A Guide to Grilling Salmon

Salmon is classified as an oily fish having rich content of omega-3 fatty acids and protein. There are two types of salmon available in the market. One is farmed and the other wild salmon is differentiated in the terms of food safety and quality. The farmed salmon is not richer in natural contents than wild salmon. Salmon is used in different dishes such as Lomi Salmon, Salmon Burger, Smoked Salmon, Salmon Sashimi, Salmon Sushi, Grilled Salmon, etc. 

If you are looking for ways to grill the salmon then you should be having a tender and juicy salmon. Most fish meat is delicate to go on a grill but salmon is well-suited for high-heat grilling or cooking. If you don’t know how to grill a salmon, then most likely you will be getting it stuck on the grills or fall apart while grilling. 

Which Type of Salmon Is Great for Grilling? 


First, you should know that to serve salmon, 6 to 8 ounces per person would be great. To grill the perfect salmon, you should be looking for skin-on fillets, center-cut or steak salmon. For even cooking and grilling, you can go for center-cut salmon because it is uniform in structure and thicker than others. 

The skin-on fillets will be great too because the skin on the salmon protects it from drying out. Also, it will protect it from sticking to the grills. After you have grilled skin-on fillet salmon, you can remove the skin if you don’t want to eat it. 

How To Marinate Salmon 


Before you take salmon for grilling, you need to marinate it for extra moisture and flavor to the grilled salmon. You don’t have to marinate salmon for a longer time. Only 10 minutes would be enough to marinate it. To marinate the salmon, you have to make a marinade of fat and acid in a 3:1 ratio. Then add salt and aromatic in it. While you are preheating the grill, you can drizzle the marinade on the salmon. 

You can make marinades from the following ingredients:

  • Olive Oil (Fat)
  • Dijon Mustard (Acid) 
  • Soy Sauce (Salt)
  • Garlic (Aromatic) 

How To Prepare Salmon for Grilling 

meat cutting

For even grilling and cooking, salmon needs to be at room temperature for 20 minutes. To prepare the salmon for grilling, follow the mentioned steps:

  • Before you take salmon to the grill, put it on a paper towel-lined pan. 
  • Now pat dry the salmon. The dry surface of salmon tends to speed up the searing process and it does not stick to the grills. 
  • If you have marinated the salmon, then wipe out the marinade before grilling. 
  • Now before putting it on the preheated grills, make sure that you rub both sides of salmon with olive oil. 
  • Sprinkle the freshly ground pepper and kosher salt. 
  • If you are using any fish meat to grill, make sure that you have seasoned it properly. As a result, it avoids flare-ups and loss of moisture from the fish. 

Clean and Heat the Grill for Salmon 

Deep Cleaning

While the grill is cold, you need to clean it properly

  • Remove the food residues from the grates. You can use a brush for this purpose. 
  • After cleaning, you should coat up the grates with a bunched-up paper towel with olive oil.
  • Now use the tongs to wipe the oil into the grill grates. 
  • You should not be using too much oil as it causes excessive smoke and flare-ups while grilling the salmon. 

Preheating the grill is a professional trick to get the required temperature for grilling any kind of meat. To grill the salmon, you have to preheat the grill for 15 minutes with a closed lid in the gas grill. If you are using a charcoal grill, the lid should be open for air circulation. In preheating, the oil is burned off and the grill grates are non-stick. Hence, you can grill the salmon perfectly. 

To heat the grill for salmon, you need to make two cooking zones. One zone will be the hot zone so that you can sear the salmon. The second zone will of low heat. If you are using a gas grill, then you can adjust the burners for maintaining the required temperature. If you are using a charcoal grill, then you have to move half of the hot coals to one-half of the grill to maintain the required temperature. 

In the high heat zone, you will be searing the salmon. After searing, move it to the low-temperature zone to finish the cooking. 

Skin On or Skin Off 


It is preferred by professionals to grill the salmon with skin on it because it adds flavor, keeps in the moisture, and it prevents the meat from breaking while grilling. To grill a perfect salmon, keep the skin-side down on the grilling grates. You can serve the crispy skin on salmon after cooking it thoroughly. If you don’t like the skin, you can peel it off. 

How To Grill the Salmon? 


If you are a beginner and you don’t know how to grill the salmon, then there are few easy steps when you put the salmon on the grill. 

  • After preheating the grill, open the grill lid and put salmon with skin-side down on the hot zone. Most of the cooking or grilling is done on the skin side. 
  • Let it cook or grill for 6 to 8 minutes. Now the time method will be applied according to the thickness of the salmon. 
  • After that, flip the salmon to the low-temperature zone using a fish spatula. If it sticks to the grate, let it cook for another 1 or 2 minutes. If it is cooked properly from the skin side, it will release without sticking
  • Keep in mind that you should not be using tongs to flip the delicate fish from the hot zone to the low heat zone. 
  • For the desired doneness, you can cook the other side of the salmon for another 2 to 4 minutes.

Salmon Grilling Temperature 


The cooking time of salmon is not more than 12 minutes. So, you should not be going away from the grill. Also, while cooking or grilling salmon, don’t get distracted, otherwise, it will be overcooked. For a medium-rare grilled salmon, the temperature of the thickest portion should be 120 degrees Fahrenheit. You can use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature of grilled salmon. 

After it is cooked properly, just like steak, let it sit for few minutes before serving. The high inside the salmon gives a little bit of carryover cooking and spreads the flavor all over. Now you can serve the grilled salmon to your family and friends with perfect cooking and flavor. 

Salmon Grilling Recipe



  • Garlic cloves – 2, minced 
  • Lemon zest – 2 tsp, grated 
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Rosemary – 1/2 tsp, minced, fresh 
  • Pepper – 1/2 tsp 
  • Salmon fillets – 4, 6 ounces


In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest, garlic, pepper, rosemary, and salt to make the marinade. Now rub the marinade over salmon fillets and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Rub each side of the salmon fillet with olive oil or any cooking oil. Sprinkle the pepper and kosher salt for seasoning the salmon. 

Now place the salmon on the grilling grates with skin-side and let it cook for 4 minutes. You can close the lid to give the flavor of lump charcoal. After 4 minutes, when you flip the salmon to the low heat side, make sure that it releases easily. 

If it sticks to the grates, let it cook for another 1 or 2 minutes. Flip the salmon to the low heat temperature and let it cook gently for 3 to 6 minutes. For medium-rare salmon, the temperature of the fish should be 120 to 125 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Learning Guide – Perfectly Grilled Salmon

If you are planning to grill the salmon for the first time, you should be keeping various facts to grill a perfect salmon. From buying to grilling, there are different methods and steps that you must follow. You might not get a perfect salmon if any of the tip or trick is missed. If you want to impress your family or friends during a grilling session, take notes of this salmon grilling guide.