How Not to Fail at Cooking Fish on your Barbie


It has been a very hot summer and having a barbeque is ideal to make things easier and to enjoy the outdoors. Read on to get some great tips for your next BBQ.

Oh fish. That tricky customer. So easy to undercook, so easy to overcook. So easy to miss a bone. So easy to season it badly. So easy to have it stick to the grill.

So what’s the secret to not failing at cooking fish on the barbeque? How can you avoid these potential disasters? Here’s a quick “how not to” guide for all your fishy barbecue cooking needs.

Pete Evans: Grilled Fish with Miso – Recipe to be found at

Pete Evans: Grilled Fish with Miso – Recipe to be found at

How to not choose a bad fish for the barbeque

You know how some fish varieties have delicate, flaky flesh? Yeah, steer right away from those. Choose a thicker, more steak-like type of fish if you plan on throwing a fillet or two on the barbie. Think salmon, tuna or swordfish.

How to not have your fish stick to the grill

If you plan on throwing your fish directly onto the grill, it is essential to clean it thoroughly first. If you have any residue from last week’s meal hanging out still, your fish will stick. And it will fall apart. And you will have failed at cooking fish on your barbecue. Use a stiff-wired grill brush and some paper towel to do the job. If there’s gunk baked into the surface, you’ll need something more heavy duty. You might need to go to your local bbq store to find the right tool for the job. Barbeques Galore usually has a decent selection.

The second fish-sticking prevention method is to oil the grill grate. Don’t be stingy with the oil – you want a good coating to avoid any sticky spots! Alternatively, avoid the whole issue and just wrap your fish in foil.

How to not season your fish poorly

As a rule of thumb, good fish doesn’t need a lot of seasoning. Being heavy-handed will most likely end up with you ruining a perfectly tasty fillet of fish with unnecessary flavours. Throw a bit of salt and pepper on there, add a lick of oil if you want, and away you go. If you are putting the fish directly on the grill, don’t use any sugar-based marinades (unless you like your fish sticking to the grill, of course).

How to not undercook or overcook

Fish cooks quickly, so don’t make the mistake of throwing it on the grill and then heading in the kitchen to prepare a salad or something. Most fillets of fish will be good to go with 3-5 minutes cooking per side. Add a bit if you are working with a particularly big fillet. Look for the flesh turning opaque as a clue for when it is done.

How to not miss a bone

This takes a good eye, a steady hand, and, of course, practice. If you are deboning your fish yourself, look out for the pin bones and use a pair of needle-nose pliers (clean, preferably) to nail these suckers. There are plenty of online guides to show you how to locate and remove bones from fish, so take advantage of the thorough guides and learn to how to prepare your fish from start to finish!

Here is a video of Gordon Ramsay deboning and skinning a piece of salmon. This video Gordon gives you a great tutorial on how to do it and of course makes it look so easy.

If you love a good barbequed fish, don’t shy away because of the potential for mishandling your fish. Have a go, and keep trying until you get it right!

What’s your best tip for cooking fish on the barbie? As a fish lover I would love to hear more tips and tricks for some yummy meals.

Check out some yummy fish recipes from Barbeques Galore


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