Fish on The Grill Top
~Chef Perry Perkins~
While really more like steaming or poaching, than grilling, foil wraps ( or, as we used to call them in Troop 651, "hobo packs") certainly have a place in the outdoor chef's bag of tricks. Foil wrapping is great for combining the flavors of fruits, vegetables, fresh herbs, or marinades with your fish, while protecting them from charring or drying out over direct heat.
Trout is a fish I'm very familiar with, and the thin skin and flaky meat can be a pain on the grill, but wrapping them in foil ( with a little salt, pepper, lemon slices, and fresh herbs) vastly reduces the difficulty.
You end up with a lot more fish on your plate, and a lot less falling through the grates, by foil wrapping.
You'll want to use a piece of foil about twice as large as the fish you want to grill. If it's a large piece of fish, or you're adding lots of other goodies to the pouch, plan to double-wrap it. Start your foil packet on the hot grill, smooth-side down, over direct heat. Cook a 1-2 inch thick piece of fish, unopened, for about 10 minutes, flipping once. Remove from the heat and let rest, sealed, for another five.
Open 'er up and check for doneness ( fish should flake easily) and either serve immediately, or close back up and keep cooking in five-minute intervals.
We eat a lot of salmon and steelhead here in the Pacific Northwest, and grilling fish on soaked wooden planks ( as the local Native Americans have for thousands of years) ensures moist, mildly smoky fish. It's super-simple, too, with no danger of disasters from flipping...'cause you don't!
It's pretty cool!
While salmon is by far the fish most commonly cooked on a wood plank, you can grill just about any kind of fish or seafood you want using this method ( it's awesome for shrimp!)
You'll want to soak the plank for a couple of hours in clean water, and then bring your grill up to about 400 F ( medium high). Lay your cleaned and prepped fish, skin side down, on the plank, and set the whole thing over indirect heat (turn off one burner on a gas grill or moving the coals in a charcoal grill to one side), and close the lid. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the fish is cooked through, or when the internal temperature reaches 135 F
Oh, and don't sweat it if the plank starts to burn, or even catches on fire while grilling. The plank usually chars around the edges, and as long as it doesn't reach the meat, it's all good.
So there you go! Hot and healthy, fast and delicious...try these new methods on your own grill and you'll see that fish and fire were made for each other!
~ Chef Perry
Chef Perry P. Perkins comes from a long line of professional cooks.
As a third generation chef, he focuses his love of cooking on barbeque, traditional southern fare, and fresh Northwest cuisine.
Perry runs a non-profit organization. MY KITCHEN Outreach Program, which teaches nutrition, shopping, and hands on cooking classes or at risk youth.
His cookbooks include La Caja China Cooking, La Caja China World, and La Caja China Party.