Learn how to cook salmon like a pro! This recipe gives you two ways for juicy, tender grilled salmon cooked: in foil or directly over the hot grates. Be sure to get center-cut salmon filet so that the fish cooks evenly throughout. Skin-on salmon is better particularly if you're cooking it directly over the hot grates; the skin holds the salmon together while it grills, and also imparts good flavor. Depending on the method you choose and the thickness of your fish, cooking salmon on the grill can take anywhere from 8 to 19 minutes.
1 to 1 ½poundssalmon fillet, skin-on, center cut fillet
marinade of your choice,(see the options below)
Method 1: Direct grilling
Cut and season the fish. Cut the large fillet into 4 6-ounce pieces. Season with kosher salt and add the marinade of your choice (see options in the notes). Allow the salmon to marinate for 20 minutes or so (refrigerate).
Prepare the grill. Heat an outdoor gas grill on high (grill is ready when you can hold your hand one inch above the grates for only 1 to 2 seconds). Make sure the grates are oiled to ensure that the salmon does not stick.
Grill flesh-side down first! Arrange the salmon fillets on hot grill, flesh side down first (the skin should be facing you). Close the grill lid. Cook for 1-3 minutes on the first side, depending on how thick the fillets are.
Flip over once. Look for grill marks on the fish, and where the fish is closest to the grill, you should see a small layer of opaque flesh. Slide a metal spatula under the fish and use a pair of tongs to hold the top, carefully turn the fish over (it will now be skin-side down).
Lower the heat down to medium and close the grill lid. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes, again depending on the thickness of the fillets.
Let the fish rest before serving. Remove from the grill and let it rest for 5 minutes or so. The fish will continue to cook (it should reach a temperature of 145 degrees F before serving).
Method 2: Grilled salmon in foil
Prepare the grill. Heat the grill to medium-high heat (375 to 400 degrees F).
Arrange the fish in a large piece of foil. Spread a big piece of heavy-duty foil over a baking sheet so you can easily carry the salmon from the kitchen to the grill. Lightly brush the foil with extra virgin olive oil so the salmon doesn’t stick. Arrange a few slices of lemon or orange on the foil. Season the salmon well with kosher salt on both sides and place it on the citrus slices.
Add the marinade of your choice. Spread the seasoning or marinade of your choice all over the fish fillet.
Seal the foil to enclose the fish and the marinade. Pull the foil sides up and tightly close the foil to enclose the fish (making sure the foil is tented over the fish with a little room in between the fish and the top of the foil). Make a few small holes on the top of the foil so that the steam can escape.
Place the foil pouch on the hot grill and close the lid. Cook the salmon for 14 to 19 minutes, depending on how thick your salmon fillet is. Check doneness at around 12 to 14 minutes for a thin piece of fish. Thicker fillets will take a few minutes more. Remember that the salmon will continue to cook as it rests.
Let the fish rest briefly before serving. Remove from the heat and let the salmon rest for 5 minutes or so (it should reach a temperature of 145 degrees F before serving).
Lemon-garlic marinade: zest of 1 large lemon, juice of 2 lemons, 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil such as Early Harvest Greek extra virgin, 5 minced garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons dry oregano, 1 teaspoon sweet paprika, and ½ teaspoon black pepper.
Spicy lime-harissa marinade: This marinade combines hot harissa paste (store-bought is fine if you don't have homemade) with a little honey, lime juice, garlic, Aleppo pepper, ginger and warm spices to make the perfect spicy salmon marinade. (Check out the marinade in this recipe).
Pesto: You can season the salmon simply with salt, pepper, and olive oil. And once you cook it, spread 2 to 4 tablespoons of basil pesto or chermoula and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.
Tips for choosing salmon for the grill: Skin-on, center-cut salmon fillets are the best option. Skin will help hold the piece of salmon together as it cooks on the grill, and a center-cut piece ensures the fillet cooks at the same speed throughout.
Leftovers and storage tips: Cooked salmon filets will keep in the fridge for 2 days in an airtight container. I don’t like to reheat salmon because it inevitably dries out and becomes rubbery. So I turn leftovers into a salmon salad.
Nutrition information only applies to the salmon filet. It does not take into account any marinade or seasoning.