While grilling hot dogs or hamburgers is a simple task, cooking seafood outdoors is a more difficult proposition. Seafood is more delicate than other cuts of meat, so it can be easy to overcook it. However, seafood also responds well to high temperature cooking, which makes it also uniquely suited for grilling.
1. Never forget to oil and clean the grill before beginning.
While hamburgers and chicken may be forgiving of an unclean grill, seafood requires some basic prep work. Always start with a grill that has been cleaned thoroughly. Then carefully oil the grill using a paper towel and a pair of tongs before you add your seafood to the grill.
2. Add some oil to your seafood as well.
If you’re grilling fish or another seafood that has not been marinated, lightly oiling the seafood can help prevent sticking. When picking an oil, choose one with a high smoke point, such as olive or grape seed oil. You don’t need to over apply the oil either, just use a pastry brush to apply a very thin coating before you place your seafood on the grill.
3. Skip conventional wisdom and grill fish with the skin side up.
Look in most cookbooks and the instructions will suggest that you start with the skin of the fish against the grill. While some cooks may have success with this method, you may find that you’ll achieve better results if you disregard this advice.
By applying the fish to the grill with the skin side up, you give the fish a chance to develop an excellent crust. Plus, when it comes time to turn the fish, the uncooked skin paired with the bottom crust will add greater stability.
4. Don’t be afraid to wrap delicate cuts of fish.
Delicate or thin pieces of fish can be difficult to grill for beginners. To give yourself the best chance of success, don’t be afraid to wrap fish with grape leaves or corn husks before grilling. Unlike foil, the leaves will allow more of the smoky flavor to penetrate the seafood. Of course, grilling your fish on a cedar plank is also an option.
5. Make kabobs out of smaller pieces of seafood.
Small shrimp and scallops are delicious grilled but are difficult to maneuver when grilling. Kabobs allow you to easily grill these delectable bite-size pieces of seafood without worry.
When making kabobs, don’t be afraid to experiment with different marinades, vegetables, meat and seafood combinations. Just be sure to practice good food safety, and marinate your kabobs in the refrigerator before grilling.
Grilling seafood can be more intimidating than cooking standard hamburgers and hot dogs, but the taste of an excellently grilled piece of fish is worth the effort. For best results, start small with some kabobs or a thick piece of salmon. As you gain confidence in your own grilling techniques, you can progress to trickier recipes.