Grill your best salmon ever.

By Chef Jackie F
Updated March 02, 2021
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There are many ways you can grill salmon: Grill it directly on grates, wrap it in foil packets, thread it onto skewers, and even grill it on a plank. Whichever method you choose to grill your salmon, here are five simple tips for getting the best results:

How to Buy and Prep Salmon

Grilled Salmon II
Credit: KGora

Always buy the freshest salmon (or any fish) for the best taste and remove the pin bones to make eating even easier. Learn more about how to pick the perfect fish in our Ultimate Salmon Buying Guide.

Prep the Grill

Sesame Grilled Salmon
Credit: Nicolette

Make sure your grill is preheated before you put your salmon on it. High heat will help caramelize the fish and add smoky flavor as well as make attractive grill marks. A hot grill will also make for quick cooking so your salmon doesn't dry out, and will prevent the fish from sticking to the grates.

To further ensure non-stick grilling, give your grates a good scraping with a grill brush to remove any debris from the last cookout, and finish it off with a light swipe of vegetable oil. See Top Tips for Grilling to brush up on your grilling know-how.

Skin On or Skin Off?

Grilled Salmon Steaks with Savory Blueberry Sauce
Credit: Meredith

Should you grill your salmon with the skin on or off? We say "on" because the skin keeps in moisture, adds flavor, and can act as a natural grill pan that prevents the flesh from breaking apart while cooking. Start grilling with the flesh side down, then flip the fish to grill the other side. When the salmon's done cooking, slide a wide metal spatula between the flesh and the skin to release the salmon from the grill. Or you can just go ahead and serve it crispy skin and all.

How Long Should You Grill Salmon?

Grilled Salmon Skewers
Credit: Meredith

A general rule of thumb is to grill for 6 to 8 minutes for every inch of fish. So, if your salmon fillet is one-inch thick, you should grill it for 3 to 4 minutes per side. You'll know it's done when the flesh turns opaque and easily flakes when pressed with a fork.

Check out all of our grilled salmon recipes.

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