How to Grill Fish on a Charcoal Grill

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  June 24, 2021

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Grilling fish is not the same as grilling pork or other meat. As a matter of fact, even the most expert griller would find this a challenge.

The fish could get stuck into the grate and when you take it off, it could fall into pieces! To improve your fish grilling experience, here are some tips how to grill fish on a charcoal grill.

These tips are applicable to all kinds of fishes including swordfish, tuna, and salmon.


Tips & Trick How to Grill Fish

Don’t Overdo It

Remember that unlike pork and other meats, the muscle structure of seafood and fish is not that firm. Therefore, in order to prevent them from getting mushy, limit the amount of time you marinade the fresh fish. They must be marinated for only a few hours, unlike the other meats that can be marinated overnight.

Make a Big Fire

When grilling fish, don’t hesitate to apply high heat. Doing so can help to produce a bit of a crust-like texture on the outer surface of the fish and this can prevent the fish from sticking. With the crust, it will be much easier to remove the grilled fish from the grill grate. Remember that the thinner the fish, the higher the heat that you should apply.

Avoid Flip-Flopping

Remember that whenever you flip the fish on the grill, there’s a chance of sticking. So try to limit the number of times that you flip the fish.

Quick Finish

It’s recommended that one side of the fish must be grilled longer than the other side. This is to produce a nice crust. Furthermore, when grilling while the lid is closed, the second side would start to cook while the first side is still on the grate. Thus, the second side won’t really need to stay long on the grill grate.

How to Grill Fish on a Charcoal Grill

Grill fish it not hard just keep an eye on it everything will be Done easy as ease

  1. Light up the grill
    Start the fire up coals with a chimney, Use medium heat so you will wait for the coals ready about 20-25 minutes or until ash coating the coalslight-up-charcoal
  2. Prepare the grill
    Put the coals on the one side of the grill you will have a hot and cool area then clean out the grate make sure that it clean. Season the grill and then ready to go.prepare-the-grill
  3. Season the fish
    Pat the fish dry with a paper towel brush with olive oil and then season it with salt and pepper or marinated fish about two hours, if you don’t have marinade vid below here. Fish good to go now.pat-dry-the-fishseason-the-fish
  4. Grilling the fish
    Throw the fish in a grill by the skin down then close the lid and set a timer for about 4 minutes. If you would like the mark put the fish 45° on the grate after 2-minute twist fish the opposite way to cook it for about 2 minutes. 4 minute passed you going to flip it and continues to cook it after 3 minutes check doneness fish cooked will easily flake apart or internal temp reaching 145°F. Then take out of the grill.grilling-the-fish

Note1: The rule for grill fish is it take to cook about 10 minutes for every 1 inch of thickness. But I recommended 8 minutes

Note2: Foods continue to cook after taking out of the heat about a few minutes

Video on how to marinate fish:

How Do You Grill Fish Without It Sticking?

Preheating the grill for a much longer time can help to reduce the amount of time needed for your fish to cook and keep it from sticking on the grate. This also helps to provide a crisp texture to the fish and the grill marks can help to enhance the flavor and aesthetics of the grilled fish fillets.

How Long Does It Take to Grill Fish?

Generally, it would take 10 minutes to cook an inch of the fish or around 3 to 5 minutes for each side. Make sure you lower the heat to medium and cover the grill while the fish is being cooked.

What Temperature Should Fish be Grilled at?

Your fish should reach an internal temperature of around 145 °F in order for it to be considered cooked. It should produce an opaque color, and the meat should flake easily when you stick the fork to it. So use a meat thermometer and check if the internal temperature of the fish has reached 145 °F.

How Do You Cook Frozen Fish on the Grill?

When the fish is cooked from frozen, start by

  1. preheating the grill to medium or high heat.
  2. Place the fish in the middle of the foil while the skin side is down. You can put some lemon, orange, or lime slices on top of the fish.
  3. Fold the foil’s longer sides and press the top portion together. Fold them down a few times in order to fully seal the packet.
  4. Place the packed fish into the grill while the seam side is facing up.
  5. Cook the thinner portion of the fish for around 8 minutes while the thicker portion should be cooked for approximately 10 minutes.

Then take the fish from the grill and brush with unsalted butter. Finally season with salt and pepper or any seasoning that you desire.

How To Cook Fish

Cooking fish requires a simple technique that we will show you in this nutrition report. We show you the best way to prepare cooked fish, fried fish, or battered fish. You’ll also find tips for defrosting fish or cooking baked fish.


Find out how to fry and cook fish properly while keeping all its nutritional properties intact.

Do We Know How to Cook Fish? You Will Gain in Flavor, Texture, and Health

How to cook fish is not the same to cook as to fry, to do in the oven, to the grill or in microwaves. In each case, the heat penetrates the food differently and requires different ways of acting.

Fish, especially white fish such as hake, has high water content. Therefore, the main objective when cooking it will be to prevent it from being lost, as a carrier, nothing more and nothing less than the specific taste and consistency of this food, as well as part of its nutritional value.

Should Fish be Thawed Before Cooking?

Thawing frozen fish before preparation is not necessary if it is of good quality and does not have too much glazing (covered with a thin layer of outer ice). To cooked or fried fish, it is enough to remove it from the freezer a few minutes before its preparation. In any case, it will require a few more minutes in the fire, and the result will be perfect.

How to Cook The Fish So That It Does Not Lose Its Properties

  • Pass the fish through the freshwater jet.
  • Put water to cook and season it with salt and, at will, with other spices, such as a bay leaf, parsley, oregano, etc.
  • Watch the temperature: the water should never boil, as the fish is cooked at 70ºC, and at 100ºC its structure begins to be destroyed. When it looks like it is going to boil, lower the heat and leave it at that pre-ebullición temperature during the ten or twenty minutes, it takes to make the fish.
  • This will prevent the portion from twisting in the casserole, breaking its skin and, with the force of cooking, losing a good part of its juices. If the cooking reaches boiling point, it is advisable to remove the container from the fire and let it “stabilize” thermally, without adversely affecting the food inside, which can remain in the tank for a while without losing the point.

Some portions lend themselves better to cooking, the thicker ones, such as loins, centers, hearts or whiting.

So That Your Fried Fish is At Its Point… Remember The Following Points:

A fried fish that has not been appropriately prepared will be dry, soaked in oil and hard, unpleasant to the palate. Similarly, a fish cooked incorrectly will be tasteless, fibrous, and with a regular presentation, because, in the pot, it will have lost its muscular structure and integrity, as well as its shape.


The fried fish will always be at its point if you follow these steps:

  • Heat the oil progressively until it reaches the frying temperature. A small piece of bread in the oil will be the best thermometer. If it falls to the bottom of the frying pan and does not rise, the oil is less than 150º, too cold to fry the fish. If the bread falls to the bottom and rises slowly, the temperature of the oil is 160º.
  • At 180º, the rises rapidly, and it is time to fry the fish. If the bread is not submerged and cooked quickly, the oil will be at 190º, maximum temperature. Never reach the “smoke point” because of the oil degrades.
    Introduce foods without ice so that the temperature of the oil does not fall and frying is prolonged unnecessarily, increasing the caloric value of the product.
  • Do not cover the frying pan completely and allow the water vapors generated by frying to escape.
    Place the breaded fried foods on absorbent paper for a few seconds to remove the excess oil.
    To fry, do not mix olive oil or seed oil and change the oil every 5 or 6 fried if it is olive, and some less if it is a sunflower.

How to Prepare Battered Fish


The battered fish is prepared following these steps:

  1. Pass the fish through the freshwater jet.
  2. Season it with salt “better if it is fine,” leaving it about 10/15 minutes to take it well.
  3. At will, but generally, with perfect results, squeeze a little lemon on it. With it, the fish reaffirms its consistency, and its meat acquires an excellent white color.
  4. Dry it lightly with a cloth before wiping it with flour, as the floured fish must be dehydrated and with a thin layer of powder well adhered to the meat. You can go to the frying pan if you do not want to batter. If you opt for the batter, you will then go through beaten egg, to which you can add a splash of water or, better still, milk.
  5. The oil should be very hot before it starts to smoke, and the oil should be abundant and the frying pan rather deep, so that the fish will be swimming while frying. Do not overfill the frying pan with fish portions, as this will lower the frying temperature more than necessary so that the fish will end up “cooking” and absorbing more oil than it should. In this way, a frying crust is formed on both sides that act as a barrier, preventing the muscular water of the fish from evaporating and, consequently, from drying out.
  6. Ideally, once the portion of the frying pan has been removed, place it on a grid or absorbent paper, so that you will lose the excess oil. Serve hot.

The best way to fry is with smaller cuts or portions of fish, such as fillets, ventresca or thin slices.

…and For Griddle, Oven, Frying Pan, How Should I Proceed?

In the case of fried fish, grilled fish and grilled fish, proceed oppositely. Before cooking, it must be ensured that the heat source is available, high, stable, and not overcooked.

We only have to worry about the “point” that we want to give to the fish, guiding us by the changes of color in its surface (more or less toasted). When the fish is removed from the griddle, oven or frying pan, it will still be cooked for a while, due to the intense heat received in the process. In the case of fried fish, it is essential to serve it quickly so that it is crisp and does not clump.

Related: How to grill your catfish

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.