Grilling season is here. You've got your grill full of gas, you've stocked up on hamburgers, hot dogs, and steaks, and you're ready to go. But those hamburgers, hot dogs, and steaks are getting old fast. You'd like to try something else for a change. If you're looking to change up your usual grilling menu, why not try seafood? Fish makes a healthy meal, and grills up quite easily. Seafood does present some grilling challenges, however. These tips should help you on your way to grilling great seafood.
1) Make sure your grill is clean and oiled. Fish sticks to the grill very easily, so proper lubrication is essential. If you don't oil your grill, the fish will stick, and break apart when you try to remove it. Grab a wad of paper towels, or a rolled up kitchen towel in a pair of tongs. Dip the paper towels or kitchen towel into some vegetable oil, and rub the oil onto the grill. You can also spray the grill with cooking spray, just be sure the grill is off when you do this, or the spray could ignite, injuring you.
2) Use fresh fish if possible, since it is easier to work with than frozen fish. Each serving should be about 6-8 ounces for fillets or steaks, and 8-12 ounces for whole fish.
3) You can place fish directly on the grill, but if you do this, you should use a firm fleshed fish, like grouper, tuna, swordfish, or salmon. You can also buy grill baskets made for grilling seafood. These will help small pieces of fish from falling through the grill, and will help in grilling delicate fillets.
4) Cook the fish over medium-hot to hot heat. If your grill doesn't have a thermometer, then hold your hand about 5 inches above the heat. If you can hold your hand there for 2 seconds, the temperature is hot. If you can hold your hand 5 inches from the heat for 3-4 seconds, it is medium hot. If you're cooking whole fish, you'll need to have the temperature a bit lower, so the fish won't burn. You should plan on cooking the fish for about 10 minutes for every inch of thickness. The fish is done cooking when it is opaque, and begins to flake. It is better to undercook the fish a bit than overcooking it. You can always cook it some more if it is undercooked, but you can't uncook it if it is overcooked.
5) Marinades are a good way to add flavor and moisture to the fish before cooking. You only need to marinate fish for 30-60 minutes. If you marinate the fish for too long, the acids in the marinade will start to cook and break down the flesh. Lean fish should also be basted during cooking to keep the fish from drying out. Fattier fish, like tuna and salmon don't need basting, but you can baste them to add more flavor.
6) Shrimp, Scallops, and chunks of firm fleshed fish work well on skewers. Alternate chunks of seafood with chunks of vegetables on a skewer for great seafood kebobs. If you're using wooden skewers, be sure to soak them for 30 minutes before grilling to prevent them from burning on the grill.
It isn't hard to grill seafood, but it does take some practice. Follow these tips for grilling seafood, and expand your grilling repertoire. It's a great break from hamburgers, hot dogs, and steaks.
For more grilling tips and resources, visit Patio Grilling.