How to Grill Fish

by Contributor ; Updated September 28, 2017

How to Grill Fish. Grilling on your barbecue is a superb way to cook fish. Most fish take well to quick cooking over direct heat.

Light your grill and set it at its highest heat setting. Let it heat up for at least 20 minutes or so.

Check the fish fillets. None should be more than an inch or so thick.

Season the fish well with salt and pepper or your desired dry seasoning.

Make sure that you have all your utensils next to the grill, along with a clean plate or dish to hold the cooked fish.

Oil the grill grate lightly, then repeat. This coat of oil will prevent the fish from sticking and will promote the formation of grill marks.

Lay the fish in the center of the grill directly above the heat source. There should be an audible sizzle. Avoid cooler sections of the grill and indirect heat.

Wait about 2 minutes, then slide the prongs of a broiler fork between the bars of the grill grate and slide them under the fish. Gently lift up a section of fish to check the cooking and look for the formation of grill marks.

When grill marks form, use the broiler fork to lift up a corner of the fillet, and slide a spatula under the fish.

Turn the fish over and cook the other side.

Use the broiler fork to flake open a section of one fillet to check for doneness. If the interior of the fillet is no longer translucent, the fish is cooked.

Remove the fillets as soon as they're done.


  • Almost every species of commercially available fish can be grilled. Salmon and halibut grill especially well, whereas some species, like smaller flatfish and trout, are delicate and will require extra care. High heat is important to sear the fish instantly and keep it firm. Lower temperatures and slower cooking will dry the fish out and make handling it more difficult. The ideal size for grilled fish is the size of your spatula. Fish for grilling should be no thicker than an inch or so to allow for fast cooking.

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