8 Essential Tips To Cook BBQ Fish: Do It Like A Pro

Tips To Cook BBQ Fish

Health is Wealth. To maintain good health, a person must follow a balanced diet. Protein is an essential element of a balanced diet. BBQ items, such as BBQ chicken, BBQ fish, and other things are also high in good nutritional values.

We all know fish is one of the most vital sources of protein. But not everyone is fond of regular fish curries, or fish dishes. BBQ Fish was introduced to bring an exceptional flavor to it and make it more appealing to others. It does not only enhance the taste of the fish but also presents a modern way of cooking and a different texture.  

Making BBQ fish is comparatively easier than making BBQ meat. But everything becomes a little easier with helpful tips and tricks. Regarding this, I will be sharing expert tips that will help you to balance out the ingredients to make the perfect BBQ Fish.  

8 Essential Tips To Make Perfect BBQ Fish: 

To make your journey to perfect BBQ fish smoother, I will now share 8 tips from my experience with you all. I hope these will help you out with any sort of trouble while barbecuing. So hang in there and keep on reading:

Tip 1- Choosing The Best Fish For BBQ: 

A summer BBQ is the best time to serve BBQ Fish to the guests.  BBQ Fish gives the fish a furnished crispy charred coating and adds smoky flavor to it. But choosing fish for BBQ can be tricky. Not all fish are suitable for BBQ Fish like meat. While selecting fish for BBQ, the following factors must be kept in mind: 

  • The fish must be firm and compressed enough so that it becomes easy to put it on the grill. 
  • One must confirm that the body of the fish is robust. 
  • If the fish body is soft and delicate, then it might hinder the process of BBQ Fish by falling through and flaking in the grill. 

In such cases, the best candidates for a BBQ Fish are tilapia, salmon, swordfish, halibut, monkfish, etc. But with proper caution and prep, it is possible to make BBQ out of most of the fish.

Tip 2- Prepare Your Grill Before You Get Into Cooking:

Preparation is an essential step in cooking. If you avoid this step or don’t pay much attention to it, your cooking result won’t be as good as those who prepare beforehand. It is one of the core formulas to get a perfect BBQ fish.

Now a question might arise in your mind: how can you prepare your grill before you start to cook your BBQ fish? To know the answer, keep on reading!

  • Firstly, set up your grill in your desired position, maintaining all the safety measures.
  • Then, make sure the grill you are going to use is clean enough.
  • After that, clean your fish properly after buying it from the market.
  • If you are a beginner, my advice is to get help from someone expert or experienced in this.
  • While cleaning, make sure you don’t peel off excess skin. Leave a bit of skin so that it doesn’t break apart after cooking.

Tip 3- Coat Melted Butter On Top Of The Fish To Keep Moisture:

If you are thinking of serving fish BBQ to your guests, you must think about how to cook it the right way. Eating on your own is something else, but you need to present the best when it comes to serving other people.

Fish can get quite sensitive while cooking. They tend to get dry quickly. Fish lose moisture even quicker than most meats. If you are cooking on an open grill, the moisture drips straight into the burning charcoal. As a result, your fish loses its juiciness.

To prevent your fish from getting all dried up and losing its lusciousness, you can take a few steps. They are as below:

  • Take a chunk of butter about 150gm, or as per your need.
  • Take some rosemary. 
  • Also, take a few pieces of garlic. 

Throw the ingredients in a pan together, and melt the butter with it. Then coat the fish with the melted butter with the hint of rosemary and garlic. This will not only enhance the taste of the fish but also help to retain the moisture. 

Tip 4- Marinate Your Fish For About 30 Minutes Before Cooking:

Here at this point, some people might agree, or some might disagree. As I am speaking from my experience, I believe marination takes your BBQ to a whole new level. It has many advantages. Such as:

  • Marination helps to infuse more flavors into your BBQ.
  • It enhances the taste a lot better.
  • Marination enables the sauces and spices to get through the food more effectively.
  • It makes the BBQ juicier and more tender. 

So, as per the reasons mentioned above, marination is an important part. But the debate comes up when we are talking about BBQ fish. Fish are usually soft and messy. They typically break while cooking. That is why you need to be extra careful while cooking them.

As marination makes things softer,  people tend to avoid it sometimes. But in my opinion, marination is a must. So,  marinate your fish for 30 minutes (no more, no less). It will help to enrich your BBQ fish taste, and also maintain the delicacy of the fish.

Tip 5- Avoid Flipping Your Fish On The Grill Unnecessarily:

If you are a beginner at cooking BBQ fish, you might make a lot of mistakes. It is pretty normal. One of the mistakes can be flipping your fish on the grill repeatedly. 

It is known that fish are delicate. They tend to break down more quickly than any other food item that we tend to cook on a BBQ grill. It’s the very reason that you need to handle them cautiously while cooking. One mistake, and your fish will be separated from its bones right on the grill. 

You should remember that it is not necessary to toss them again and again. You need to let it cook for some time on each side. After a few minutes, depending on which fish you are barbecuing, flip them over very gently.

Tip 6- In Case Of Meaty And Thick Fish, Make The BBQ Fish In A Fillet: 

If you are cooking thick and meaty fish like salmon, or tuna, I recommend you cook them in fillets. It is quite easier than cooking the whole fish. Also, don’t forget to keep the skin on. It surely helps to keep the fish at a place and prevent it from breaking down.

Thick fish like salmon, or swordfish should be cooked in fillet style. There are also a few things to keep in mind. They are as such:

  • In such cases, always leave the skin on the fish.
  • Do not flip the fish too many times unnecessarily. 
  •  Give each side of the fish at least 3 minutes to cook. It may also take a little longer.
  • Always use a spatula to flip the fish. It will prevent your fish from breaking down. 

Tip 7- Prevent Your Fish From Breaking By Wrapping It Up:

Fish are softer and more delicate than any other meat. And some fish are even more delicate than the others. If you have chosen to BBQ one of those fish, you need some extra preparations for that.

A beginner always finds it hard to cook a BBQ fish without breaking it apart. There are many reasons behind it. But whatever the reason is, it takes practice to make it to perfection. I also didn’t master the trick overnight. Enough patience and perseverance are indeed needed while cooking.

But if you are planning to serve guests, this might not be a good idea to practice your skills. Presentation is a must before the guests. Scattered and broken fish will look terrible before the guests. So, if you are a beginner and trying your luck with a delicate fish, I suggest that you should use aluminum foil, corn husk, or banana leaf to wrap the fish up and then BBQ it.

Tip 8- Preheat Your Grill And Use Lemon:

In any BBQ fish recipe, preheating the grill is an essential part. It is necessary for making the dish. It helps in even cooking. Also, you can use lemon on the grill while preheating.

When you preheat the grill, the grill comes to a certain temperature that is perfect for your cooking. It helps the whole cooking process by lessening the time, which means it makes barbecuing fish less time-consuming. It also helps to spread the heat evenly and prevents any from being uncooked.

Adding lemon while preheating your grill adds a great flavor to your BBQ fish. The lemon spreads a great scent that later on gets infused with the fish if you add them during the preheating process. For that, cut the lemons into round pieces, and spread them evenly on the grill. If you put the lemons in during preheating, the smell won’t be too strong.

7 Quick Short Tips For Perfecting Your Fish BBQ:

There are some quick tips for you to follow during a BBQ fish session. Keep them in your mind while cooking, and you are good to go! 7 short and quick tips for you are mentioned below:

1. Keep An Indirect Heat Zone On The Grill:

Keeping a cooler area on the grill is necessary, also known as the indirect heat zone. It helps to cook the fish evenly. It also aids in avoiding uncooked parts at any area of the fish.

2. Make Sure The Grates Are Clean:

Fish can be pretty delicate. They can get stuck to the grill easier than any other meat. Old grease from the grates can make the process even harder and ruin your fish. That is why you need to make sure the grates are adequately cleaned. 

3. Use Vegetable Oil With Salmon:

In the BBQ fish culture, salmon is a pretty famous fish. Most people choose salmon for its amazing taste and texture. While cooking it, selecting vegetable oil is the best option. 

4. Cook The Fish On Direct Heat:

You should cook the fish on direct heat over the grill if you are taking a thick piece or a whole fish. For thinner slices, cook on medium heat for 10 minutes on each side. 

5. Pick The Right Fish To BBQ:

Choose the best fish to BBQ so that your BBQ fish tastes the best. You can choose from many options, but the best fish is the thick and meaty ones. For instance, sardines, salmon, swordfish, halibut, etc.

Try avoiding the delicate and soft fish as they tend to get scattered, and get stuck in the grill more often than any other fish. 

6. Prepare Your Fish Properly:

It is essential to prepare your fish before you get down to BBQ. Here are a few simple ways to do it:

  • Cook your fish when it comes to room temperature. 
  • Let the skin stay on the fish.
  • Rub all the spices and oil on both sides of the fish.
  • Prepare the grill as mentioned earlier.

7. Avoid Common Grilling Mistakes:

You need to avoid a few mistakes if you want to prevent your fish from sticking into the grill grates. Precisely, some common mistakes need to be avoided, such as:

  • Don’t forget to clean the grill grates.
  • Make sure the grill grates are neither too hot nor inadequately hot.
  • Don’t try to flip the fish when it is not ready.

Related Questions On Fish BBQ:

How Do You Grill Fish On The BBQ?

This question can be answered in a very long and detailed manner. But that would make things boring, wouldn’t it? So let me answer this question as precisely as possible. Here are the simple steps to get the job done:

  • First of all, prepare your grill.
  • Then, prepare all the ingredients beforehand.
  • Do not forget to marinate your fish with all the spices.
  • After getting done with all the pre-cooking procedures, get down to cooking.
  • For cooking, you can use a BBQ fish grilling net. It will help you to keep the fish intact.
  • Use a spatula to turn the fish. Tongs will tear the fish apart. 
  • Fish are really sensitive and prone to breakage. So, restrain yourself from flipping it unnecessarily. 
  • Keep the skin on and grill for at least 10 minutes for each inch of thickness.

How Long Do You Grill A Piece Of Fish?

Knowing how long to cook something is the key to a perfect dish. An ideal grill requires good timing of cooking. Here is a table below to show you which fish takes how much time to cook:

Fish NameTime To Cook
Salmon10-12 Minutes
Sardines 8-10 Minutes
Swordfish 8 Minutes 
Halibut 10 Minutes

No matter how much you cook, make sure to cook at 400-480 degrees Fahrenheit. The time is not specific for all the cases. Some fish are thicker than the usual ones, so it takes longer to cook.

Can You Put Fish Directly On The Grill?

While barbecuing food on a grill, heat management becomes a very crucial part of it. It is also essential to ensure the outside char of the food and its taste as well. Some food needs to be cooked on direct heat, and some on indirect heat. But here the question is, do you put fish directly on the grill or not?

Here is a table with answers to your queries:

Fish NameHeat 
Tuna Direct 
Halibut Direct
Swordfish Direct
Flounder Indirect 

These fish have a meat-like texture that is why they can be cooked directly on the grill. But there are some fish which are delicate. They need to be put directly through the foil, or a grill net on the grill.

Why Does Fish Stick To BBQ?

While grilling fish, there might be many times that your fish gets stuck to your grill grates. Then, you ended up serving a massacre dish before your guests and embarrassed yourself. 

There are many reasons behind it. A fish is soft and delicate. It is one of the main reasons fish get stuck on the grill. Another reason is unclean grill grates. If your grill grates have food residue or are not clean, it will create a grip-like surface. For this reason, the fish gets stuck on the grates. 

What Is The Most Unhealthy Fish To BBQ?

There are many fish available in the market. Although they might all look the same, different fish have different tastes, textures, and nutritional values. Some are great for BBQ, and others are not.

Some fish are very unhealthy for you. They might cause harm in many ways, or might be illegal to catch. They are:

  • Shark,
  • Bluefin Tuna,
  • King Mackerel,
  • Tilefish.

How Expensive Is BBQ Fish?

Among all the other BBQs, BBQ fish is pretty famous among many people. There are many reasons behind it. Fish being available near you is one of the reasons.

It is a common scenario of going to fish in the river or the sea. People often do it by themselves. After catching the fish, the first thing that comes to mind is barbecuing them. So, in that sense, BBQ fish is not that expensive where you can go and get the main ingredient for free.

If you are buying from the market, some fish might cost you a bit, but you can always go for the cheaper versions. It’s not always necessary to go fancy to taste the fine cuisine. 


Barbecuing fish is not as hard as it may sound. People just like to complicate things. I think it is one of the simplest tasks. But if you are new at this, you may find the process a bit tricky.

There is nothing to get worried about. For all your troubles this article is presented to you. Read the whole article carefully to get all your solutions.

You may also want to reads:

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How Do You Cook Chicken On A BBQ? (6 Simple Steps)

Wilson C. Scully

Hello everyone, This is Wilson C. Scully. I'm likewise you. However, the main difference is that I like to share my kitchen and cooking experience with you.

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