How to Grill Perfect Seafood Every Time!

Grill Perfect Seafood

Fall is the perfect season to break out the grill while on your OBX vacation. Whether you want to enjoy fresh seafood from one of the many vendors on the OBX or enjoy your own fresh catch you'll love the way seafood turns out on the grill. Don't forget to check out our previous post: Everything You Need To Know About Fall Fishing Charters On The OBX if you're looking to get out on the water this fall. Today we are going to give you everything you need to know about grilling and purchasing seafood. So get out that apron, turn up the football game and fire up the grill.

The Setup 

The Setup

So you have your favorite it's time grill it to perfection. Like anything preparation is everything, especially when grilling seafood. The first step is making sure you have a clean grill. All those little bits of food and carbon may be proud reminders of your past grilling, but it's time for a fresh start. A dirty grill will cause your food to have an acrid and foul taste, destroying all your hard work so make sure not to skip this crucial step.

Whether you use charcoal or gas grills both work well for cooking seafood. Propane is a bit easier for the less experienced grill masters. Temperatures and clean up are also a bit easier with gas grills. Setting up your grill is easy. Here are ten tips to help you setup your grill. 

Ten Tips To Setting Up the Perfect Grill

  1. Clean Grills are Happy Grills. Start by making sure you have a clean grate. Use a strong wire brush to loosen and remove old grit, food, or carbon build up.
  2. Careful of Wire Brushes. After using the wire brush, take a wet cloth and wipe the grates to ensure you haven't left small bits of the brush on the grill. Paper-towels also work fine.
  3. Burn Baby Burn. Set the heat on high and let the grate get really hot for at least 15 minutes. This will burn off any old oil, sauces, food particles and carbon build up. Reach in the cooler and grab your favorite beverage...this is critical, we're grilling after all.
  4. It Matters What Charcoal You Use small briquettes work well but are not ideal as they tend to give off a faster heat. Look for larger blocks of charcoal
  5. Temperature is Everything. Set up the temperatures on the grill. Designate a cool area on the grill. If using charcoal place coals in a pile on only one side of the grill.
  6. Create a Non-Stick Surface.Using a pair of tongs, soak a paper-towel in oil and then apply the oil to grate of the grill
  7. Time is on your side.Get a timer, or use one on your phone, seafood cooks quickly.
  8. Get a light. If grilling in the dark have a light available so you can keep an eye on the grill. Never wash your grill grates in the dishwasher, the oils on the grates will coat the inside of dishwasher causing a huge mess.
  9. Avoid Lighter Fluid may be great for starting a fire but it has no place on the grill. Using it will generally cause your seafood (which easily absorbs flavors) to taste...well like lighter fluid. 
  10. Check Your Propane Level nothing is worse than running out of propane half-way thru cooking dinner.

Time to Cook 

Time to cook

Now you're ready to grill!  Seafood is surprisingly easy to cook and really there is almost nothing you can't throw on the grill. However, There are also several tools and tricks that can make this a lot less intimidating. Here are our best ten tips and tricks for grilling different types of seafood:


Ten Tips For Cooking Perfect Seafood on the Grill

  1. Keep the Skin On. This helps hold the fish together making it easier to manage on the grill. Some fish like trout have great tasty crispy skin when grilled, other types of fish have skin that is easily removed after cooking.
  2. Get Some Skewers (disposable wood ones are fine), and be sure to soak them in water for 20 minutes before using them. Skewers are especially great for grilling scallops and shrimp. Why flip each shrimp or scallop when you can flip them all at one time on skewers? Try grilling fish on a plank.
  3. Grilling Planks are inexpensive and add a nice smokey flavor to fish. This method is perhaps the simplest. Soak the plank for a couple hours prior to grilling. Place the fish on the plank and let it cook to completion, no flipping required. When using a plank be sure to turn down the heat a bit. Also, be prepared for slightly longer cooking times when using a plank.
  4. Buy a Fsh Basket. This secret weapon instantly turns a novice into a pro. These baskets clamp the fish between two grates. This allows easy flipping and even cooking without the fear of the fish sticking to the grill. Be sure to spray the grate with cooking spray prior to placing the fish in the basket.
  5. Marinades Unlike steak or chicken, it is best to marinade fish after cooking. Fish are a gentler type of protein, and if you marinade the fish prior to cooking it has a tendency to fall apart.
  6. Get the Right Cut Larger fish like Halibut, Swordfish and Tuna steaks should be prepared by the fish monger in at least one inch thick steaks.
  7. The Delicate Fish Some fish require some extra care when grilling. For example, with delicate fish, you will want to grill the fish on a piece of tinfoil that is lined with parchment paper. This will ensure the fillet will not stick to the grill.
  8. Tinfoil is Your Friend and has many uses. Fish can be placed in a foil packet and placed straight on the grill. This works really well for cooking a whole fish. Tinfoil is also a great way prevent the fish from sticking to the grill. 
  9. Temperature Is Everything and seafood loves to be cooked on Med-High. Med-High is around 375-450. An easy way to check for this temp is to hold your hand about four inches above the grill. IF you have to remove it in 4-5 seconds then you are in the Med-High range. 
  10. Well Oiled Grills Work Best. Seafood has a tendency to stick to the grill. Therefore it is important that not only is the grill clean, but also well oiled prior to cooking

Now that you're ready to grill seafood like a pro, hit the local markets or catch some local seafood on our beautiful OBX waters. Whether surf casting, on a charter, or pier fishing we have the perfect vacation rental for you this fall to get you fishing our beautiful waters. With the temperatures cooling off and beautiful fall sea breezes blowing off shore, it is the perfect time to fire up the grill on the OBX. Still looking for the perfect vacation? We have lots of vacation specials just waiting to be enjoyed by your family. 


Have a favorite recipe? We would love to hear about it. Follow us on Facebook or leave a comment below about your favorite seafood recipe.

 Grill Perfect Seafood Pin

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