Whole Salmon on the Grill

So I was buying a frozen pizza for dinner tonight and did my usual drive-by the butcher’s section and they had whole wild salmon, $1.99 a pound! They look to be about 3-4 lbs each.

I want to put one on the grill, but have never done it. Usually because a whole fish is a lot of cash for just the two of us. I just can’t pass up that price, not when they are also charging $4.99 each for the 5 oz fillets I usually buy. So what should I do with a whole salmon on the grill? How can I be sure to not screw it up?

First get a cedar plank and soak it for several hours.
Then mix together
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon black pepper, garlic powder, dried basil and paprika
Half tablespoon dried tarragon

Slather it all over the salmon. Put on plank. Cover and grill until flaky.

Add a dill sauce if you like

Errr… plank side up or down? >.> Fire under the plank?

Never done a whole one, but I do filets all the time on the grill. You can buy the whole fish and cut it either into steaks or cut it in half down the spine. Not a filet, but easy to do.

Rick’s Maple Glazed Cajun Planked Salmon
Soak a cedar plank for at least 30 minutes
Seafood magic (or other cajun spice)
Maple syrup
Salmon, filet or steak

Light bbq, when ready
Place fish skin side down on plank
Season with Cajun seasoning
Drizzle on maple syrup
Place plank on BBQ
Cook until done
Remove whole plank and serve
NOTE: bottom of the plank will be hot and may have embers burning on it, do not place on anything that can be damaged by this, and dispose of plank carefully.

Mix in a bowl a cup or so of Mr Yoshidas marinade. Add some worchestershire sauce and some soy sauce (3 and 6 tablespoons, respectively.) Add a couple tbsp. of brown sugar. Mix well. Place couple sheets of aluminum foil on grill with all edges rolled up. Place salmon on foil, pour marinade mix over. Sprinkle fish with lemon pepper, then cover with many lemon slices and a couple pats of butter. Make double sure liquid will stay on foil. Cook over medium heat until skin turns grey and meat is flaky, about half an hour.


Filet it first
Spread on a mixture of brown sugar, soy sauce, and ginger. Grill on tinfoil

All of these recipes and replies assume you have a nice cleaned salmon fillet!

The thing to take away from that is - if you can’t clean a fish, find someone who can.

The mess, cleanup and PITA factor - that is why a whole salmon is cheaper than a prepared filet.

I don’t know anyone who throws a whole salmon on the grill or in the oven - the fish is simply too big. It must be prepared before cooking.

That being said, all of these recipes sound good. But don’t be afraid to use your imagination. I had a big piece of salmon ready to cook and went into the fridge for “stuff”. What I found was some pineapple, and nothing else. But I had some lemons on the counter, so I did a lemon, pepper and pineapple salmon (with pieces of lemon and pineapple cooked with the fish in the oven). It was great. Pretty much anything you throw on salmon will be great as long as it is cooked well.

Just don’t throw the whole fish on the grill!

Salmon on plank. Plank on fire. The soaking will stop it from bursting into flames.

Why not? I doubt the store is selling the fish with the guts intact, but maybe it needs to be scaled. If the grill is big enough, build a two-level fire, ensure that the grate is well-cleaned and oiled (at least 10 swipes with a vegetable oil-soaked towel). Stuff the fish with aromatics (lemon and orange slices, some onion, some garlic, dill, etc.). Oil the skin, salt and pepper, start on the hot side of the grill for a couple of minutes per side and finish to desired doneness on cool side.

They do appear to be guts out cleaned but probably not scaled. Thanks for the different ideas. They are small enough to fit on my kettle type grill easily (3-4 lbs, tops).

If you cook it right on the grill, have a plan for getting it off the grill to turn it and when it’s done. Cooked salmon is going to be flaky and want to come apart. (This is why people tend to cook on planks, aluminum foil, etc.) At the minimum you’ll want a couple spatulas to get underneath and lift the fish without the whole thing coming apart.

Maybe a nitpick, but I think that is overcooking fish. I prefer to cook until not quite done, wrap in foil, and allow a 5 to 10 minute standing time. Yumm!

Not a nitpick at all. Salmon should be cooked no more than medium. Any more than that its dry and flavorless.

This is really easy to do and a good suggestion. Just cut that sucker down the back and remove the bones with a pair of pliers. Shouldn’t take more that 5 minutes, 10 tops (much easier of you take off the head first). Now you have a nice side of salmon to marinade and grill and another to wrap and store for later. If as you say there’s just 2 of you 4 lbs. of salmon is quite a bit of overkill for one meal.

Filet it out, turn one filet into grav lax and the other can be grilled. Hors d’oeuvres and dinner =)

Actually, I think it definitely is a YMMV thing. I like my steak medium rare but fish to me tastes weird and gelatinous unless it’s medium well, or cooked through the center.

Good luck! This sounds yummy. I was stupid enough not to do a plank or foil on the grill when I first grilled salmon (last week, as a matter a fact); it very nearly fell apart on me.

If you cook on or wrapped in foil, you end up with fried or steamed salmon - not my favorite. Have not tried the cedar plank method but I see that Amazon sells them.

As noted above, fish is easy on a well greased grill - just flip it once and you are fine. I have also used a teflon grill skillet - like this. You can also use one of those wire grill baskets used for hamburgers.

What is the absolute least cleaning one can get away with if they’re willing to remove the meat from the skin AFTER cooking? Can you skip de-scaling ever?

I always grill fish (fillets) skin side down. Then, taking the fish off the grill I slide my spatula between the skin and the flesh and leave the skin on the grill. I then get the skin off the grill, for the dogs.:smiley:

Lucky dogs! Crispy grilled salmon skin is better than the meat, IMHO.