Brush the sauce on top of the fish fillets and steak. For a whole fish, brush the sauce on the top, then push the fish open and brush the sauce on the bottom and top of the inside of the cavity.
Place the fish in the baking pan, sauced side down. Brush the other side of the fillets, steak or whole fish with barbecue sauce.
Measure the salmon at its thickest part. Bake 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. For example, a 1 1/2-inch-thick steak would bake for 15 minutes, a 1-inch fillet for 10 minutes and a 2-inch-thick whole fish for 20 minutes. Put the salmon on the middle rack. Bake until the salmon flakes easily and is no longer translucent.
If the sauce starts to burn on the bottom of the baking pan, pour in a splash of water.
It's not necessary to remove the skin from the salmon. If you don't like the skin, it comes off easily once the fish is cooked.
Line the baking pan with foil for fast cleanup.
Salmon should smell like the ocean, not fishy.