Grill Fish Properly to Avoid Dinner Disasters

Grill fish tends to adhere to the grill, which can cause it to fall apart, get dry, and lose its flavor. By using the straightforward strategies and recipes that chefs share in this section, you can have properly cooked snapper, kanpachi, and sea bass on your plate in as little as ten minutes.

Grill Fish Properly to Avoid Dinner Disasters
Grill Fish Properly to Avoid Dinner Disasters

Many individuals who are comfortable grilling meat and vegetables will be apprehensive about grill because it is a different kind of food than what they are used to grilling. Accordingly, we sought the guidance of three experts: Robynne Maii, a chef at Fête Honolulu; Garrette Bowe, a chef at Marcus at Baha Mar Fish + Chop House in Nassau, Bahamas; and Valentine Thomas, a spear-fisher and author of “Good Catch: A Guide to Sustainable Fish and Seafood.”

All of these individuals are experts in their respective fields. They supplied useful advice and recipes that are guaranteed to be successful in providing a summer that is free of stress and rich with seafood.

Which Grill Fish is best?

According to the recommendations of our expert professionals, the sorts of grilled Fish that are best suited for grill are those that are firm and fatty. Some examples of these types of fish include snapper, salmon, tuna, grouper, wahoo, hogfish, kanpachi, and yellowtail. Bowe is a grill Fish saltwater fish because, in his opinion, “they have a natural seasoning from the ocean and tend to be durable on the grill.”

Bowe enjoys doing this because saltwater fish tend to be more durable on the grill. Whenever you grill a whole fish, it is important to pay attention to the size of the fish first. Thomas said, “It is difficult to cook a fish that is too big on a grill to the appropriate temperature.”

How do I prevent fish from sticking to the grill?

The advice that Maii gave was to “scrape down your grill very well.” In addition, spray it with cooking spray. The next step is to apply a generous amount of oil and spice to the fish. You should not move it once you have placed it on the grill; wait until it begins to disengage from the grate before moving it.


To further elaborate, Thomas stated that the best way to prevent fish from sticking together and coming apart is to keep the skin on. The grill must be extremely hot (400 degrees), according to Bowe, to prevent food from sticking. She suggested that you make use of a fish basket, which will ensure that the fish remains whole while it is being grilled.

How can I prevent fish from drying out on the grill?

When it comes to preparing salmon or firm white grilled Fish like wahoo or marlin, one of Maii’s favorite ways to prepare the fish is by poaching it in olive oil for approximately eight minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish, and then finishing it off on the grill. Per what Maii mentioned, the moisture that is held within the fish is preserved when it is patted dry with a paper towel prior to being seasoned. All of our experts agree that the most efficient way to keep fish from drying out is to cook it for an excessive amount of time when it is already cooked.


How do I know my fish is done?

An interior temperature of 140 degrees is what you should aim for. An instant-read thermometer should be inserted into the thickest section of the grill Fish, and the fish should be removed from the grill when the thermometer reaches 130 degrees Fahrenheit. While the fish is resting, it will continue to cook, reaching a temperature of 140 degrees. All of our experts advise that you pierce the flesh with a paring knife; if it flakes, it is ready to eat.

What tools do I need for grilling fish?

Bowe emphasized the use of a fish spatula for the following reason: “The flexibility and angle help you get right under the fish,” she noted. It is possible for excess moisture to drain off thanks to the slats. All of our specialists recommend using tongs. According to Thomas, skewers are a great tool for ensuring that cubes of very solid fish, such as salmon, cobia, and cod, stay together and cook evenly.


Which seasonings go best with grilled fish?

The simple seasoning that Maii recommends is olive oil and a significant amount of kosher salt; after it has been cooked, fresh lemon or lime should be added. The fiery Scotch bonnet pepper, onion, oil, and lime blend that Bowe uses for her family cookouts is one of her favorite marinades. Bowe takes pleasure in using this blend.

Not only will a light coating of oil impart flavor to fish, but it will also help keep it from sticking to the pan. Thomas emphasized that if you over-oil the fish, it could cause them to catch fire. Thanks to Bowe, here is a helpful hint: Grill peppers that have been cut in half, herbs that have been coated with oil and tied together with butcher’s twine, pineapple, lemon, lime, or any other citrus fruit, and then cook fish in the same location. Grill the fish directly on top of rounds of citrus that have been finely cut.

How do I know which fish to buy?

Look for fish with clear eyes, pink or red gills, and firm flesh when you go to the fishmonger. Not “fishy” or decaying, the fish should have a smell that is reminiscent of the ocean. In the event that you are unable to acquire fish in person, you may want to consider purchasing it from reputable online vendors such as or the CSA-style service Seatopia Collective.

Grilled Snapper With Scotch Bonnet Marinade

The family barbecues that chef Garrette Bowe hosts in the Bahamas served as the inspiration for this dish. The pineapple, lime, and thyme that she uses to season the grill are used to enhance the flavor of snapper, which is her favorite type of fish.


For the marinade:

    • 3 Scotch Bonnet peppers, seeded and roughly chopped
    • 1 white onion, roughly chopped
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • Juice of 3 limes
    • 1 cup salt
    • ½ cup ground black pepper
    • ½ cup vegetable oil

    For the fish:

    • Cooking spray
    • 1 (2-pound) whole red snapper, scaled and cleaned

    For the garnish:

    • ½ pineapple
    • 2 limes, halved
    • 1 bunch of thyme, tied with twine
    • Vegetable oil, for brushing




  1. The grill should be heated to 400 degrees. Cooking spray should be lightly applied to the grates.

  2. Put all of the ingredients for the marinade into a food processor and carefully mix them.

  3. Please pat the fish dry. Make three shallow incisions on both sides of the fish, spaced two inches apart from one another. Apply the marinade over the entire surface, including the cavity on the interior and each incision.

  4. Apply oil to the pineapple, limes, and thyme, and bake them. Arrange the pineapple on the grill and let it cook for half an hour. Cook for an additional five minutes after adding the limes and thyme.

  5. Take the pineapple, lime, and thyme off the grill and set them aside in a separate bowl. After the pineapple, limes, and thyme have been cooked, place the fish that has been seasoned in the exact same location.

  6. The fish should be cooked for a total of eight minutes. To flip the fish gently, you can use a fish spatula and tongs. For approximately eight more minutes, continue cooking the fish until an instant-read thermometer put into the thickest portion of the fish registers a temperature of 130 degrees.

  7. Use grill limes to squeeze over the fish, then serve it with pineapple that has been grilled.


Hawaiian Kanpachi Sandwich Grilled

Chef Robynne Maii enjoys grilling kanpachi, also known as amberjack, because it is “so forgiving and because of its high-fat content.” Hamachi, often known as yellowtail, is a nearby relative that can be used as an excellent alternative to this meaty sandwich.


Regarding the gribiche:
  • 1/2 cup of sour cream
  • Mayonnaise, one-half cup
  • 2 teaspoons of horseradish that has been cooked and drained
  • The cornichons, minced, three tablespoons
  • 1 and a half tablespoons of shallots that have been minced
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh dill that has been minced
  • 1 egg, hard-boiled and chopped, large

To prepare the sandwiches:
  • 4 Hawaiian kanpachi fillets, each weighing 5 ounces
  • Salt and olive oil, kosher spice
  • Sandwich buns made of brioche, cut and smeared with clarified butter, four in total
  • 1 head of butter or gem lettuce, with the leaves thoroughly cleaned and dried
  • 1 large tomato that has been matured on the vine and sliced thinly



  1. In order to make the gribiche, put all of the components for the gribiche in a small bowl.
  2. Cooking spray should be used to lightly coat the grates of a grill before it is heated to 400 degrees.
  3. The fish should be patted dry. After being rubbed with a tiny bit of olive oil, kosher salt should be used to season carefully.
  4. Put the fish on the grill and cook it for two to three minutes per side, depending on its thickness, until it becomes opaque and firm. The fish should be removed from the grill and loosely covered with foil.
  5. Toast the buns on the grill for ten to twenty seconds, or until they are golden brown.
  6. Using the bottom bun and a liberal amount of gribiche, construct sandwiches, beginning with the bottom bun. The next step is to accompany the grilled kanpachi with lettuce, tomato slices, and an additional hefty dollop of gribiche. To finish, add the top bun.

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