How to Perfectly Grill a Salmon – Techniques and Tips

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How to Perfectly Grill a Salmon - Techniques and Tips
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Grilling salmon perfectly combines selecting the right ingredients with mastering your grilling techniques.

Here’s how to get the best results from your next salmon grilling adventure, laid out in clear, step-by-step details:

Select the Right Salmon

Select the Right Salmon

  • Freshness: Choose bright, firm flesh. Wild-caught typically offers a richer flavor than farmed, though both are excellent on the grill.
  • Price: Expect to pay between $15 and $30 per pound, depending on the salmon type.

Preparation Before Grilling

  • Cleaning: Rinse the salmon under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture and unwanted smell.

Skin On or Off?

  • Benefits: Grilling with the skin on helps keep the salmon intact and protects the flesh from direct heat, resulting in crispy skin.
  • Skinless: If you prefer no skin, ensure your grill is well-oiled to prevent the salmon from sticking.

Marinate for Enhanced Flavor

Marinate Salmon for Enhanced Flavor

  • Ingredients: Use simple marinades like olive oil, lemon, garlic, and herbs to enhance but not overpower the salmon.
  • Duration: Marinate the salmon for no more than one hour before grilling.

 Grill Temperature Setting

  • Ideal Heat: Preheat your grill to a medium-high range of about 375°F to 400°F, which is optimal for salmon.

Oil the Grill

  • Purpose: Oiling prevents sticking and helps to achieve perfect grill marks.
  • Method: Use a paper towel soaked in oil to rub over the grill grates.

Positioning the Salmon

Positioning the Salmon onto the grill

  • Technique: Start with placing the salmon skin side down to protect the flesh and allow the skin to crisp.
  • Grill Management: Close the grill to mimic an oven environment, which helps cook the salmon evenly.

Flipping the Salmon

  • Timing: After 4-6 minutes, the skin should be crisp and the flesh starting to turn opaque.
  • Tool: Use a thin spatula for gentle flipping to avoid breaking the salmon.

Checking for Doneness

Checking grilled salmon for Doneness

  • Visual Cues: The salmon should be slightly translucent at the center and flake easily with a fork.
  • Temperature Check: Aim for an internal temperature of about 145°F with an instant-read thermometer.

Resting and Serving

  • Resting Time: Let the salmon rest for a few minutes off the grill to allow juices to redistribute.
  • Serving Suggestions: Enhance with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, or a dollop of dill sauce.

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