Grilling salmon is a quick and easy method of cooking with wonderful results. The thickness of
salmon fillets is well suited to grilling, producing a crisp, charred crust with a tender, smoky
interior. There are some potential pitfalls when grilling that can affect these results and instead
produce dry fish, broken fish, or fish that ends up stuck to the grill. Through this guide we will
show you how to avoid these mistakes and end up with perfectly grilled salmon.
Remove the Fish Scales
Ask your fishmonger to remove the scales from the salmon before buying the fish. If you need to
descale a fish at home, then scrape the back of a knife along the fish against the scales until all
are removed. Fish scales are unpleasant to eat in texture and flavor. They also contain a coat of
slime underneath, which is another reason that they should be removed before cooking.
Pick the Right Cut of Salmon
There are two main options when grilling salmon: fillets or steaks. Salmon steaks will hold their
shape better because of the bone running through the meat, and they will stick to the grill less
for the same reason. There is a danger of overcooking the thin belly flaps that hang from the
steak, so the best technique when grilling is to debone the salmon. Then tie the steak into an
evenly shaped disk, which ensures even cooking and looks attractive for presentation. The
downside when grilling a salmon steak is that you will not have crispy skin, as the skin is on the
sides, which is the smallest surface of the salmon.
Salmon fillets can achieve a crispy skin, and the thickness of the meat stops it from
overcooking, resulting in flaky, moist flesh.
Another alternative for grilling salmon is to cook the fish whole. A salmon filled with fragrant
herbs and fresh citrus will make for the perfect showstopper table presentation and will feed a
Salt the Salmon
Salting seasons the fish before cooking while also drawing out excess moisture. Salting the
salmon at least one hour before grilling will ensure the moisture is extracted slowly as the salt
permeates the flesh. Then pat the fish dry with a kitchen towel before cooking.
Preheat the Grill
Ensure the grill is completely clean by brushing off any burnt residue. Set the grill to maximum
and allow it to preheat until very hot. Just before cooking, brush the grill with an oiled paper
towel to create a non-stick surface.
Apply Oil Directly to The Fish
Whether you’re grilling salmon, steak, chicken wings, or kabobs, the guidance remains the
same. Apply oil directly to your ingredient rather than onto your grill. This prevents your
ingredients from sticking to the grill, speeds up browning, and keeps the product moist while
cooking. Marinade your ingredients in an oil-based marinade to gain all the listed benefits plus
an extra level of flavor.
Recipe for The Perfect Grilled Salmon
This recipe is healthy, quick, and easy, making the dish ideal for a hot summer’s day, midweek
dinner, or even served to impress guests. Smoky grilled salmon fillets are ready in under 20
minutes and are complemented well by a range of side dishes, including fresh salad, boiled
potatoes, roasted vegetables, fragrant rice, or Asian noodles. Apply a marinade of BBQ,
Mediterranean flavors, or Asian spices for further depth to the dish.
Preparation 5 minutes (plus 1 hour to salt)
Cooking 6 minutes
Resting 5 minutes
Total 16 minutes
Small gas grill
● 1 ½ lbs salmon fillet skin-on, sliced in 4 equal portions approximately 1-inch thick
● 1 tbsp canola oil
● 2 tsp salt
● 2 tsp black pepper
● 1 lemon, sliced into wedges
- Generously salt the salmon and leave to rest for at least 1 hour, then pat the salmon dry
using a paper towel and transfer to a clean plate.
- Preheat a small gas grill on maximum until very hot.
- Rub the salmon fillets with canola oil to coat, then season with salt and black pepper.
- Season the grill by brushing with an oiled cloth, then place the salmon on the grill flesh-
- Cook the salmon for 4 minutes flesh-side down. Once the salmon is well-browned with
deep grill marks, it should be easy to move from the grill. Do not be tempted to move the
salmon before the first 4 minutes.
- Flip the salmon with a spatula to place it skin-side down onto the grill. Grill the salmon
for 2 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.
- Remove the salmon fillets from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes skin-side up. The
fish will continue to cook off the heat. After 5 minutes, serve the perfectly grilled salmon
with a wedge of lemon alongside a fresh salad, boiled potatoes, or roasted vegetables.
Did You make this recipe? Let us know in the comments how you liked it!
Jeff Wilson is a writer and product comparison expert. He is dedicated to saving you money on popular home products.