Prawns grilled on the BBQ

How To Cook Fabulous Fresh Fish On The BBQ

Delicious, tasty fish on the BBQ is quick, easy and nutritious

Cooking fresh fish on the barbecue is so quick and easy and is the perfect healthy alternative to the usual meat-feast. The big advantage to grilling the fish on the BBQ is that the house doesn’t end up smelling like a fish market for days! Depending on the fish, it can be cooked straight on the grill, in a fish basket, on skewers or in a foil parcel. The key is to make sure the fish is really fresh, it must smell of the sea not of fish, the flesh must be shiny and firm (not sure the local supermarket will appreciate you poking their fish though!) and the eye should be shiny and not sunken. Always keep the fish in the fridge and try and cook on the same day as it is bought.

What fish to choose? The easiest fish to BBQ is thick fillets or steaks of a nice meaty fish, such as tuna, salmon, haddock, cod or halibut. If possible choose cuts which are the same thickness all the way through as they are easier to cook. These can be placed straight onto the grill. If you want to cook the more delicate fish, such as sole or plaice, either cook them in a fish basket or on the griddle on the BBQ. Most of the Weber BBQ’s have a griddle to fit and other makes usually have one which just sits on the top of the grate. Using the griddle prevents the fish falling through the grate when you turn it over.

fish in market

Marinate the fish and leave in the fridge if it’s going to be over 30 minutes. Avoid using sugar in the marinade as it sticks to the grill and burns really easily.

Try this marinade from food. com; just combine all the ingredients and marinate for about 30 minutes.

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 tbsp fresh parsley; finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp coriander; finely chopped
  • 6 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 lime; juiced
  • 3 garlic cloves; crushed
  • 4 teasp paprika
  • 2 teasp cumin
  • 1 teasp black pepper

Fire up the BBQ and let it reach a high temperature, about 204 – 232C (400 – 450F); leave the gas for about 10 minutes and if cooking with charcoal wait until there is a nice white ash over the fuel. Cook the fish over direct heat, this gives you the nice sear marks and crisps the skin. If you place the fish over too low a heat the skin won’t crisp and it will take longer to cook increasing the likelihood of it falling apart. Before placing the fish on the grill, make sure the grate is really clean by brushing with the wire cleaning brush. Brush the grate or griddle with vegetable oil; butter or olive oil tend to burn easily.

If you’re not marinating the fish just pat dry with kitchen towel, rub some vegetable oil into both sides and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Leave it out of the fridge for about 10 minutes to come to room temperature before grilling. Place it on the grill or griddle skin side down and let it cook for 3 – 5 minutes. Turn it over with a metal spatula; when it is ready to turn over it will come off the grill easily, if it is still stuck leave it for another minute. Only turn the fish once, turning repeatedly increases the likelihood of it falling apart. Check it is fully cooked after about 3 minutes. It is cooked when the flesh is opaque and it flakes easily. It generally takes 8 – 10 minutes to cook a steak 1” thick; but if you like your tuna rare to medium rare just give it about 3 minutes each side. Always cook with the lid down, continually opening the barbecue decreases the temperature and increases the cooking time.

If you are cooking a delicate fish or want to include herbs, spices or lemon or to cook your fish in butter just wrap in a foil parcel and cook on the grill. When you open the parcel make sure you don’t spill the cooking juices as these can be poured over the fish before serving.

Prepared salmon with lime

If cooking whole fish make sure it is cleaned, scaled and gutted. Small whole fish can be cooked directly on the grate but larger fish need cooking in foil as the outside will burn before the inside is cooked. Cook large fish over indirect heat with the tail furthest away from the flames. Score the skin, this helps it cook more evenly, make deeper cuts near the head as this is where the fish is thickest. Oil and season it inside and out; push some herbs or lemon into the score marks. Try simple parsley or dill butter, garlic and rosemary or lemon and thyme.

Kebabs cook really quickly and can be combined with colourful vegetables to create a really attractive dish. Just remember to turn them and if using wood or bamboo skewers soak them in water for 30 minutes first, this stops them burning on the barbecue. This is where a rotisserie attachment really comes into it's own as there is no need to turn them and the the constant rotating means that any juices are contained within the fish, making it tastier and more moist.

Cod steaks with lime cooked on the BBQ

As soon as the fish is cooked take it off the BBQ and leave to rest for 6 – 10 minutes before serving to allow the juices to run back into the flesh giving you tastier more tender fish.

Tuna with bean and tomato salad (Good Food Magazine)

2 fresh tuna steaks; grilled to your liking

Marinade; combine all ingredients, coat the tuna well and leave in fridge for 30 minutes:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 large garlic clove; crushed
  • 1 tbsp rosemary; chopped

Salad; combine all ingredients:

  • 410g can cannellini beans; drained and rinsed
  • 8 cherry tomatoes; quartered
  • ½ small red onion; thinly sliced
  • 50g bag rocket

Dressing; place all ingredients in screw top jar and shake:

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 teasp clear honey

We regularly hold demonstrations from top BBQ chefs in store, where you can experience and taste recipes you maybe wouldn't have thought of cooking on the BBQ; just click here to see when the next demonstrations are being held.

Angela Slater
Daughter of a farmer and market gardener so have always had a connection with the outdoors, whether it was keeping animals or producing fruit, vegetables and cut flowers. Along with my work at Hayes Garden World I also have a smallholding, mainly breeding rare breed pigs. I gained an HND and BSc in Conservation and Environmental Land Management, as a result I am an ardent environmentalist and have a keen interest in environmentally friendly gardening. In my time at Hayes I worked for several years in the Outdoor Plant and Houseplant areas