Seafood on the BBQ

There are many people who love to eat seafood because of the simplicity and taste, if you then add a barbecue into the equation it takes it to a whole new level, remaining simple but adding smoke and flames and the favoured barbeque flavours…

However, seafood represents a hurdle for some cooks in the kitchen without adding cooking over hot coals or an open flame.  Here I aim to provide a few tips and methods which will help you get over any fears and recipe ideas for a number of dishes cooked over charcoal and open flames which I hope you will try.

My top tips relate to the quality of your fish, cooking tools, cooking surfaces and the preparation of your barbecue.

Firstly, buy the freshest fish you can, go and source a good fishmonger or if you are lucky to have access to a location where fish is caught, landed and is available, go and explore!  Look for good quality fish with bright eyes, a good fresh sea smell and good colour on the gills.

The one cooking tool I would recommend is a good flexible metal fish slice spatula with a thin edged blade which will help you get under the fish easily for turning.

In relation to cooking surfaces on the barbecue, one of the easiest places to start is a seasoned cast iron or steel plancha; a good flat hot surface which will also attract wood or charcoal smoke flavour from the barbecue. I use the cast iron griddle surfaces on my ceramic kamado barbecues along with other large cast iron surfaces. If using live fire, a good heavy cast iron pan will work well.

In terms of preparation of the fish and surfaces, whole fish work well, along with fillets, but always skin on, use the skin to protect the fish when cooking and do not move around only doing so to turn when ready and able to easily release it from the hot bbq grate surface. Whatever you do, DO NOT keep moving the fish around as it will break up and fall into the charcoal spoiling your efforts. A good tip is to lightly oil both the grill bars and the skin of the fish prior to placing on the barbecue.

I have included a range of recipes below which require varying skills and hopefully you will want to give at least one of them a go on the barbecue, enjoy!!

Bill Gardner

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