Traditional Quick Grilled Fish

Traditional Quick Grilled Fish
Photo by Kelley Jordan

What’s easier than hotdogs on the grill? Well, not much. But fish is healthier and only takes a few minutes more of preparation. Large meaty fish like halibut and lingcod or any species of salmon will fare best on the grill.

The four tenets of grilling fish are a ripping hot grill, a nicely oiled fillet, a good sear, and a gentle flip. The rest is just practice and practice tastes good!

Traditional Quick Grilled Fish | Sitka Salmon Shares

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 15 min
Total time: 35 min
Serves: 4


  • 1 pound of halibut, lingcod, yelloweye, or salmon, thawed
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt


Prepare Fish

Season the fish with either a dry rub of coarse salt for 15 minutes or 12 minutes in a 6% wet brine of 5 tablespoons of coarse salt per 2 quarts of water. Dry the fish with paper towel once complete and set aside for the grill.

Traditional Fish Grilling

Oil grill grate before turning on the heat. Preheat the grill to 375-400℉, about 10 minutes, with the burners set to medium heat. Oil one side of the fish and place that oiled side onto the hot grill. Close the lid and wait until the fish sears and releases from the grate, about 5-8 minutes. Before flipping, oil the top side and gently flip over. Fish have a tendency to stick so don't skimp on that oil. Cook until fish is cooked through, about 3-5 minutes or until salmon is 125℉  for medium rare and whitefish reaches 135℉. When you are comfortable with the doneness, remove the fish temple from the grill and let it rest on a plate for about 5 minutes.


  • If using a charcoal grill, adapt the concept of high heat.
  • A ripping hot grill is key to reduce chance of sticking
  • For very thick cuts of fish, keep the grill lid closed. Thinner cuts can be grilled with the lid open or closed for a very brief time.
  • Pacific cod and black rockfish do not do well directly on the grilling grate because they are typically a thinner fillet and usually break apart when flipping. But using a fish temple will allow you to grill those species more easily.
  • Use 4-5 medallions of citrus or a handful of soaked smoking wood per fish portion.
  • A lavender, lemon and whitefish temple combination is mind blowing!
  • Carry over cooking for salmon on a hot grill around 400F can be as much as 25 degrees, so be careful to remove your fish and let it cool before it's completely done or risk drying it out.
  • If grilling salmon with skin on, oil the skin side really well and then cook 90% with skin side down on the grill at medium heat, then oil the flesh and flip for the last few minutes (the flip is always optional and just helps prevent charing).

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*The information displayed is our analysis of the recipe based on its ingredients and preparation, and should not be considered a substitute for professional nutrition advice.

Wild At Home

with Richie Mann

Grilling fish can be difficult if you aren't protecting it with oil and patience. Wild at Home™ breaks down the basics in a Grilling 101! Whatever wild caught fish you try and whatever technique you use, don't forget a little oil, a good fish spatula, and a whole lot of backyard dad jokes.

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