How to Grill Fish, the Top Tips from the Chef

Grill fish
Grilling fish Cover picture of the article.

is a chef, food photographer, cookbook author and blogger.
Here he shares recipes, answers cooking questions and helps with cooking.

Grilling fish requires a little knowledge and technique to prepare it successfully. I have summarised the most important tricks and tips here to ensure that your garden meal is a perfect success. Enjoy reading and good luck!

1. Grilling fish is easier with fillets!

Let’s start with the simple solution: grilling fish fillets is the best method and absolutely sure to succeed. In practice the following steps have proven to be successful:

I will show you how to remove the fish skin in an extra article. I like to remove the skin personally, because then there will be no scales on the plate. Let’s move on to the preparation of whole fish…

Frozen fish is only second choice for grilling. Freezing destroys the cell structure and the fish loses a lot of water. Fresh fish stays juicier!

Shopping tip from Chef Thomas Sixt
Salmon fillet on the grill
First tip: Fish fillets stuck on a skewer makes turning easy. © Thomas Sixt Food Photographer
Fish fillets prepared for grilling
Salmon and halibut fillets prepared on skewers.

Grill fish fillets stuck on a wooden skewer, turning is then a breeze!

Chef Thomas Sixt recommends
Halibut fillets when grilling
Even the tender halibut fillets can be prepared wonderfully.

Put the fish on the grill and let it cook, just turn it once!

Chef Thomas Sixt recommends

2. Grill fish whole successfully

For the preparation of fish as a whole, the following steps have proved successful:

Grill the fish whole
The whole fish is not so easy to grill. You need some tools and the preparation requires some patience and tact.

Whole fish is best grilled on a stick. We know this from the folk festival and fair!

Reminds you Chef Thomas Sixt

3. Perfect barbecue embers for grilling fish

Let us now come to the most important aspect of preparation: For best results you need a white grill embers. So the fire should have calmed down a bit before you put the fish on the grill. The fish cooks very quickly.

For your information and understanding I have included a video of the preparation of flaming salmon. With this method the salmon fillet is fixed on wooden boards and then cooked standing at a distance from the fire.

glowing, white charcoal, the ideal moment for grilling.
Glowing, white coals are ideal for grilling fish!

Fish cook from a temperature of 32 °C. Fire and high heat is only indirectly good. A good example is the flaming salmon. In this preparation the salmon fillets are fixed on a board and cooked at a distance from the fire.

Explains Chef Thomas Sixt

4. Marinades for grilling fish

On the subject of marinades I would like to write you some more tips:

Recipe for grill marinade, this is how meat is marinated deliciously for grill and pan.
1200I’m careful about marinating fish. I like it soft!

5. How long does it take to grill fish?

This is the most common question and unfortunately no one can seriously answer it using tables.

Every grill is different: The distance to the embers, the strength of the embers and the construction of the grill are decisive.

There’s a story to that: I had prepared sole on a fireplace grill in Ibiza and I was amazed, the sole was cooked in less than 3 minutes and I really had to hurry to get it on my plate. Here, direct heat from the grill embers and indirect heat from the heated stones on the sides had made a very fast grilling possible.

Statements about barbecue times are nonsense. Please stand by the fish barbecue carefully and watch exactly what happens.

Chef Thomas Sixt recommends
Fire bowl for grilling
My grill is in the cellar, I prefer to use the fire bowl and then enjoy the evening at the campfire later!

6. Frequently asked questions

I have summarised the most frequently asked questions about grilling fish in the cooking questions section.

7. Other grill recipes