Now that summer is almost in full swing, nothing beats grilling out. With less mess and the joy of dining al fresco, we’re taking advantage of every opportunity we have to fire up the grill — and that includes seafood night.
Grilling seafood is a great, quick way to impart flavor and switch up your preparation method. However, since seafood is more delicate than your typical grilling meats, like chicken or steak, you do need to take certain precautions.
Here are our five best tips to successfully grill seafood:
Keep the skin on fish
Grilling fish with the skin on can help it stay together a little better and minimize your risk of it sticking or falling apart. Other tips to keep fish from sticking when you’re grilling directly on the grates: make sure your grill is fully cleaned before beginning and use vegetable oil either on the fish or directly rubbed on the grate prior to firing up the grill.
Cook on a plank
If you’re concerned about fish and other seafood sticking to the grill grates, you can eliminate the risk altogether by cooking on a plank. Wooden planks like cedar can even add some flavor to your fish — just remember to soak the wood for two hours before placing it on the grill. Plank grilling is also great for containing smaller seafood, like shrimp. Of course, you can always make foil packets to contain your seafood (and this is a great way to also cook vegetables and add a marinade), but this essentially steams the seafood instead of grills it. While that isn’t a bad thing, it does take away some of the natural grill flavor.
Seafood and vegetable skewers are a delicious and simple way to grill seafood. Combine your favorite hearty vegetables — like sliced onions, bell pepper, portobello mushrooms, zucchini and broccoli — and alternate with chunks of fish, shrimp or scallops. Brush with your favorite marinade and use tongs to turn on the grill. Seafood and vegetable skewers only take a few minutes to cook, but are easily served and make for an impressive menu item for guests.
Use a meat thermometer
No one likes overcooked seafood, even when it’s grilled. Use a meat thermometer to cook to the optimal temperature to take the guess work out of the process. Of course, since king crab legs come fully cooked, you don’t need to worry about making sure they’re cooked all the way through. Instead, just place directly on the grill grates and warm each side for two minutes.
Use indirect heat
Seafood is delicate and will cook quickly, so indirect heat is best for avoiding burns and scorches. A general rule for fish is to cook for ten minutes for every inch of thickness, but a meat thermometer can help make sure you’re on the right track.
Grilled seafood is the perfect summer meal. Everyone else can keep their burgers and hot dogs — we’ll take grilled cedar plank salmon and shrimp kebabs any day.