Make your next Grilled Salmon AMAZING with a simple yet incredible Salmon Marinade that will infuse it with extra flavour! Bonus: it does double duty for basting and as the sauce for serving.
Plus, my very simple tips for cooking salmon on the BBQ – no more burnt salmon, and how to stop salmon from sticking to the grill!
I feel like a lot of people are intimidated at the thought of cooking salmon on the BBQ. Fear of it sticking to the grill, of flaking into bits when handling it. Or of the sugar in marinades causing it to burn into a black bitter mess.
Ditch the fear! Cooking salmon on the BBQ is easy when you know a couple of simple tips that make all the difference. With THIS grilled salmon recipe, your salmon will be:
caramelised but not burnt on the outside
it won’t stick to the grill
cooked to juicy perfection on the inside
has extra insurance from a marinade just in case you cook it a bit over
You’ll love how the Salmon Marinade is also used to baste the salmon AND as a sauce for serving!
(PS I totally manufactured the flare up you see below. Just cause I thought it looked cool! )
Secrets to the best Grilled Salmon ever!
So here are my tips for perfect grilled salmon.
- Use skin on salmon fillets. The skin holds the salmon together much better when handling on the grill. Serve the salmon with the skin peeled off, or serve as is and let people decide for themselves!
- Drain excess marinade off the flesh side – set it aside for 10 minutes or so to really make make the marinade drip off. (Skin side doesn’t matter as much because it’s not as fragile). This tip is especially relevant when you have sugar in the marinade.
- Drizzle with oil just before cooking. Key tip!
- Brush grills generously with oil before heating BBQ
- Grill salmon on medium – or even medium low, if you know your BBQ is very strong. It is safer to cook on a lower rather than higher temperature. You can always cook for longer – but can’t undo a burnt mess! Key tip!
- Put the flesh side down first – because you just oiled it, and it’s the more fragile side so it’s just safer to cook that side perfectly first. The skin side is hardier and can take longer cooking if needed. Plus, it’s a general rule to cook the presentation side first.
- Do not move the salmon once you put it on the grill.Key tip! It will initially stick to the grills, then it will release once cooked (and don’t forget, we have extra insurance from oiling the flesh!)
If you’re a pro griller, you might feel confident enough to skip some of these. But for ordinary folk like myself you don’t want to risk the salmon, follow these for grilled salmon success every. Single. Time!!
How you know the salmon is cooked
- The side of the salmon changes colour from translucent to opaque; or
- The internal temperature of the salmon is 50C/120°F (medium-rare), or 55C / 130F (for medium). I cannot endorse cooking salmon beyond medium!
The Salmon Marinade
And here’s what goes in the Salmon Marinade. It adds a savoury-sweet-garlic flavour to the salmon and makes it beautifully caramelised.
Soy sauce is the key ingredient here. Because it’s salty, it acts as the brine, injecting flavour and juiciness into the salmon flesh. It does not make the Salmon taste Asiany!
Plenty of subs available, I’ve listed them in the recipe card.
What to serve with Grilled Salmon
If I’m cooking something non-Asian on the BBQ, it’s pretty much inevitable that grilled corn makes an appearance too.
Or try one of these big-batch sides that keep great for days and days (and take some of the leftovers to work!):
- Macaroni Salad
- Bacon Potato Salad with a creamy mayo dressing
- Lemon Potato Salad (no mayo!)
- Coleslaw – or try this no mayo Cabbage Salad (I make this a LOT!)
- Broccoli Salad with Lighter Creamy Dressing
- A big juicy Greek Salad – or try this Greek Lemon Orzo Salad (Risoni)
Please try to ignore the top left corner of the salmon in the photo below. You know full know I went to eat the salmon before I finished taking all the photos I needed.
I suppose my limited Photoshop skills are sufficient enough to have patched that up.
But then I decided to leave it so I could sign off with this vision: that split second when my mouth was wide open and the fork was just about to go in, when I realised that I’d forgotten to take the photo below.
Putting the fork down in a huff, pushing the piece of salmon back into place, climbing a little ladder, taking this photo, then 2 seconds later, that piece was gone. (And minutes later, so was that whole piece of salmon) ~ Nagi x
Watch how to make it
Marinated Grilled Salmon
Recipe VIDEO above. Make your next grilled salmon AMAZING with a simple yet incredible Salmon Marinade that will infuse the salmon with extra flavour!
- 4 salmon fillets (, skin on best (150-180g/5-6oz each, Note 1))
- Olive oil (, for cooking)
Marinade (Sauce)- Note 2:
- 1/3 cup (85 ml) soy sauce (, low sodium)
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves (, minced)
- Parsley, chives or green onion (, finely chopped)
- Lemon slices
- Place marinade in a ziplock bag and mix to combine.
- Add salmon and massage to coat. Marinate for 3 – 24 hours (1 hr minimum).
- Take out of fridge 30 minutes prior to cooking.
- Remove salmon onto plate, allowing excess marinade to drain off.
Sauce (basting + serving):
- Pour remaining marinade into a small saucepan and simmer over medium high for 3 to 5 minutes until syrupy.
- Pour into bowl/jug (some used for basting, some for serving).
- Brush BBQ grills with oil. Then preheat to medium (or medium low for strong BBQ’s).
- Drizzle salmon with oil, the place onto the BBQ flesh side down (skin side up).
- Cook for 3 minutes or until golden, then use tongs to carefully turn.
Brush the flesh with Sauce, then close BBQ lid.
Cook for 3 – 4 minutes, basting one more time halfway through, or until the internal temperature is 50C/120F(medium rare) or 55C/130F (medium).
- Transfer salmon to plate and serve with remaining Sauce.
1. Salmon – skin on is best for grilling, the fish is easier to handle because it holds together better. Serve with either skin on and let people choose whether to eat just the flesh or the skin as well (I do this), or peel the skin off before serving. Make sure the scales have been removed from the skin and there are no bones (the fish monger should have already done this for you).
2. Marinade substitutions / alternatives:
- Soy sauce – use light or all purpose soy sauce, preferably low sodium (but ok if not). Do not use dark soy sauce or sweet soy sauce.
- Lemon juice – sub cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar or white wine vinegar. Or 1.5 tbsp any other plain vinegar (white, balsamic, red wine, champagne etc)
- Honey – maple syrup or other sweet liquid, or 2.5 tbsp brown sugar.
- Olive oil – or other oil of choice.
- Garlic – fresh is best, otherwise 2 tsp from jar.
- Customise it – chilli flakes or dash of hot sauce, ginger, five spice, sweet chilli sauce. All of these would be great additions!
3. Cook time – skin on salmon fillets about 200g/7oz each that are 2.5cm / 1″ thick at the thickest part will cook in about 6 minutes if taken out of the fridge 30 minutes prior.
4. Nutrition assumes all the marinade is consumed. In reality, you’ll lose some of it through the cooking process.
Life of Dozer
Me – lying on the sun lounge, soaking up the warm sun.
Dozer – standing over me, not only blocking the sun but also showering me with his slobber. Eeewww! Go away Dozer, leave me alone!