• how to bbq salmon

    How to BBQ salmon

When it comes to barbecuing, salmon might not be the first thing that pops into your mind. But it’s a culinary delight that deserves its time in the spotlight. Grilled salmon not only boasts a deliciously smoky flavor but also retains its rich, flaky texture. Perfect for those looking for a healthy and mouth-watering treat, BBQ salmon can be the star of any summer cookout. Let’s dive into the art of grilling salmon to perfection.

Selecting the Right Salmon

Freshness is Key: Always opt for fresh salmon over frozen. Look for bright-colored flesh and a clean, ocean-like aroma. Avoid fish that smells overly fishy or has a slimy texture.

Type of Salmon: While there are several salmon varieties – including King, Sockeye, and Coho – any of them can be great for the BBQ. Each offers a slightly different flavor profile and fat content. Personal preference plays a role, but a thicker cut often grills better.

Preparing the Salmon

Marinating: Although salmon is flavorful on its own, a good marinade can elevate its taste. A simple marinade might include lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and herbs. Ideally, marinate the salmon for 30 minutes to 2 hours in the fridge.

Dry Rub: If you’re not marinating, consider a dry rub. Combine spices like paprika, brown sugar, salt, black pepper, and dill for a flavorful crust.

Preheat the Grill

A hot grill ensures the salmon doesn’t stick. If you’re using a charcoal grill, make sure the coals are ash-covered. For gas grills, preheat to medium-high.

Grill Set-Up

Direct vs. Indirect Heat: Salmon cooks best on direct heat. However, if your fillets are especially thick, you might start on direct heat and move to indirect to avoid burning the outside while ensuring the inside cooks.

Skin-on vs. Skin-off: Grilling skin-on helps retain moisture and prevents sticking. Place the salmon skin-side down first. It’ll provide a safety net, preventing the fish from flaking apart.

Grilling the Salmon

Place your salmon on the grill. For most fillets, this means 4-6 minutes per side, but thicker cuts might require more time. The salmon should have a slightly charred exterior while retaining a moist interior. The internal temperature should reach 145°F (63°C).

Removing and Resting

Once cooked, gently remove the salmon. Using a wide spatula helps. Allow it to rest for a few minutes. This ensures the juices redistribute, making for a moist bite every time.

Serving Suggestions

The beauty of BBQ salmon is its versatility. From tropical salsas to earthy pilafs, there’s an array of sides and condiments that can elevate your BBQ salmon experience. Experiment with these suggestions, and you might just find a new favorite pairing.

Citrus-Herb Butter: Melt unsalted butter and mix with finely grated lemon or orange zest, minced fresh dill, and a hint of garlic. Drizzle over the grilled salmon to provide a burst of freshness.

Mango Salsa: A tropical twist! Dice mangoes, red onions, jalapeños, and mix with chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt. The fruity heat works wonders with the salmon’s smokiness.

Couscous Salad: Toss cooked couscous with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, olives, and a lemon-olive oil dressing. This light, Mediterranean-inspired side complements the salmon’s richness.

Cucumber-Dill Yogurt Sauce: Mix Greek yogurt with diced cucumbers, fresh dill, lemon juice, and minced garlic. This cold sauce brings a tangy contrast to warm, grilled salmon.

Roasted Asparagus: Toss fresh asparagus in olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic. Roast until tender. The earthy flavors balance well with the salmon.

Quinoa and Arugula Salad: A mix of cooked quinoa, fresh arugula, toasted pine nuts, dried cranberries, and goat cheese with a lemon vinaigrette. The nutty and peppery notes highlight the salmon’s taste.

Grilled Lemon: Place halved lemons on the grill until they’re slightly charred. The smoky citrus squeeze enhances the grilled salmon’s flavor.

Avocado Crema: Blend ripe avocados, Greek yogurt, lime juice, cilantro, and a pinch of salt until smooth. This creamy texture and flavor pairs beautifully with grilled salmon.

Potato and Dill Salad: Boiled baby potatoes mixed with a creamy dressing of mayo, mustard, fresh dill, and chopped onions. The herb-infused creamy texture contrasts and complements the fish.

Grilled Corn on the Cob: Brush corn with a mixture of melted butter, chili powder, and lime juice. Grill until slightly charred. The sweet, smoky corn kernels offer a delightful texture against the flakiness of salmon.

Pickled Red Onions: Thinly slice red onions and soak in a mixture of apple cider vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt. The tangy, sweet crunch adds another dimension to the dish.

Steamed Green Beans with Almond Slivers: Lightly steamed green beans tossed with toasted almond slivers and a touch of lemon juice offer a crunchy and nutty complement.

Wild Rice Pilaf: Cooked wild rice mixed with sautéed mushrooms, garlic, and fresh herbs. Its earthy flavors resonate well with the salmon.

Garlic Spinach: Sauté spinach in olive oil with loads of minced garlic. The simplicity of this dish makes it a staple alongside grilled salmon.

Honey Mustard Glaze: Mix equal parts of honey and Dijon mustard with a splash of soy sauce. Brush this onto the salmon during the last few minutes of grilling or serve on the side for dipping.

Tips for Perfect BBQ Salmon Every Time

Oil the Grill: Before placing the salmon, brush the grill with a bit of oil. This reduces the chance of sticking.

Check for Doneness: The salmon should flake easily with a fork when it’s done. Ensure it’s uniformly pink in the middle.

Use Cedar Planks: For an added smoky flavor and protection from direct heat, consider using cedar planks. Soak them in water for a couple of hours, place the salmon on top, and then put them on the grill. The wood imparts a unique flavor that’s simply irresistible.

In conclusion, BBQ salmon is a delightful dish that’s both delicious and nutritious. By selecting the best cut, marinating or seasoning well, and following these grilling tips, you’ll master the art of BBQ salmon in no time. So, the next time you light up the grill, don’t just stick to steaks and burgers – give salmon a shot, and revel in the compliments that are sure to follow!

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