Help! Grilling Salmon...

subieApril 29, 2009

Could anyone share their tips on how to grill salmon steaks without them sticking to the grill? We love BBQ salmon but have had no luck with either oiling them, cooking them skin side down first etc.

We like them done quite rare, but hate having to scrape them from the grill. I dont coat them in any type of paste or coating, just oil. Do I sear them on the hotplate first? But we love the flamegrill taste...would I lose that?


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Cook's Illustrated in the May/June issue says to get the grill very hot by covering the grates with foil while you preheat them, scrape them down to clean, then wipe them with oil using a paper towel held by tongs. Do this repeatedly until the oil fuses to the grates and forms a non-stick coating. I haven't tried it yet myself, but they claim it works. You can also make an aluminum foil "pan" to hold the salmon on the grill.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 3:58PM
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Thats sounds like its worth a shot...the BBQ is in need of a good clean right now, so I will try it out and let you know what happens.

Other meats only seem to stick on the grill if they have been marinated in a sweet marinade (i.e. honey & mustard, or teriyaki). But salmon sticks no matter what.

Do I have the heat too high I wonder?

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 10:06PM
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We just did salmon Monday night. We did it 2 ways - 1 on a cedar plank and the other on a grill tray (tray with a bunch of holes) directly on the grates. First we preheated the grill to 300. We then used olive oil pretty generously on both sides of the salmon and different spices. We kept the grill closed for the 1st 15 minutes before checking. No peeking. It just needed a couple of minutes after that and it came out perfect - again, both on the plank and the grill tray. No sticking at all. Maybe it was the low tempeture.
Good luck!


    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 4:27PM
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I second the use of planks. I use an alder plank that I soak in water for a half hour-ish prior to using. Wipe water off with paper towels then brush with olive oil. Place the fish on the plank on the grate. The fish grill tray or basket also work well.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2009 at 9:21AM
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I (gas) grill salmon at least once a week and use one of these things, which I bought at our local Ace hardware store for under $10. Works like a charm. I don't even spray it as there seems to be enough oil in the salmon. If it does stick a little, I just pry it with a spatula.

I preheat the grill, then lower to med-low. 15 minutes with skin side down, then 10 minutes skin side up. For a real treat, marinate for a couple of hours in Dales Steak Seasoning. :-))

Here is a link that might be useful: grilling fish holder

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 4:56AM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I third the use of planks! Absolutely awesome!! We reuse our planks until they disintegrate.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 1:33PM
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Planks are the way to go - best price I've seen has been at Costco.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2010 at 12:19AM
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Planks is totally awesome! I second that. I guarantee you won't regret buying it.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2010 at 4:08AM
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Where can I get the planks?

Thank you!

    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 4:56PM
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Using the oil on the grill and creating a non-stick coating is pretty much the same process as is done with cast iron pans.

I do this and grill salmon steaks with very high heat. Don't move them until they let go of the grill.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2010 at 8:55AM
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While planks have their place, technically your not grilling anymore.

tmacmillan has it right. Don't mess w/ the steaks and they should release after awhile.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2010 at 10:00AM
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Hi thanks for all your tips. Had never heard of the plank idea?? What sort of wood is the plank?

I think tmacmillan might be on to our problem. I am a bit of a clean freak and our bbq is always cleaned and reoiled after cooking. But maybe cleaned "too" well, and too much oil is cleaned away and even though I reoil it,the surface is not truly nonstick, and therefore the salmon sticks.

Over Christmas we have done LOTS of cooking on the BBQ (its hot down here in OZ!), and I havent been able to clean as rigorously. Voila, the salmon is not sticking! Maybe I have finally created that non-stick surface I should have had to start with.

However, I did toy with the idea of swapping out our cast iron grills and grill plates for stainless steel? I worry though that you lose some of the flavour? Thoughts?

And stainless is not cheap! Cost/Benefit?

    Bookmark   January 2, 2011 at 12:39AM
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Stainless steel will not cure the same way that cast iron will. You will be better off sticking with iron and make sure that it is well seasoned. The method I use is similar to the method described by CI - I get the grills hot and then brush them with a wire brush and oil them with another brush or a mop. Grape seed oil is good for this, but you want an oil with a high smoke temperature. I always grill the salmon at high heat and generally do presentation side down first. If you try to move it too soon, it will stick, but after about three minutes, it will release from the grill, and then I grill it skin side down. Occasionally the skin will stick, but I usually do not eat that anyway.

For seasoning, I use salt, pepper, olive oil, and dried dill, and it should be seasoned about half an hour before grilling. I also sometimes use a marinade of soy sauce, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, lime juice, wasabi, and sesame oil, and if I use this, I cook it skin side down and do not turn it. The skin usually sticks to the grill, but I do not plan on serving that anyway when I use this marinade.

If you need more help, you might try posting on the regular cooking forum, which has a lot more activity. Many people there grill.


    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 3:08PM
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