Grilling Salmon directly on the Charcoal Grill Grates
This recipe is pretty basic and focuses on two things: the natural flavor of salmon and a grilling technique that most are scared to try. Check out this grilled salmon recipe with salmon grilled directly on the grates!
Ingredients (for three salmon filets):
3 Salmon Filets (fresh if you can find it)
1 T Olive Oil
1 Clove of Garlic
1 Whole Lemon
Salt and Pepper
To begin this recipe start by scraping the dill leaves off of the stem. Dice them up a little bit. Then take one clove of garlic and put it in the microwave for 7 seconds. This helps get the skin off. Now you can smash it or do whatever you like to get the skin off. Very finely dice this clove of garlic. Pour 1 T of oil into a bowl and grab a brush.
Use just a little bit of the olive oil and brush it on the salmon filet. Use caution here. Too much oil will run off of the filet and cause flair ups on the grill. Use just a little and carefully brush it in the middle of the filet, not the sides or the bottom.
Cut the lemon in half and squeeze it generously over the filets.
Take the diced dill and garlic and sprinkle it on top of the filets. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper to taste. To make it look fancy you can slice the lemon and place one of the slices right on top of the filets.
Once the salmon filets are prepared it is time to light the grill. Most of the people I chat with regarding grilling fish are afraid to grill salmon directly on the grates. They say it will stick horribly. I don't have this problem. I think the way to not have salmon stick to the grilling grates is to use an appropriate temperature for an appropriate amount of time. Additionally, it doesn't hurt to lightly oil the grates before you grill. For this recipe I aim for a medium high heat. The salmon won't go on the grates until I can count to 3 or 4 after holding my hand one inch over the grate. This is a pretty high heat for fish but the plan here is the char the skin and cook the salmon filet throughout without flipping it over. When you are done the skin will be heavily charred and will lift right off the grate. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Don't move them. Leave them be! Also be sure to keep the dome closed as much as possible.
Some people say that fish is done when it flakes. Some say to use a thermometer. Yesterday I bought a new thermometer (non digital) and I wanted to use it. So for this recipe I'm all about the temperature. Salmon is cooked when the internal temperature is 145 degrees F. Some think this is too high. I aim for 140. When the temperature reaches 140 take it off the grill. By the time you eat it the temperature will have slightly increased and you'll be fine. You can see in the photo above that there were no sticking issues. The filet came right off the grill with a spatula!
Well there we go. This is a very tasty and healthy meal. The flavor of lemon really adds some punch and changes things up a bit. Normally I don't cook fish with lemon on it but the citrus kick is quite nice. The garlic and dill also provide some fantastic flavor to the salmon. My favorite part of the salmon is the area right next to the edge of the filet where it gets a little crunchy. This is part of the reason why I want a pretty high heat. I love that crunchy grilled salmon edge! Grilled Salmon on the Charcoal Grill Grates isn't nearly as hard as people make it out to be.