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Sticky fish

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    Sticky fish

    I've had a difficult time preventing fish from sticking on the grill. (Usually I make halibut or salmon filets about 3/4 to 1 inch thick.)

    I've sprayed and wiped down the grates with canola oil or olive oil, added olive oil to the fish, and even tried grill grates flat side up fully wiped with oil. I've used high and medium temps with no differences. The fish always seems to stick and leave small pieces when I remove it with a spatula. I just made a cedar planked salmon and had the same issue. Next time I'll try putting lemon slices under the fish, but I wondered if I'm missing something obvious.



      I use Mayo and put a little black pepper in the Mayo.


        Get used to 2 things in life. Taxes and fish sticking to the grill...... for everything else there is beer.


        • bbqLuv
          bbqLuv commented
          Editing a comment
          Yeh, there is Happy Grilling to go with that beer (PBR).
          Last edited by bbqLuv; April 16, 2021, 05:24 AM.

        Aside from what you are already doing, I think it is what it is. I do not flip until it is as loose as possible on the grates, but for me fish just will stick...


          I use these, they work great.
          Frogmats (US)
          Frogmats Canada


          • Texas Larry
            Texas Larry commented
            Editing a comment
            +4 on Frogmats or some version thereof. Works great for me.

          • smokenoob
            smokenoob commented
            Editing a comment
            Frog mats! But I must admit, I never tried frog on em!

          • BBQPhil
            BBQPhil commented
            Editing a comment
            Company seems to out of business. Website partially broken and dealers they list with URLs go to dead pages.

          Sometimes the timing for oiling the girl grates may help. It is my understanding at least for stainless steel it is best to get to a temp of about 350*F and then grease the pan.
          Also, I have found that moving the protein when first placing down puts a sear and helps prevent sticking.
          Happy grilling to you and PBR too.


            I wonder if the cold grate technique would work? Here's what I would try:

            Don't put the gate in the grill until the coals are ready.
            Oil the fish, or the grate, or both and place the grate on the grill.
            Leave until you think the grate is getting hot. Meanwhile, oil the next section of the grate.
            Move the fish over to the freshly oiled section and rotate.
            Repeat until done.


              Although I still agree the best solution is the use of Frogmats (or similar products), lemon slices work really well. You also get the benefits of the lemon flavor and insulation from heat.

              Also remember, like any protein you have to wait for the fish to properly cook and release from the grate. A lot of folks make the mistake of wanting to flip before it’s time to do so.


                The only method that has really worked for me is, go to a fine fish restaurant and order it. Otherwise, no matter on a grill or griddle, it always sticks to some degree. Mayo does work a bit better than other oils for me on my griddle and at lower heat to get a nice sear on the fish without over cooking.

                Frogmats are great, but are not designed to work over if they will be exposed to direct heat like a grill over coals or flame.


                  For delicate fish I've used the layer of lemon with success. For salmon, I do indirect, baskets off to the side, foil on the charcoal grate under fish. I'll lay the fish away from coals, skin down if it has it, and will not flip. I have two largeish spatulas that I use to lift off the grate when finished.


                    If I have fish with the skin on, my preference is to grill it with the skin side down until done -- I don't flip the fish, so the cut side never touches the hot grill surface. If I don't have skin-on fish, I cook it with just one side down and don't flip, but it does stick more.

                    I like to use the GrillGrates with the flat side up and well oiled. I heat the grates to a moderate temp, not screaming hot. I make sure the fish is dried well and spray or otherwise coat it generously with oil.

                    After putting the fish on the grill, I try to keep moving the fish around a wee bit until the skin (or flesh on the grate side) cooks slightly and becomes less sticky. If it sticks hard right away, which sometimes happens, I let it be and see if it will release better after it cooks.

                    I'm surprised your cedar-planked fish stuck. I use a preheated plank and the fish basically bakes on the plank, so there's really no reason for it to stick.


                    • chudzikb
                      chudzikb commented
                      Editing a comment
                      This is what I do, sadly, I will not cook fish without skin, just how I have learned to do it over time. Just works better for me.

                    I've had good luck with aluminum foil not much larger than the piece of fish. I'm not looking to shield the sides just cover the bottom. Flipping the fish is not an option, but it's not needed. On stripper fillets with the skin on one side it makes it easier if the foil sticks. When you turn them out on a plate all you have to do is lift the foil off, the skin and red meat stay stuck to it. You're left with a beautiful white flaky fillet. I haven't tried non-stick foil yet.


                      Used frog mats today to grill salmon. It was soooo tasty.

                      do y’all flip your salmon? I tried and it worked well, but curious what others do?
                      Attached Files


                      • smokenoob
                        smokenoob commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I like to sear the flesh side first then finish with skin side down, gives it a nice grilled look and taste vs baked


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