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Unread 08-14-2011, 04:59 PM   #1
kevine
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Default Tips for grilling whole salmon

I got a fresh Alaskan salmon from a friend that was frozen right after it was caught during an Alaskan fishing trip. It's minus the head and tail, and cleaned. I'm going to use my Weber 22.5 with briquets and some mesquite lump.

Any tips on direct grilling it? I.e., temp and time? I'm just going to keep it simply and season with garlic salt, pepper and some rosemary, with butter and lemon. Just need to know, high heat? About how long?
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Unread 08-14-2011, 05:55 PM   #2
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I've only done a few whole salmon, but I often do whole trout. The good thing is that whole fish are an easy cook (many recipes use a foil step) and the meat stays moist. You can also put some aromatics inside the cavity (onions, lemons, herbs, etc.). The bones and skin also add some flavor. When they are done like this, they are more like a baked fish than a grilled fish, but you can leave the foil open during the early stages of the cook to get some smoke flavor in them.



The worst thing is, salmon has the same skeleton as trout do, and the bones turn some folks off. Even on a baked one when you lift out the backbone, small bones around the fins as well as the pin bones can remain. Because of this, I fillet them and remove both the rib bones and the pesky "chokers" which are the pin bones. Then I cook the sides with the skin on, never turning them. Or I plank them.





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Unread 08-14-2011, 06:15 PM   #3
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I LOVE salmon. Usually do filets...sorry no pics. But what I do is scale the skin, cut into large servings, remove the bones, smear unsalted butter on it and then season it with a little salt, pepper, and dill (go easy on it). Let it sit while you prep the pan. Get just a little oil and some lemon slices in the pan going, when the lemon starts to fall apart, get it out. Get the oil hot, then put the fish in skin down first, and season the non-skin side. DON'T TOUCH IT. Get a good sear, it's like you're making a fish skin chip that tastes absolutely awesome when it's like a potato chip (it's good for you too, just don't overdo the butter and oil). Flip in a few minutes, take out, total cook time around 8-9 minutes.
Whenever I'm in the doghouse, this always gets me out, btw

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Unread 08-14-2011, 06:24 PM   #4
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I wouldn't use mesquite, smells like feet and will overpower the fish!!!
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Unread 08-14-2011, 06:29 PM   #5
kevine
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Thanks for the tips!
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Unread 08-14-2011, 06:31 PM   #6
Al Czervik
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thirdeye View Post



I've only done a few whole salmon, but I often do whole trout. The good thing is that whole fish are an easy cook (many recipes use a foil step) and the meat stays moist. You can also put some aromatics inside the cavity (onions, lemons, herbs, etc.). The bones and skin also add some flavor. When they are done like this, they are more like a baked fish than a grilled fish, but you can leave the foil open during the early stages of the cook to get some smoke flavor in them.



The worst thing is, salmon has the same skeleton as trout do, and the bones turn some folks off. Even on a baked one when you lift out the backbone, small bones around the fins as well as the pin bones can remain. Because of this, I fillet them and remove both the rib bones and the pesky "chokers" which are the pin bones. Then I cook the sides with the skin on, never turning them. Or I plank them.





+1 on this method. I did up some fresh Coho / Sliver last week like this and it was the GAK!
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Unread 08-16-2011, 12:13 AM   #7
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I do skinless filets and use a basket. Use a very hot fire and about 3-4 minutes a side. I like the thickest part to not have changed color in the middle 1/2 to 1/3rd. I use mesquite (sponsor) and it works well. Remember the gloves when picking up the basket.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 05:04 AM   #8
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One thing I've noticed with fish is that it soaks up smoke like a sponge. I personally wouldn't do the mesquite. I did some tilapia the other day on Kingsford Blue with a small chunk of apple wood (smoke isn't as strong as mesquite). It turned out really good. I did it indirect at 350 to 400, on foil, rubbed with EVOO, salt, pepper and squeeze a fresh lime over it when it's served.

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Unread 08-16-2011, 07:03 AM   #9
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Take time to remove every bone like Thirdeye said. Foil it, leave the top open for first half hour or so and then wrap it up. I'd keep the heat pretty high (350°-400°) cooking indirect. Time will depend on how big it is. The 30-pound Coho below took a LONG time. Rare is 120°, medium 125° and well-done 130°F.




Here's the money shot before going on the grill.

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Unread 08-16-2011, 07:11 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El Lobo View Post
Take time to remove every bone like Thirdeye said. Foil it, leave the top open for first half hour or so and then wrap it up. I'd keep the heat pretty high (350°-400°) cooking indirect. Time will depend on how big it is. The 30-pound Coho below took a LONG time. Rare is 120°, medium 125° and well-done 130°F.

You sure that's a Coho? Looks like a Chinook with the black on the gums... 30 pounds is pushing close to world record Coho size. Still, a 30 lb Chinnok is quite a catch...
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Unread 08-16-2011, 08:12 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Al Czervik View Post
You sure that's a Coho? Looks like a Chinook with the black on the gums... 30 pounds is pushing close to world record Coho size. Still, a 30 lb Chinnok is quite a catch...
Sorry, mistyped. It was Chinook. The record Chinook was off the shore of a neighborhood river near me, nearly 48 pounds! I laugh as guys with $50,000 boats, downriggers, and finders try getting them every year and this dude on the shore with only a rod hooked the monster. I digress.
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Unread 08-16-2011, 08:18 AM   #12
Al Czervik
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^^^^^ That's poetic justice right there! That had to be an epic battle. I'm sure your thirty pounder put up quite a fight so you can just imagine adding 18 pounds on top and trying to rassle it into shore.
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