With summer about to kick-off and people firing up their grills across the country, it’s a great time to think about improving your grilling skills, especially when it comes to seafood. Grilling seafood has many benefits over other meats because it grills faster, is relatively healthier (not always, but most of the time) and is a fun alternative to burgers and chicken. Here are a handful of tips to help you grill seafood as good as Bobby Flay himself.
- Tip #1: Marinate for at least 30 minutes: Seafood is very porous and with the proper marinade and making sure you let it soak long enough, you can take an ordinary scallop from ho-hum to gourmet. Marinade your seafood for at the least 30 minutes in the fridge (never more than 2 hours). There are several seafood marinade recipes available on our top-rated Seafood Market sites, so be sure to poke around and see what looks good.
- Tip #2: Medium-high heat is best: Except for fish fillets, which are better suited at medium-low heat since they can be easy to overcook. But as a general rule of thumb, stick with medium-high heat for all other seafood. Also, when cooking shellfish like clams or oysters, place them in the hottest area of the grill. When they’re done their shells will split open. Throw out any of the shellfish that doesn’t open after 5 minutes of being on the grill.
- Tip #3: Clean, then oil, those grates: A lot of seafood can be grilled directly on the grates themselves (notably firmer fish like Tuna, Salmon and Shark), but before doing so, make sure your grates are sparkly clean, as this is crucial in making sure your food turns out. The best way to clean your grates is to brush them after the grill gets hot. After cleaning the grates, your next step is to brush oil onto the grates. Vegetable oil works best.
- Tip #4: The 10 minute rule: An easy way to calculate how long you should grill a piece of fish is to go by how thick it is. For every 1” of thickness, you should add 10 minutes of cooking time. For example, if your fillet is two inches thick, you should grill the fish for approximately 20 minutes. Also, never flip your fillet more than once. If you keep flipping back and forth the fish will fall apart.
- Tip #5: Get a hinged wire basket: A great way to grill a whole fish is by using a grilling hinged wire basket, which you can buy at any cooking store. These baskets are particularly helpful when grilling more tender fish, like Perch, Snapper, Catfish or Flounder. And remember, grilling baskets also work great for skewered seafood, such as skewers of shrimp or scallops.
- Tip #6: Coat fish in olive oil: Another easy way to ensure your grilling experience is a success, is to coat your fillet with olive oil beforehand. This prevents the fish from sticking to the grill if you’re placing the fish directly on the grate. And to tell when your fillet is done (just to be sure), stick a metal skewer into the thickest part of the fillet. It should go in with minimal resistance and come out warm.
- Tip #7: Jumbo shrimp work best: For all of you grilled shrimp lovers out there, remember the bigger the shrimp is, the better, since they‘re easy to flip with tongs and are less likely to fall through the grate. Shrimp cook very fast and should be done in 5-7 minutes, flipping once midway through. Also, wooden/bamboo skewers are recommended.
Whether you’re firing up the charcoal grill to smoke Salmon with a plank of Alderwood, or cooking up a variety of fillets for family and friends, remember that grilled seafood is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Experiment, indulge and enjoy!
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