best marinade for grilled fish recipe
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According to one world-class chef, this is the absolute best marinade for grilled fish. With 16 restaurants and a few Michelin stars under his belt, who are we to disagree? Try this sweet and tangy sauce on your next grilled salmon, swordfish, or tuna this summer and thank us later. 

As is well-documented at this point, this beach boy’s favorite thing to throw on the grill in summer is fresh seafood—namely fish. It’s light. It’s healthy. And as much as I dig a sweet and smoky rack of ribs, a meaty swordfish steak with bright sauce or blackened seasoning is the absolute crème de la swim.

thrill of the grillThe Absolute Best Fish to Grill, According to an ExpertCertain fish do better on the grill than others, as Michelin-starred chef, restaurateur, and grilling savant Akira Back explained to us recently. Denser fish like tuna, mako, salmon, and amberjack fare better than thin and flaky fish. But then there is the very important matter of flavor.

Citrus is a tried and true companion for nearly any type of seafood, and fresh herbs go a long way in brightening milder fish like mahi mahi and cod. Akira has another idea, however, and shared that his favorite way to dress a fish for the grill is with Korean-style BBQ or bulgogi sauce.

Back makes his own bulgogi fish marinade and generously dropped the recipe for us to enjoy. It calls for simple ingredients you’re likely to have in the cupboard or can easily find. Korean pear—sometimes called Chinese or Asian pear—is perhaps the only one you might not find in every market but a high-end grocery store like Whole Foods should carry them. If you can’t find it he recommends subbing in a red apple. Back’s bulgogi fish marinade brings a little heat to your catch with fresh ginger but the best part about this rich sauce, when applied to grilled fish, is a sweet and salty caramelized crust that forms around a fresh fillet—largely thanks to a base of soy sauce, sugar, and corn syrup. As a bonus, this bulgogi fish sauce and marinade will work wonderfully on a number of other classic grillers like ribs, chicken, and steak. If you like a little heat, you can always amp this sweet fish marinade up with some crushed red pepper or chili paste too.

Akira Back's Bulgogi Sauce

  • 28 oz. corn syrup
  • 25 oz. soy sauce
  • 16 oz. sugar
  • 14 oz. sake
  • 7 oz. sesame oil
  • 7 oz. diced onion
  • 7 oz. diced Korean pear
  • 2 oz. garlic
  • 1.5 oz. spring onion
  • 1/2 oz. fresh ginger
  1. Blend onion, pear, ginger, spring onion, and sake together.
  2. Put the blended mix a bowl and mix with the remaining ingredients.
  3. Marinate the fish in bulgogi sauce for at least an hour and then brush sauce over fish while grilling.

OXO Silicone Basting Brush, $9-$12 from Sur La Table

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Header image courtesy of Ivan Ferdian / EyeEm / Getty Images.

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