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Here’s How To Make Delicious Salmon On The Grill (It’s Surprisingly Simple!)

Grilled Salmon

We don’t eat a lot of fish at our house for the most part. But it’s not because we don’t like fish – in fact, most of us love fish! However, I’ve never felt very confident in my ability to cook fish properly. The few times I’ve attempted it at home have either resulted in overcooked fish, undercooked fish, or a pile of flaky bits that used to be fish. It was all so discouraging that I eventually stopped trying.

But the situation changed, and I decided to give fish another shot. We decided to have salmon for our Easter dinner this year, and I successfully grilled 8 salmon filets to perfection (if I do say so myself). So what changed? What inspired me to put aside my fish failures and finally achieve what I had thought was impossible?

Why Every Kitchen Should Have Grill Mats

The Secret To Perfect Grilled Salmon

The secret to my success is simple – grill mats! Ever since I learned about how helpful grill mats are several months ago, I had been gaining confidence in my ability to cook pretty much anything on the grill. Even grilling fish didn’t sound so hard to do after a while! So when my kids suggested having salmon for Easter dinner, I put on my game face and grabbed my grill mat. The results were delicious, and my kids are now requesting the same salmon dish regularly (but we’ll get to that in a bit.)

Here are some basic pointers for grilling salmon on a grill mat, but trust me, it’s pretty hard to mess up. ;-)

Grilled Salmon

Tips For Salmon Success

  • Before grilling your salmon (or any fish), pat each filet dry with a paper towel. Add your desired seasonings, or a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  • You can place filets with skin right onto your grill mat, skin-side down. If they your filets are skinless, prep your grill mat with a quick spritz of non-stick cooking spray for added insurance against sticking.
  • If you’re using a charcoal grill, place your grill mat over a medium-sized pile of coals. Grill the fish for 4-6 minutes per 1/2″ of thickness, or until the fish begins to flake when poked with a fork. Turn the filets over once halfway through grilling.
  • If you’re using a gas grill, let your grill warm up for a few minutes and then turn the temperature down to medium. Place your grill mat and filets on the grill, and cook until they reach your desired doneness, or until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees. Perfectly cooked salmon will be opaque but still moist, and will pull apart easily.
Grilled Salmon

And while the perfectly grilled salmon was the star of our Easter meal, the sauce I made to go with it deserves a shout-out as well. If you’re not familiar with buerre blanc, it’s a light and buttery sauce that pairs perfectly with salmon. This version also features a bright and tangy kick of lemon, because it’s me, and I can’t live without lemon in most situations. Give this sauce a try when you go out and grill your salmon. I think you’ll like it just as much as we did!

Grilled Salmon

Lemon Beurre Blanc

Ingredients:

1 small onion or 2 medium shallots, finely diced
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth)
1/2 cup heavy cream
8 Tbsp cold butter

Grilled Salmon

Directions:

Combine the finely diced onion, lemon juice, and wine or broth in a small saucepan. Place on your stovetop and simmer over medium heat until thickened, about 7 or 8 minutes.

Whisk in the heavy cream. Once the mixture comes to a simmer again, reduce the heat to low.

Grilled Salmon

Add the butter one tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly. When all the butter has been added, add salt to taste and remove from heat. Cover the sauce with a lid to keep warm until you’re ready to serve.

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Food & Recipes

  • We BBQ whole salmon (small ones) on our small patio grill (gas fired). I rinse the fish in and out, pat dry, and line the cavity with a sprinkle of garlic salt and regular pepper, then layer in (depending on the size of the fish) several slices of fresh lemon,and occasionally some sprigs of cilantro. Wrap in foil, a bit on the lose side, and plop on the grill. It doesn’t need to be turned. Add salad (potato or fresh, and some steamed asparegas, viola, dinner is served!

  • We recently discovered a great way to do fish… in the microwave! Spray a shallow dish — I use an oval 1-quart gratin pan/dish — with non-stick spray. Now, here’s the fun part: put a layer of lemon slices or onion slices or asparagus or or frenched green beans or very thinly sliced potatoes to the bottom of the dish (or not). Add the fish. Top with halved cherry tomatoes and/or fresh herbs and/or pesto and sprinkle with olive oil and lemon juice; salt and pepper to taste. Cover with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 4-6 minutes, depending on your microwave and the amount of fish. For my husband and I, I generally just have an 8- to 10-ounce piece of salmon topped with the cherry tomatoes, pesto, olive oil, and salt and pepper; nuke on high for 4 minutes (1200W microwave). Fabulous and delicious and low-cal.

  • I visit your website from time to time, and I always find some good recipes for my cooking day!
    It’s always easy and simple :)
    I’ll definitely try this one too.

    Thanks, Jillee!

  • We love to grill salmon at our house! I love lemon flavored everything, but I don’t quite like the taste of lemon juice on my fish, so I am super happy to see your sauce recipe!! And just in time, my husband and my 2 boys brought fresh fish home from memorial weekend! I’ll be trying this asap! Thanks Jillee!!

  • That was a ridiculous amount of paper and ink used to print his recipe. Couldn’t it be just one page for the recipe? Pictures of the fish and black mats are not needed!

    • If you don’t want to print the photos, just copy and paste the text into a word processing program and print that file instead. It takes less than 5 seconds, and it gives you a tiny file you can save for future reference.

    • Whoa, Lou! Take a breath…at the very end of this whole post, right before you go past all of the little pictures of other posts and get to these comments, there is a green “printer-friendly” button. If you click on that button, the whole post will come up again EXCEPT you will be able to click anything that you do not need out and then you can print only what you want to keep! If you do not use that button, then yes, you will be printing about 12 pages. Good luck! If this doesn’t work for you I am sure Jillee can give you further and more accurate instructions.

    • I wish I did! I’m like Jillee, I quit trying after some really tasteless tries. That was 20 years ago, and 2 years ago I decided to try again. So I bought some frozen fish and put it in the freezer. It’s still there, way down on the bottom. Guess I need to throw that out and buy some salmon. I’ve got the grill mats and instructions now, so it’s time to try!

  • We use cedar ‘planks’ ( look like shingles, in the grilling section of Big Box stores like Lowes) to grill salmon on the outdoor grill. Soak the cedar before putting the salmon on it. easy and gives a good flavor to the salmon.

  • I have been using grill mats for a couple of years to cook all those hard to handle foods that fall through the grates. They are wonderful and I don’t think they mask the taste of the grill on the salmon filets. I still get the delicious taste of the grill and all foods are nicely browned. I love Grill Mats and can’t wait to try the Lemon Beurre Blanc.

  • This sounds delicious & a good reason for me to try one of the grill mats! I’ve been thinking about getting one to grill vegetables easier

  • I enjoy your blog and have often tried different ideas to great satisfaction. But I feel obligated to offer my comments regarding grilling salmon in this manner. Grill mats mask the flavor of the reason you are charcoaling in the first place! (We never use gas, so I have no comment in that regard…) Buy your salmon with skin. Set up your charcoal on each side of the grill. When the coals are hot (meaning no more flames and charcoal starts to turn grey), place salmon in the middle (indirect heat). Cook your salmon for 11 minutes per inch. My hubby is the spice king (dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper – sometimes oregano, pomegranate molasses, mint), but anything you like will be great! No one really needs the added calories of butter/cream, so try skipping this and just squeeze fresh lemon on top.

  • Sounds amazing! Our favourite is to spread mayo over salmon fillets then drizzle with red wine. It sounds awful I know, but it’s surprisingly delicious.

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