How To Grill Fish – Tips and Tricks

grilled fish, grilling, fish on. the grillIf you want to know how to BBQ fish filets that look and taste great, it’s all about getting the time and temperature right, knowing how to grill fish in foil, and for the outdoor gas grill, remembering to use the right type of oil.

We have a fun BBQ fish-specific spatula that you’ll definitely need before you throw the fish on your grill. Once you have that, here are some best practices, tricks, and tips for cooking fish on the grill:

Grilling Fish: Time and Temperature

According to Connecticut’s City Fish Market, “Chefs recommend baking fish at between 350° Fahrenheit and 450° Fahrenheit.”

Technically it doesn’t take very much heat to cook a fresh fish. 

To safely cook very fresh whole fish, an internal temperature of just 130 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit is required, so we’re talking about plenty of heat to get the job done.

On a gas grill we can push the temperature up to that high end above 400 degrees and cook those fish up nice and steaming hot with a little bit of flame broil char fresh off the barbecue.

Here are some guidelines from the professionals to give you an idea of the best gas grilling time and temperature for three of the most popular kinds of fish to cook on the gas barbecue:

Salmon grilling time and temp:

“As a general guideline, salmon should take approximately 6-8 minutes per inch of thickness when cooked at 425°F.” The Alaskan Salmon Company

Cod grilling time and temp:

“Low and slow is the way to go when it comes to making this yummy fish dish. A low-temperature oven (set to just 300 F) ensures that the fish cooks slowly, without drying out.”The Sumter Item

Tilapia grilling time and temp:

“We love baking it at 400 degrees F. It is the right temperature to cook it, and results in flaky and tender fish.”Sweet and Savory Meals

When the fish gets some color and its skin turns opaque it’s nearly ready.

After the skin begins to char, if the internal temp reads out safe, it’s good to serve off the grill— usually about 10 minutes over the flame.

How to Grill Fish in Foil

So those were some time and temperature tips.

Here is another trick for grilling fish outdoors: How do you grill fish on a gas grill and keep the fresh caught whole fish moist and juicy? Grill the fish in foil on your gas grill.

You can wrap your fish up in aluminum foil packets to cook them in. You don’t need to flip them.

They’ll hold in the heat and radiate it everywhere so the fish is cooked nice and evenly while keeping in any sauces, lemon juice, or seasonings— whatever you’re adding.

With the foil holding in heat, your fish might be ready after about seven minutes, but they can still take around ten minutes to finish cooking on the grill in foil wraps.

Oiling Fish for the Gas Grill

And here’s another best practice for cooking fish on the grill:

Drizzling a little avocado or flaxseed oil on your fish to cook is fine for the crock pot, or stovetop or oven baking if you’re cooking on low for a longer time.

But on the grill where it gets hotter, you might get a tastier result with a high smoke point oil like peanut, sunflower, sesame, canola, or olive oil.

Be sure to oil your fish before putting it on the grill to get a nice savory crisp. Don’t forget to season it with your favorite fish treatments after oiling.

If you want a slightly more simple option, grab one of these griddle toppers for your grilled fish!


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