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Grilling Salmon: This Is How It Works

by Benedikt Ernst If you are looking for a change from bratwurst and pork steaks to barbecue fun in the summer, you will find it with salmon. The popular sea fish is ideal for cooking on charcoal and gets a tempting smoky aroma. You only have to pay attention to a few things to ensure that the preparation is optimal.

Grill fish properly

Grilled salmon with butterfly cut
Grilled salmon with butterfly cut© a9photo

There are some differences in the grilling of fish over the grilling meat. The meat of fish roughly is due to the water adapted muscle structure less firm than in land animals. This not only manifests itself in shorter cooking times, but also enables the food to be marinated more quickly. One problem with grilling fish is removing it from the grill rack without letting the fish disintegrate. If you put the fish on the grill at high heat, a thin crust immediately forms on the surface, which makes it easier to remove. The coals may still glow red. To further reduce the risk of sticking, the fish should only be turned once. In general, it is advisable to oil the fish before grilling. Less oil can be used for fatty fish like salmon . Depending on the thickness of the fillets or steaks, the cooking time is around two to four minutes on each side.

Salmon fillets and salmon steaks

Basically, both fillets and steaks with a butterfly cut can be prepared on the grill. When steak cooking time is usually slightly longer than the fillet. The exact duration depends on the thickness and temperature of the embers. In any case, brush the salmon with oil or a previously prepared marinade before placing it on the wire rack. When the salmon can be easily lifted off the grill, it’s time to turn it over. First place salmon fillets on the grill with the skin side up. When the meat is done after turning, you can use a grill spatula to move it between the skin and the meat and simply remove the salmon from the grill.

Useful accessories for grilling salmon

Special accessories for grilling salmon are not a must, but they can be very helpful. In so-called fish baskets or fish tongs, you can fix your food between two grids and turn it easily and safely with the help of a handle. You can also flavor the salmon pleasantly by wedging lemon wedges and fresh herbs between the grate and the fish. Grill pans with small recesses in the bottom are also suitable for perfuming the fish with fresh herbs or cooking chopped vegetables next to the fish that would otherwise fall through the bars.

For professionals: cedar salmon

The cedar wood smoke gives the salmon a strong aroma
The cedar wood smoke gives the salmon a strong aroma© Olga Lyubkina

Grilling on cedar wood is a particularly elegant and tasty way to prepare salmon fillet with the grill. For this you need a grill with a lid. Soak a cedar board about two inches thick in salt water for an hour. Place the board on the hot grill and close the lid until smoke starts to develop after about 10 minutes. Now turn the board over and place the seasoned salmon fillets on top. With a little brown sugar on the salmon fillet, you get a delicate, caramelized crust. After about 20 minutes with the grill closed, you get a tender salmon fillet with delicious smoky notes, without any baking on the grill.

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