Even though grilling season is technically behind us, there are probably more than a few of us looking for any and every excuse to continue cooking outdoors. And while burgers, brats, and kebabs are high on the list for most alfresco chefs, it seems that only the brave and daring to go for fish and seafood.
Speaking of kebabs, don't risk hurting yourself when you're skewering your kebab, just give this easy potato trick a shot. CNET's Executive Editor, Sharon Profis, shares J. Kenji López-Alt's ingenious solution for skewering kebabs, which helps prevent stabbing your hand while threading ingredients onto the skewer.
And, with a reputation as being especially tough to get right on the grill, easily falling apart and turning bone dry, it’s understandable why so many people categorically shy away cooking it.
But with a little know how and practice, fish and seafood can also be among the most rewarding grill items to make. Just make sure you start off with a clean, well-oiled grate, a thin, nimble spatula for easy flipping, and high heat so that it will cook quickly before losing its natural juices. It also helps not to prod and poke it too much: stay calm and just let it do its thing.
We’ve also got a number of seafood recipes for the grill that will show you how it’s done. Whether you’re fancying salmon or a whole wriggling octopus, these recipes are sure to break you out of any burgers ‘n brats rut.
1. Campfire Trout with Herbs and Bacon
If you’re a little apprehensive about throwing fish directly onto the grates. a grill basket will ease you into the process. The tool makes them a cinch to flip, keeping everything intact in this stuffed trout recipe. Get our Campfire Trout with Herbs and Bacon recipe.
2. Corn-Husk-Wrapped Grilled Halibut with Charred Corn Salsa
You can also wrap your fish into neat little packages, which allow them to steam in their own juices. Here, corn husks form boats around these halibut pieces, which also make it possible to load them up with toppings like chunky salsa. Get our Corn-Husk-Wrapped Grilled Halibut with Charred Corn Salsa recipe.
3. Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Pepper Compound Butter
Hardy salmon is one of your best bets for the grill, holding itself together while its skin gets crackly crisp. All it needs is a simple sauce to go with it, like the lemon compound butter in this recipe. Get our Grilled Salmon with Lemon-Pepper Compound Butter recipe.
4. Grilled Blackened Catfish with Creole Mustard Butter
Packing in tons of spice and smoke, blackening can turn even the mildest of fish into something with chutzpah. Here, paprika and cayenne give this grilled catfish lots of soulful zest. Get our Grilled Blackened Catfish with Creole Mustard Butter recipe.
5. Grilled Swordfish with Cucumber-Melon Salsa
This one’s about as summery as it gets: see those perfectly criss-crossed grill marks and the cubes of diced cucumber and melon? You can practically feel the sunny warmth emanating out of this one. Get our Grilled Swordfish with Cucumber-Melon Salsa recipe.
6. Easy Fish Tacos
Tacos are perhaps the most forgiving vehicle for fish prepared on the grill. If you’re still getting the hang of flipping your fillets just so, not to worry. These puppies are designed to hold all the flaky bits and pieces. Get our Easy Fish Tacos recipe.
7. Whole Grilled Bass with Olives, Onion, and Artichoke
Although it may look intimidating, whole fish is actually easier to grill than individual filets. Just let it hold itself together while it cooks and leave the carving for the tableside. Get our Whole Grilled Bass with Olives, Onion, and Artichoke recipe.
8. Grilled Mackerel with Tomato, Fennel, and Capers
Firm-fleshed mackerel is a pro at handling flaming heat. It also loves meeting up with other flavor-forward ingredients, getting along swimmingly with fennel, tomato, and caper in this recipe. Get our Grilled Mackerel with Tomato, Fennel, and Capers recipe.
9. Grilled Tuna with Cucumber Salad
Tuna is the prime beef of the fish world: meaty and tender, a quick sear on the grill will give you all of the qualities of a good, rare steak. The accompanying Vietnamese style salad in this recipe, dressed in fiery bird’s eye chili, lime, and fish sauce, isn’t too shy, either. Get our Grilled Tuna with Cucumber Salad recipe.
10. Smoky Grilled Shrimp with Marie Rose Sauce
Shrimp cocktail gets a smoky makeover here, going through a pimenton rub before it hits the charcoals. The brandy-spiked dipping sauce provides a sweet and creamy counterpoint to all that fire. Get our Smoky Grilled Shrimp with Marie Rose Sauce recipe.
11. Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa
The char on grilled shrimp also is a match for deep spices like cumin and chipotle powder. Served in tacos, the accompanying lime-drenched salsa adds a tangy, acidic lift to it all. Get our Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa recipe.
12. Grilled Paella
Paella on the grill? That’s right, you can put the whole shebang over the flames and let it simmer away while it picks up the scent of smoke. Loaded with shrimp, mussels, and clams (plus some chicken and chorizo to fill it out), this one packs in all the flavors of the Mediterranean. Get our Grilled Paella recipe.
13. Grilled Octopus
When done right, tender and chewy grilled octopus is a delight to sink one’s teeth into. We let it go for a slow braise to soften it up, then give it a final sear to add a crust to all those cups and crevices. Get our Grilled Octopus recipe.
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.