Craving seafood? Then skip the drive-through and the two piece combo jumbo sized with extra hushpuppies and get your grill fired up! Then, when you grilling and getting ready to serve up some amazing seafood, you can spin all of your fishing stories. Including the big one that got away. But for now – let’s fire up your grill and get some shrimp, filets, or scallops ready to hit the grates! The possibilities are endless between types of seafood and seasonings.
Unlimited Cut and Flavor Combinations
That’s not a joke… literally, the number of different ways you can go with seafood is crazy. Many types of seafood are perfect for cooking on a grill over open flames or heat. That includes everything from panfish, shrimp, and scallops to grouper, flounder, as well as shark and tuna filets. There are more exotic items, such as squid, but for the BBQ Dragon Blog, we are keeping things basic. I suggest, in case you’ve not jumped into the seafood side of grilling yet, is to stick with something familiar. For me, I’m going grouper! It’s delicate and yet a bit hearty in size. It has a light flavor but can handle bold seasonings.
Speaking of seasonings, that’s where the combinations begin to skyrocket. You can go blackened Cajun, or Creole, to southern style hot fish. Or, add Cuban seasonings, or tropical Hawaiian flavors, or Oriental. How about flavors from Europe, the Middle East, and other regional ethnic flavors. I guess the point is this; everything from delicate fish fillets to hearty seafood cuts such as shark steaks, shellfish, and other seafood dishes can be prepared in a variety of manners using a crazy number of cuisine flavors from around the world. The trick is to use a light hand when cooking seafood in a covered grill as you don’t want the smoke, or the spices you choose, to overwhelm the natural flavors.
The Seafood Seasoning Grilling Hack
OK, so we know that fish fillets and lots of other seafood items lend themselves to all types of seasoning. The trick is to limit the time the seasoning stays on the fillet before grilling because seafood absorbs seasoning quicker than beef! Butter, pepper and a squeeze of lemon or lime juice work perfectly. Or you can go the Cajun route with a blackening seasoning or Creole as mentioned above. Don’t forget Italian, Mediterranean, Cuban, and other culinary flavorings. Sprinkle with seasoning, cover and chill the fillets while your grill is preheating, then grill and serve!
Here’s the hack. Remember that for the majority of seafood, the meat is delicate and can quickly be overpowered if overly seasoned or kept in a marinade for too long. don’t get me wrong – you can go bold when it comes to flavor – just don’t let your choice of seasonings or marinades stay on too long before grilling. Bold for a thin filet of white fish may be a drizzle of lime juice and a sprinkle of seasonings just before grilling. Bold for a seafood steak could be several minutes in a marinade after being rubbed with a spice combination. And, if you check out the BBQ Dragon blog, there’s an amazing seafood rub post which we are going to take advantage of for this article.
Buying Fresh Seafood
You can’t get much fresher than catching your own! But in case you are heading to the fish market or seafood department of your grocery store, then you may need some quick notes on the best way to select fresh seafood. The USDA recommends that whole fish packed in ice should have eyes that are crisp and clear, the gills should be red or pink, not white which is an indicator that all blood has drained away because the fish has sat too long. In addition, scales should be shiny and crisp not dull. But the smell is the biggest tip!
“Fish should smell fresh and mild, not fishy, sour, or ammonia-like.” – USDA
Grilled Fish Fillets with Parmesan Mayo and Lemon
I prefer using cod, halibut or swai filets for this recipe but you can pick the fish you enjoy the most.
- 4 skinless fillets, your choice
- Seafood Rub HERE
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese grated
- 2 tablespoons butter softened
- 1 1/2 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1-2 dash hot pepper sauce
- Lemon or lime slices, juice reserved
Directions: First, Preheat your grill and set up for low medium-low heat direct grilling. If things get too hot, consider grabbing the BBQ Dragon Spinning Grilling Grate, you can quickly and easily spin the fish to a cooler part of the grill if the filets are cooking too fast. Next, combine the Parmesan cheese, butter, mayonnaise, and a few drops of the lemon juice in a bowl. Brush each fillet with butter, and sprinkle generously with seafood rub. Grill using a foil boat, directly on grates, or with a grilling basket or tray. Grill covered for 2-3 minutes then top each fillet with parmesan mayo mixture and lemon slices. Cover and grill for an additional 4-5 minutes. Grilling time will vary depending on temperature and thickness. Serve hot when fish flakes with ease! Here’s a look at the spinning grilling grate in case you were wondering what the next cool item you were going to pick up for your grill collection was going to be.
Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at www.thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.