BBQ aficionados can treat themselves to the healthiest and tastiest foods possible with the best grilled salmon recipes. The really cool thing is that you can grill salmon very quickly and have it ready on the table in little time.
Before moving on to the recipes, you should keep one trick in mind for grilling success each and every time with salmon. Due to its delicate nature, salmon can be a little difficult to master. One simple trick can make proceedings much easier for you.
You should cook salmon with its skin on with the skin side facing upwards.
In the raw states, the fillets won’t flake and disintegrate like they do when grilled. So the first step is to grill the skinless side first. Cook just enough to get faint grill marks. You can then grill the fish completely by flipping it over carefully and continuing to cook it till it’s done.
The secret to this trick is that the skin keeps the fillet together and prevents it from falling apart and flaking – a problem commonly encountered by budding grill chefs.
Another trick is to oil the grill and salmon well to minimize sticking. Although a little sticking is inevitable, it will be well under control and it won’t make a complete mess out your precious salmon. So you should be careful while flipping the fillet over. Ensure that you scoop up the fillet gently while turning it over.
There is another neat trick for grilling intact salmon. Aspiring grill chefs can’t afford to miss this one. It’s mentioned in the recipes below.
Marinated Grilled Salmon
There are many different marinades that you can try out to infuse a delectable taste to your salmon. Here are some of the best marinades that you can possibly find.
You should try out all of these marinade recipes since each one is delightful in its own special way.
- 3 pounds of salmon with the skin on
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- ¾ cup soy sauce
Basic Teriyaki Marinade
- 2 – 4 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4 -5 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1-inch piece of ginger root (grated)
- 1 cup soy sauce
Teriyaki Marinade (with Mirin)
- ¼ cup mirin (or ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar)
- ½ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup minced green onions
- 2 tablespoons ginger (freshly minced)
- 1 pinch chili pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ½ cup sake
- 2 tablespoons ginger (freshly ground)
- ½ cup mirin
- ¼ cup white sugar
- 1 pinch red chili pepper flakes
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
1) First pick the marinade of your choice. Mix specified amounts of ingredients as mentioned above in a bowl and stir. If sugar is included make sure that it dissolves completely.
2) You can now marinate the salmon fillets. Cut out fillets up to two inches wide. Put all ingredients in a big casserole dish. You can even use a plate, but make sure it has sides so that the liquid does not overflow. Coat both sides of salmon fillets with marinade. Place these fillets in the marinade liquid-filled dish with the skinless side down.
If you are looking to marinade quickly, then 20 minutes is the minimum time. However, to get the full flavor, you should marinade for around 2 hours. Keep all ingredients in the refrigerator during marination. Make sure that you turn each fillet on the other side halfway through the marination.
After 2 hours have elapsed, take out the fillets from the refrigerator and discard the remaining liquid. Brush extra virgin olive oil on both sides of the fillets.
3) Prepare your grill by setting the thermostat to high heat.
Brush the cooking grates of the grill with olive oil. Take care since the grates will be hot. A safe way to brush is to use tongs and paper towel. Dip a folded paper towel piece in olive oil and holding it with tongs, rub it along the length of the grates.
4) Put marinaded salmon fillets on the grilling grates with the skinless side down. Closing the grill lid, allow the fillets to cook for 1 to 3 minutes on the skinless side depending on the thickness of the pieces.
Make sure that you don’t disturb the fillets from their position during this time otherwise, they might get ruined.
5) Turn over the fillets so that the skin side touches the grates. Use tongs to gently lift the fillets and flip them. A spatula may also be helpful for prying the fillets free from the grates without any flaking.
Make sure that you reduce the heat level to medium.
At this point, the skinless side should have some nice looking sear marks.
Close the lid and cook the fillet pieces for 2 to 5 minutes. The cooking time depends on the thickness of the fillets.
The surface of the fillets will look opaque when they are completely done.
While cooking, you should remember to cook the meat only as required. If you undercook the fillets, you can always put them back in the grill to finish them. However, if you overcook them, then you can’t do anything about it.
Easy Grilled Salmon
- 1 ½ pounds salmon
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup water
- Salt, lemon and pepper to taste
- Garlic powder to taste
1) First cut the salmon to 2 inch wide fillets. Season the fillets with salt, garlic powder and lemon pepper.
2) Mix vegetable oil, water, brown sugar and soy sauce in a bowl and whisk them well. keep stirring till all the sugar dissolves. Pour the marinade liquid in a resealable plastic bag and add in the fillets. Seal the bag and turn it around so that all fillets are fully drenched in the marinade. Keep it in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Although you can marinate for a shorter time period, the fillets will not absorb the full flavor.
You can also turn the plastic bag over when you are halfway through the marination.
3) Turn the thermostat of your pellet grill to medium heat. Oil the grill grates using a paper towel. To do this, dip a folded paper towel in oil and holding it with tongs, rub it along the grates.
4) Take the plastic bag out of the refrigerator and discard the remaining marinade. Put the fillets on the grill grates and roast them until the internal temperature reaches 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Use an instant-read thermometer to follow the temperature of the fillets.
Brined and Smoked Salmon
This recipe is a modernization of the ancient salmon cooking method that existed long before America was discovered. Wholesome and health-giving natural salmon was a staple for many natives back then.
The recipe gives moist and tender salmon meat with a delectable tinge of garlic, salty and sweet flavor for pure culinary ecstasy.
Anyone who does not avoid fish will be absolutely enamored with this delightfully smoked salmon recipe.
- 2 pounds salmon cut into 3 inch wide fillets (skin on but scales removed cut)
- ¼ pound salt
- ½ cup hot water
- 2 tablespoons black pepper (finely ground)
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
- ¼ cup white sugar (granulated)
- Few sheets of clean paper or 1 unused brown paper bag
- ½ gallon cold water
You can skip the sugar in case you are diabetic although only a small part of it makes its way into the meat.
Peach, apple and alder are some of the best wood pellets to smolder if you want the finest flavor in your smoked salmon. Mesquite and hickory may have a flavor that is too strong for the recipe. Be careful to avoid too much smoke otherwise, the smoke flavor may be overwhelming. Less smoke is better tolerated than too much smoke.
Do not brine the fish for more than 3 hours. Thin fillets should be brined for less time.
You also have the option of glazing your salmon. This is a fine choice if you will be serving the fillets straight. You can create the glaze just by crushing 2 tablespoons of brown sugar for each piece. This sugar will melt in the pellet grill to give a glossy texture and sweet flavor. You can also apply maple syrup if you like.
Feel the flesh of the salmon to make sure that pin bones are not there. If you find some pin bones, then hand the meat over a bowl edge and pull out the bones using needlenose pliers or tweezers. You don’t need to worry if you find some scales since you will take off the skin.
If you find a milky looking membrane of the salmon’s belly, then carve it out with a sharp filleting knife and discard it. This part becomes tough during cooking. Hence you should remove it.
You can now cut 3 inch wide fillets from the salmon meat.
2) Use food-grade containers for the brining process. It should have enough capacity to fully submerge the meat in the marinade. Do not use a container made from cast iron, copper or aluminum because they are all susceptible to corrosion by salt. Zipper bags make a good choice for this purpose.
Make the brine by starting out with half a cup of water in a measuring cup. Pour in salt of any kind till the water level rises to ¾ cup. The water will absorb about a quarter pound of salt no matter which variety you are using. So feel free to use any salt.
Into a clean container, pour in the salt mixture. The container should be big enough to hold over half a gallon of water. Pour in half a gallon of cold water. Throw in black pepper, garlic and sugar. Stir the mixture till all the sugar dissolves. Don’t worry about the pepper and garlic. They dissolve slowly.
Place the fish fillets (skin side up) in a pan and add enough brine so that it is fully submerged. Cover the pan with plastic wrap.
If you are using a zipper bag to brine the fish fillets, you can turn the bags around to ensure that all parts of the fish mix well with the brine. Keep the bag in a pan to catch leaking water.
4) Brining time depends on the fillet thickness. One inch fillet will take an hour while two-inch fillets will take 2 hours. Once the brining process is complete, discard the liquid and let the fillets drain completely. Rinse the fish to ensure that any excess salt on the surface is washed off. Pat the fillets dry using paper towels.
5) Cut pieces from the paper bag or sheets about the same size as each fillet. Keep a fillet on each paper piece with the skin side touching the paper. Don’t use parchment paper or foil for this purpose. The paper is being used to help remove the skin by adhering to it. Parchment or foil will not stick to the skin.
If you want to glaze the salmon pieces, you can do so now using brown sugar as described above or maple syrup. Keep the fillets on the grilling grates making sure that there is no contact between any piece.
6) Fire up your pellet grill to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Follow up the temperature of the salmon pieces using an instant-read thermometer. You will need to keep track of the temperature after about 30 minutes of smoking to ensure that the pieces are cooked sufficiently.
7) When the meat approaches cooking completion, drops of milky liquid will start oozing out on the surface of the fillets. This is the liquid protein albumin emanating from the muscle fibers. You can wipe it off without too many problems.
When the internal temperature goes to 135 degrees, you can remove the fish fillets from the smoker. Do not let the internal temperature exceed 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the thickness of the fillets, the cooking time can go up to one hour.
8) After you take out the fillets from the pellet grill, allow them to cool down for 15 minutes so that you can handle them easily.
Simply peel off the paper from each fish fillet so that the skin comes out with it. If you notice any dark brown flesh towards the skin side, scrape it off with a serrated sharp steak knife. It does not taste good.
While cooking salmon, you should note the hazards of very low temperature smoking. This is especially the case with Nova Scotia Lox, which is cooked at low temperatures. You should take great care while smoking at low temperatures.
The risk of contamination is very high for temperatures under 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You cannot fully eliminate all heat resistant spores, pathogens and certain parasites like tapeworms.
Please make sure that you read all FDA guidelines about cold-smoked fish.
Best Side Dishes for Grilled Salmon Recipes
You can turn the delicious smoked salmon snack into a full meal with the best sides for grilled salmon.
Butter Roasted Sweet Potatoes
This side dish is so easy to make and yet it is tasteful nearly to the point of decadence. The melt-in-your mouth flavor is almost heavenly. The ingredients are just minimal.
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes (2 large sweet potatoes will do)
- 4 tablespoons ghee, butter or coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
If you are allergic to dairy, you can use ghee. If you avoid dairy products, then coconut oil is also a good option for great flavor.
First place the rack in the middle of your oven. Set the thermostat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Peel off the skin from sweet potatoes and slice them into circular pieces about one inch thick.
Keep all the sweet potato pieces on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle the sweet potatoes liberally with coconut oil, ghee or unsalted butter. Sprinkle with salt as per your taste.
Toss the sweet potato well to coat them well.
Roast them on one side for 20 minutes. Using tongs flip them over and then roast them again for a further 20 minutes.
Perfecting the art of cooking salmon so that it does not flake off can take some time to master. But once you do it, there is no stopping you from crafting the most delightful salmon meals.
The recipes outlined above allow you to make the best grilled salmon recipes that taste sinfully good and are yet nutritious.