Menu Icon Menu Print Icon Print Email Icon Email Reading List Icon Reading List Product Icon Product Fire Icon Fire Grill guide Icon Grill guide Beef Icon Beef Poultry Icon Poultry Chicken Icon Chicken Pork Icon Pork All Icon All Country Icon Country Seafood Icon Seafood Fruit and Veggies Icon Fruit and Veggies Vegetables Icon Vegetables Hamburger Icon Hamburger Spatula Icon Spatula Thermometer High Icon Thermometer High Thermometer Medium Icon Thermometer Medium Thermometer Low Icon Thermometer Low Tree Icon Tree Nose Icon Nose Picnic Table Icon Picnic Table Smoke Icon Smoke Table Clock Icon Clock Clock 10 Icon Clock 10 Clock 15 Icon Clock 15 Match Icon Match Grill Icon Grill Clean Grill Icon Clean Grill Arm Icon Arm Oven Icon Oven Charcoal Icon Charcoal Charcoalpile Icon Charcoalpile Charcoalpile 2 Icon Charcoalpile 2 Search Icon Search Right Arrow Icon Right Arrow Left Arrow Icon Left Arrow Down Arrow Icon Down Arrow Facebook Icon Facebook Twitter Icon Twitter Instagram Icon Instagram Pinterest Icon Pinterest Google Plus Icon Google Plus Youtube Icon Youtube Cloudy Weather Icon Cloudy Weather Sunny Weather Icon Sunny Weather Snow Weather Icon Snow Weather Rain Weather Icon Rain Weather Partly Cloudy Weather Icon Partly Cloudy Weather Charcoal on fire icon Charcoal on fire has moved to Kingsford Country. The all-new features how-tos, recipes, product info and news about the latest in BBQ. Slow down and BBQ with Kingsford. OK, got it
Skip to content

How to: fish fillets on the BBQ or cedar plank

The secret to flavorful, perfectly barbecued fish fillets.

Barbecuing fish at home is easy, delicious, and costs so much less than going out. Follow these six easy steps using Kingsford® Charcoal and your fish fillets will come out moist, flaky, and delicious every time.

  1. kfd-howtoporkchops-2Stage_0394

    Fire up the grill

    For barbecuing fish fillets, you want to set up a direct heat, [two-zone], medium-hot fire. Fire up a full chimney of Kingsford® Original Charcoal, or light a pile of about 100 briquettes. When the coals are ready, replace the top grate and allow it to heat up.

  2. kfd-[Food_Technique_Fish_Fillets]-[KINGSFORD_05_21_15_HOW_TO_CAM_A-0495]

    Clean and oil grate

    The key to barbecuing fish fillets is a very clean and hot grate that’s been well oiled; otherwise the fillets will stick and fall apart. Scrub and oil the grate twice. Dip a folded paper towel in cooking oil and oil the entire clean grate using long-handled tongs.

  3. 3

    Prep the fillet

    Rinse the fillet in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel. Run your fingers over the fish, feeling for bones, and remove them with kitchen tweezers. Very lightly oil both sides of the fillet with cooking oil, which will help prevent it from sticking to the grate. Season the fish as you like. Keep the fish refrigerated until the coals are ready—you don’t need to bring fish fillets to room temperature before barbecuing.

  4. kfd-[Food_Technique_Fish_Fillets]-[KINGSFORD_05_21_15_HOW_TO_CAM_A-0627]

    Cooking fish directly on the grates

    If the skin is on one side of the fillet, place the fillet skin-side down first. You need to get a good sear on the fish to prevent sticking. Do not move or turn the fillets for the first two minutes. When it’s time to turn, be sure to use a wide spatula—or two spatulas facing each other—and gently roll the fillet over as opposed to flipping it. Like with most foods, only flip once. If you want to barbecue very delicate, thin fillets, lay some slices of lemon or orange on the BBQ first, instead of putting delicate fillets directly on the grates.

  5. kfd-[Food_Technique_Fish_Fillets]-[KINGSFORD_05_21_15_HOW_TO_CAM_A-0023]

    The cedar plank method

    Cooking your fish fillets on a cedar plank is a great way to impart smoky flavor, keep the fillets moist, and keep them from sticking on the grates. Soak a cedar plank for 2 hours in water, while you prepare and season your fish fillets (salmon works particularly well).

  6. fish2_560x340
    Prepare a two-zone fire. Some cooks like to pre-heat the plank first until it starts to crackle and smoke a bit. Place the plank with the fish fillets on the cooler side of the BBQ. Barbecue with the lid on for 13–15 minutes, without flipping. If the edges of the plank start to flare up, spritz the plank, not the coals, with a mister. Cook until the edges of the fish are lightly browned or the fish flakes easily, about 63°C.
  7. kfd-[Food_Technique_Fish_Fillets]-[KINGSFORD_05_21_15_HOW_TO_CAM_A-1005]

    Checking for doneness

    Fish fillets have a very small win¬dow of doneness, so don’t walk away from the BBQ. The time it takes to barbecue a fish fillet varies greatly with thickness, but a general rule is 10 minutes per inch of thickness. Use a knife to check the center of the fillet when it’s nearing done. For thin fillets, when the meat is consistently opaque and flakes easily, it’s done. For thick fillets, you want to remove it when the middle is just slightly translucent, because thicker fillets will continue to cook for a few minutes after you remove them from the BBQ.

The larger the fillet, the more moisture it retains throughout the cooking process. So, grill whole fillets first, then cut them into smaller serving portions when they’re done.
Fish skin is much easier to remove after the fish has been cooked.
Pitmaster Secret: For thick fillets, cook it as long as possible on the skin side, then flip it.