It’s the middle of summer and, to me, that means ‘tis the season for campouts, fishing trips…and, of course, barbecuing. When people ask for fish cooking suggestions, I always recommend the grill.??You just can’t beat that smoky taste you get with a barbecue and food cooked on a grill tends to be a lot more healthy for you since much of the fat burns off or drips into the fire (kinda like the George Foreman Grill only better). To make perfecto fish every time, you need to know a little more about grills. So, here’s a quick glance at BBQ 101.
It just doesn’t get any easier than cooking fish on a gas grill. Push a button. PRESTO! You’ve got fire. Slap a slab of fish on the wire rack and you’re in business. There are a couple inherent problems associated with fish done this way, however.??One is the fish can get too dry (overcooked). To keep that from happening, cook your fish on low heat and put it on the upper rack. You can also make a tinfoil bath tub for your fillets and fill it with marinade. Fillets cooked in teriyaki, soy, Italian dressing, garlic butter or red wine come out moist and tender…yum!
Gas grills also lack in the smoke department. Ceramic coals just don’t provide the smoky flavor that charcoal does. So, you can buy a stainless pan and fill it with smoker chips and place it near your flame to add some extra smoke.
This type of barbecue is extremely versatile and just about every backyard has a Webber or something similar. When done properly, fish cooked on one of these babies will be smoky succulent and oh, so good.??No grill is perfect, however, and you don’t have as precise heat control with a charcoal grill as you would with a gas-powered model — and that can lead to overcooking.
To achieve best results, use as few briquettes as you can and spread them evenly along the bottom of the grill.??What you’re trying to achieve here is low heat and lots of smoke. Wait until the charcoal gets gray in color and you’re ready to cook. Fish done this way can take quite a while — up to an hour depending on the size of the fillets of steaks — so plan your other dishes accordingly.
When I cook fish on the ol’ Webber, I’ll usually just slap it onto a piece of tinfoil and let ‘er rip. For a more aesthetically-pleasing fillet, cook with the skin side up for the first several minutes to get some nice grill lines burned into the top of the fish. Before it gets too flaky or burned, flip the fish back over (skin side down) onto the foil and cook until it’s done.
If you’ve got one of those Little Chief (Or Big Chief) style electric smokers stashed out in the garage, break it out — with these things, you can cook up some fish that will rival any barbecue.??These devices are nothing more than an aluminum box with 3-4 tiers of wire racks on the inside and a low temperature heating element in the bottom. Think of them more as low heat ovens.
I like to put a (completely defrosted) salmon fillet on the top or second highest rack and fill the chip pan with alder wood chips. The heating element will slowly burn the chips — and cook your fish.
For a faint smoky flavor, go with one pan of chips.?? Two pans will give your fish a really nice taste as well as a pleasant smoky color. Deepening on the weather and thickness of the fish, your dinner should be done in 35 minutes to one hour.??This is now my favorite way to cook fish in the summer — it always comes out moist because of the low heat and the smoke flavor is to die for. Bon Appetit!