Shrimp on the Barbie


Today we are talking all things seafood on the grill. Those delicate morsels, that flaky fish flesh; for some, it’s hard to think of a more delicious thing to eat. And, as all true fish-lovers know, any time of year is great for a fresh catch.


Taking filets, shellfish, or whole fish to the grill, however, can be a tricky task. Fish and seafood can be delicate, have unforgiving cooking times and be unpredictable under different cooking conditions. Let’s take a look at some seafood options and the best way for them to be prepared in the grill or smoker.


  • “Steak-like” fish

Meaty, dense fish cuts stand up well to grilling. We are talking about species such as tuna, snapper, swordfish, salmon, mahi-mahi, and halibut. These “meaty” fish varieties will stand up to the open flame of your grill. They will also be more likely to keep their shape, which will help you avoid dropping valuable chunks of your dinner into your grill.

It is a good idea to use a hot fire, so take your time and make sure you have a heat of about 400 degrees before you begin. Dry your fish off with some paper towels and coat it in olive oil, or a neutral oil if you prefer.

Lemon is a valuable addition to any fish meal, but not as a marinade. Citric acid can toughen the meat of any fish, so use it as a last-minute flavor addition. What is good for preparing these kinds of fish are oil, aromatics like garlic, onions, shallots, etc., and herbs and spices.


  • Tender fish

Here we are thinking of fish like tilapia, branzino, sea bass, and trout. These kinds of fish are liable to fall apart on the grill and become friends with your charcoal. The best way to combat this is to use a fish-grilling basket, to wrap your filets in foil, or to use a cedar plank.

You will still be able to use high heat on your grill and achieve a short cooking time.


Another option is to smoke your fish. You can use any method to keep the flesh together. In this case, however, you will be using indirect heat. If you get your smoker to about 175 to 200 degrees, you will be able to finish most cuts in about 3 hours. And the taste of smoked fish, a method that preserves it, will be ready for you to eat all week.


  • Shellfish and Crustaceans

With shellfish, most of them will pop open on a hot grill. You can use a basket or a foil barrier, but do not wrap them into a packet. Oysters, clams, and mussels will pop open, to delicious effect, through the heat exposure.

Oysters are also a perfect candidate for smoking. 90 minutes at around 150 degrees will do you nicely.


For crustaceans, grab a dry rub for seasoning. Most lobsters, crabs, and crawfish will be large enough to face the grill. A high-heat, short-cooking time will be your best bet.


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