The Best Grilled Salmon Recipe: Simple and Delicious

If you’re a seafood lover looking to elevate your culinary skills, you’re in the right place. This comprehensive article will walk you through step-by-step instructions on creating a mouthwatering Grilled Salmon Recipe that will leave your taste buds craving for more. Whether grilling for a special occasion or simply craving a healthy and delicious meal, this grilled salmon will impress your family and friends. So, let’s fire up the grill and dive into flavorsome salmon cuisine.

The Perfect Marinade for Grilled Salmon

When grilling salmon, the marinade is the key to taking it from ordinary to extraordinary. To create this magical marinade, you’ll need a few simple ingredients: soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, and garlic. The soy sauce adds a savory and salty element, while the brown sugar brings a touch of sweetness. The lemon juice brightens the flavors’ tanginess, and the garlic adds a delicious hint of aromatic goodness.

To make the marinade, combine these ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together until well blended. Then, place your salmon fillets in a shallow dish and pour the marinade over them, ensuring each piece is evenly coated. Allow the salmon to marinate for at least 30 minutes to an hour, but if you have more time, let it sit in the fridge for even longer to allow the flavors to infuse into the fish fully.

the perfect marinade for grilled salmon

Tips for Choosing and Preparing Fresh Salmon

  1. Choose wild-caught salmon: Opt for wild-caught varieties over farm-raised ones. Wild-caught salmon tends to have a richer flavor and a firmer texture.
  2. Look for vibrant color: Fresh salmon should have a vibrant pink or red color. Avoid dull or faded fillets, as this could indicate the fish is not as fresh.
  3. Check for firmness: Press gently on the flesh of the salmon fillet to check for firmness. The fish should bounce back when pressed and not leave a lasting indentation.
  4. Smell it: Give the salmon a sniff – it should have a fresh, clean aroma. The fish may be past its prime if you detect strong, fishy odors.
  5. Remove pin bones: After purchasing fresh salmon, run your fingers along the fillet to feel for small pin bones. Use tweezers or fish pliers to remove them before cooking.
  6. Season lightly: Salmon has a delicate flavor that heavy seasonings can easily overwhelm. Please keep it simple with salt, pepper, and maybe some lemon juice or herbs to enhance the fish’s natural taste.
  7. Preheat your grill: Before cooking the salmon, make sure your grill is preheated to medium-high heat. This ensures that the fish cooks evenly and develops a nice sear on the outside.
  8. Oil the grill grates: To prevent sticking, use tongs to rub oil-soaked paper towels on the grill grates before placing the salmon fillets on top.
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How to Know When Your Grilled Salmon is Cooked Perfectly

how to know when your grilled salmon is cooked perfectly

Firstly, pay attention to the color and texture of the fish. As salmon cooks, it will change from translucent to opaque. The flesh should also flake easily with a fork but retain moisture. Avoid cooking it until it becomes dry or falls apart completely.

Secondly, timing is key. A general rule of thumb is to cook salmon for about 4 to 6 minutes per half-inch thickness. However, this can vary depending on the heat of your grill and personal preference. Keep a close eye on the fish as it cooks and adjust the cooking time accordingly.

Another useful technique is to use an instant-read thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the salmon fillet, avoiding any bones if present. The internal temperature should read around 145°F (63°C) for perfectly cooked salmon.

Lastly, trust your instincts and experience. Over time, you’ll become familiar with how long it takes to cook your preferred level of doneness. Remember that residual heat will continue to cook the salmon even after you remove it from the grill, so consider removing it slightly undercooked and allowing it to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Delicious Side Dishes to Pair with Grilled Salmon

  1. Grilled Vegetables: Try grilling bell peppers, zucchini, asparagus, or corn on the cob for a vibrant and nutritious addition.
  2. Roasted Potatoes: Crispy roasted potatoes seasoned with herbs like rosemary or thyme go perfectly with grilled salmon. The combination of tender fish and crispy potatoes creates a delightful contrast in textures.
  3. Quinoa Salad: A refreshing quinoa salad packed with fresh veggies like cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and feta cheese is a great way to add lightness and tanginess to your meal.
  4. Creamy Coleslaw: Creamy coleslaw provides a cool and refreshing contrast to the warm grilled salmon. The crunchiness of the cabbage combined with a creamy dressing makes for a satisfying side dish.
  5. Citrus Fruit Salad: A citrus fruit salad made with segments of oranges, grapefruits, and mandarins adds brightness and acidity to balance out the richness of the salmon.
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Health Benefits of Eating Grilled Salmon

health benefits of eating grilled salmon

Here are some of the health benefits of eating grilled salmon:

  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Salmon is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, essential for brain and heart health, and reduces inflammation.
  2. Protein Powerhouse: Grilled salmon is an excellent source of high-quality protein essential for maintaining muscle mass and supporting optimal bodily functions.
  3. Rich in Vitamins and Minerals: Salmon is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin B12, vitamin D, selenium, potassium, and phosphorus.
  4. Heart Health: The omega-3 fatty acids found in grilled salmon have been shown to improve heart health by reducing inflammation and lowering triglyceride levels in the blood.
  5. Brain Boosting: The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA found in salmon are important for brain health and development.

Grilled Salmon Recipe

health benefits of eating grilled salmon
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 1-pound salmon fillets (skin-on)
  • Olive oil or avocado oil
  • Coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions

    1. Preheat your grill to 450-550 degrees Fahrenheit.
    2. Start by patting down the salmon fillets with a dry paper towel to remove any excess moisture. This will help prevent sticking.
    3. Drizzle olive oil or avocado oil generously over the salmon, rubbing it in to coat all sides. This will add flavor and ensure easy release from the grill.
    4. Season the salmon with coarse salt and fresh cracked black pepper on both sides. Season high, about a foot away from the fish, to ensure even seasoning.
    5. Optional step: If you prefer crispy skin, leave the skin on and grill the salmon skin side down. Otherwise, you can remove the skin later.
    6. Clean the grill grates using a brush to remove any old food residue. A clean grill will prevent sticking.
    7. To ensure a non-stick surface, use a large sheet of crumpled aluminum foil or an oiled towel to brush the top of the grill grates with oil.
    8. Place the salmon fillets on the grill, skin side up (or flesh side down if you prefer skinless), at a 45-degree angle to get beautiful grill marks.
    9. Close the grill door to trap heat and moisture, helping to keep the salmon moist and flavorful. Cook for 3.5-4 minutes.
    10. After this time, check the skin-on salmon by gently tugging it with tongs. If it releases easily, it's ready to be flipped. Use tongs and a spatula to flip the salmon. If you want to remove the skin, gently pull it off with tongs while it's still hot.
    11. Close the grill door again and cook for another 2 minutes. The salmon should be cooked to medium or medium-well, with an internal temperature of around 125 degrees Fahrenheit (or 135-140 degrees if you prefer it more well done).
    12. Remove the salmon from the grill and let it rest for 3-4 minutes. During this time, the temperature will continue to rise slightly.

Notes

  1. You can grill the salmon on a soaked cedar plank if you want to try a different flavor. Soak the plank in cold water for 30 minutes, then grill the salmon on it between 400-450 degrees Fahrenheit for 13-16 minutes.
  2. Serve the grilled salmon as is or with a sauce of your choice. For a quick cilantro lime cream sauce, blend together full-fat sour cream, whole milk, vinegar, green onions, cilantro, garlic, avocado, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Adjust the flavors to your liking.
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