Barbecued fish is a smart, tasty and healthy way to enjoy our short barbecuing season. Whether it's marinated salmon kebabs or a delicate fillet of sole, you can get great results when cooking fish on the BBQ. We'll show you the basic steps so you can get great results every time.
Fresh is best
Freshness is the key to superior barbecued fish. Use your eyes and your nose to choose the freshest catch. Remember that fish should smell clean and briny - never fishy. The flesh should look unblemished and feel firm. A good fishmonger will be able to help you choose the best fish.
Choose fish steaks and fillets that are at least 2.5cm (1 in) thick all the way around so they'll cook evenly.
Prepare the BBQ
If you have a gas barbecue, set it to medium heat and wait for 10 minutes.
If you're using charcoal, fire up the coals until they have a good coating of ash, then bank them to one side so you have a hot area and a cooler area on your barbecue.
Clean the grates with a wire brush, and brush the grates with oil to prevent sticking.
BBQ the fish
There are different barbecuing methods for each kind of fish:
Pat the fish dry with kitchen paper, brush it with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Then place the fish directly on the BBQ. If cooking salmon with the skin on, place it skin-side down.
Let the fish cook for 3 to 5 minutes - and don't move it. Then use a metal spatula to turn the fish over. Do this carefully; you turn the fish only once so you don't risk it coming apart as it cooks.
Check for doneness after another 3 minutes. As a general rule, fish takes 10 minutes to cook for every one inch of thickness. Your fish is cooked when it easily flakes apart with a fork.
Remember, food continues to cook for a few minutes after you take it off the heat, so remove the fish just as it starts to get flaky.
Tuna is another firm fish that you can cook this way. However, many people prefer this fish cooked rare to medium-rare. If that's the way you like it, just sear it quickly over high heat for a couple of minutes on each side.
An easy solution is to barbecue delicate fish in a foil parcel. Just place the fish with seasonings into a piece of foil, and seal up the edges and place it on the BBQ.
Cook the parcel for 3 to 5 minutes per side, depending on how thick the fish is. Open up a parcel to check for doneness, and if necessary, put it back on a cooler part of the BBQ for another minute or two.