It's not just shrimp on the barbie, mate. Most types of seafood benefit from the quick cooking and smoky flavor of grilling. Plus, cleanup is easy, and since you're cooking outside, there's no fishy smell to linger in the house.

Some Fish for the Grill

Here are just some of the firm-flesh fish that take well to the grill. Pictured here are red snapper, swordfish, halibut fillet and halibut steak, cod fish, sea bass, tilapia, catfish, and salmon fillet and salmon steak.

Seafood for the grill
Photo by Meredith

How To Choose the Best Fish for Grilling

The best fish fillets or steaks for grilling are at least 1-inch thick. The fish should appear unblemished, the flesh firm, and the smell fresh and briny like the sea. If you can, grill fish the same day you buy it. And always keep fish cold and in the fridge before grilling. For more, check out How to Pick Out Fresh Fish at the Market.

Quick Tips for Grilling Fish

When fish cooks on a grill, it loses moisture fast -- faster than most meats. And over an open grill, the juice drips straight onto sizzling coals. To preserve moisture, coat the fish with oil, which will seal some of the moisture inside. And follow these steps:

  • Designate a cool area on the grill. Pile hot coals on just one side of the grill.
  • Start with clean grill grates.
  • Use tongs to rub the grate with a cloth or paper towel coated with vegetable oil.
  • For firm fleshed fish like salmon, halibut, and tuna steaks: brush the fish with vegetable oil and season with salt.
  • Most fish can grill directly on the grate, at high heat.
  • Flip as soon as the fish is cooked at least ½ way through.
  • For every 1-inch of thickness, expect about 10 minutes of cooking time (over medium-hot coals).
  • Wrap thin fillets or delicate fish in cornhusks, banana leaves, grape leaves, or aluminum foil -- or place the fish on top of the foil. Place parchment paper between fish and foil to help prevent sticking.

VIDEO: How to Grill Fish

Grilled Salmon

Cook salmon skin-side down, without disturbing it for 3 to 5 minutes. Then gently turn it over with a wide metal spatula. It's done when it easily flakes apart with a fork.

To grill fish, Chef John recommends high-heat cooking on thick, wide cast-iron grates -- the fish won't stick as much and comes away with beautiful grill marks.

This grilled salmon recipe features a warm bacon and fresh corn relish. Watch the video for smart tips on grilling salmon and determining doneness.

Grilled Tuna

Tuna is a great choice for quick, high-heat grilling. For rare or medium-rare tuna, sear it quickly over high heat for a couple minutes on each side, then move the fish to a cooler part of the grill until it's done to your liking.

Simply Grilled Tuna
Simply Grilled Tuna | Photo by Meredith

Grilled Trout

Herbs and marinades add a nice burst of flavor to wild or farm-raised trout. Do any flavor-infusing in the fridge.

Grilled Trout
Photo by Meredith

This fast grilled sea bass features an explosively flavorful Asian chili and lime sauce. Simply brush the fish fillets with a little oil and season with salt and give them a few minutes on the hot grill. Watch Chef John in action:

Shrimp, Prawns, and Shellfish

Prawns, shrimp, scallops, and small pieces of fish work nicely on kabobs, which can be marinated -- or not -- and cooked directly on the grill. Keep a close eye on the cooking process -- seafood finishes in a hurry.

Spicy Grilled Shrimp
Spicy Grilled Shrimp | Photo by KGora

Bivalves on the Barbeque

Oysters and scallops are easy to prepare on the grill -- no shucking required!

Grilled Scallops
Grilled Scallops | Photo by Meredith
| Credit: Meredith

See our complete collection of Grilled Seafood Recipes.

More Grilling Times and Tips