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How to Grill Fish with Tyler Florence

Grilling fish can be daunting, but fear not! You can claim your title as “Grill Master” in no time by following these easy steps.

by Tyler Florence & Kira Akerstorm

Grilling is great for salmon, halibut, and swordfish

Cooking Tips:

1. Always start by choosing the freshest possible fish. How to ensure that the fish is fresh? Ask if you can smell it; the fish should smell like the ocean, and not fishy at all. When touched, the fillet should feel firm and bouncy, and old fish will be mushy. If buying a whole fish, be bold and look them in the eye; they should be clear and bright. If the eyes have developed a grey film over them; don’t waste your money.

2. For grilling fillets, pick fish with firm flesh, like salmon, halibut, or swordfish. More delicate fish can be grilled whole, like sardines, mackerel, snapper, and cod. Try to choose local and sustainable fish, whenever possible.

3. The next step is to make sure the fish has been deboned. If you don’t have kitchen tweezers meant for removing fish bones, ask your fishmonger to do this for you. If grilling whole fish, make sure you ask your fishmonger to scale and gut the fish for you.

Prepare the fish for grilling

4. Skin on or skin off? You can do it either way. Skin-on fillets are a little easier to grill since the skin helps the flesh to keep intact.

5. Always start off with a clean grill, this will prevent the fish from sticking. After giving your grill a good scrub, be sure to oil (vegetable oil is the best) the grill grates to prevent further sticking. Giving the fish a good oil rub will also help. Lastly, preheat your grill to high.

6. You can start by grilling the fish on either side; to ensure beautiful grill marks on the flesh side, start cooking on that side. If extra crispy skin is the goal, start grilling on the skin side.

7. You’ll know when to flip the fish when it releases easily. You can check the doneness with the help of a thermometer, or try this trick with a paring knife. Stick the knife in the middle of the fish, and hold it there for a few seconds. If it comes out warm, your fish is done. Also, try applying gentle pressure with your finger. The fish should easily flake when done.

8. Let the fish rest, uncovered, for a few minutes before enjoying. This way the fish will be more moist.

Let the fish rest before serving

Simple Grilled Salmon

15 min

total time

5 min

active time


serving size

For the Salmon

  • 4 5 oz. pieces Skin-Off Salmon
  • 2 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt

Optional for Serving

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Lemon
  • Chives
  • Parsley


1. Prep Salmon

Preheat your grill to high.

Rinse 4 5 oz. pieces of salmon under cold running water, and pat dry with paper towels. Coat with 2 Tbsp. olive oil and season with 1 tsp. salt.

2. Grill On Each Side

Place fillets on a clean, oiled and hot grill and cook for 5 minutes, or until the fish releases from the grates. Flip the fish with a spatula and cook for 5 more minutes or until cooked to desired doneness (we like our salmon still a little pink in the middle, the inner temperature between 108-115F).

3. Plate & Serve

Place salmon on a plate or platter and let rest for 2 minutes. Garnish with olive oil, lemon, chives, and parsley if desired. Serve with your favorite side and sauce!

Looking for sides and sauces to pair your grilled fish with? Check out this easy and delicious recipe for salsa verde and zucchini.

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