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Here in the Midwest, good, fresh fish is both hard to find and can be expensive. When we visit the coasts, getting fresh grilled fish is always a priority for me. By itself or in tacos, I love the flavor of grilled fish!
When I first began grilling, fish really intimidated me! Would it fall apart? Would it stick to the grates? Over time, I learned some techniques to make sure that I was getting perfectly grilled fish every time.
Even though it’s getting colder here, that shouldn’t be a reason to stop grilling! I recently found some fresh cod filets at our local seafood market. So, I put together my favorite grilled cod recipe with plenty of tips and techniques to make sure you can grill with confidence!
How do you prepare the grill for grilling cod?
The single most important step to perfect grilled cod is a well-prepared grill. Your grates should be clean of debris to ensure the fish does not stick. Brush the grates well before you get started.
I prefer to grill over charcoal. Kingsford Charcoal is my go-to brand because of the high quality of the briquettes. They burn hot, but also have the longest burn time that I’ve found.
You need a hot, direct fire to grill cod. I recommend filling a full chimney of Kingsford Charcoal to provide the correct heat. Once smoldering, spread evenly in a single layer across the bottom of the grill.
Place the cleaned grate over the fire. Allow it to rest undisturbed for a few minutes to heat up, then quickly oil. Hot, well-oiled grates will ensure your fish does not stick.
For extra assurance, you can always choose to purchase a wire grill basket designed to hold the fish off the grates.
How do you season grilled cod?
Cod is a light, flaky fish that takes on the flavor of whatever seasoning you choose.
My preference is to keep it light and simple, with butter, lemon juice, spices, and herbs.
I also love to mix it up with Asian and Mediterranean flavors!
What different types of cod can be grilled?
There are several different varieties of cod that are great for grilling.
Atlantic Cod is most common. This mild, flaky whitefish is the most likely found in your grocery stores. Pacific Cod is a great substitute for Atlantic and very similar in flavor and texture.
Black Cod is a very sustainable option if you’re able to find it. It’s a bit firmer and meatier than traditional Atlantic Cod but shares its mild flavor. Pollock is also a member of the cod family. It is not my favorite fish due to its oily texture but is suitable for grilling.
How long does it take to grill cod?
The general rule of thumb for grilling cod is 4-5 minutes per side, per inch of flesh.
If your cod is cut into thicker steaks, you will likely need about 5-6 minutes per side.
If it is cut into thin fillets like the fish I have photographed here, you will want to aim for around 4 minutes per side directly over high heat.
How do you know grilled cod is ready?
When ready, the cod should easily release from the grate. You should not have to peel or scrape it up.
You can also test for done-ness by performing a flake test. Insert a fork into the thickest part of the fish at an angle and pull upwards. If the fish is beginning to flake, it’s nearly done. If it resists your pull, it needs more time. If it flakes very easily or falls apart, it’s overcooked.
- · 2 pounds fresh cod fillets
- · 4 tbsp melted butter
- · Juice of 1 large lemon
- · 1 tsp dried parsley
- · 3 tsp green onions, chopped
- · Salt and pepper to taste
- . Prepare to grill over a hot
fire. Clean and oil grill grates.
- 2. Combine butter, lemon
juice, parsley and onions in a small bowl.
- 3. Pat the cod dry with paper
towels, then lightly sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- 4. Place cod directly on oiled
grates over a hot fire. Grill for 4-5 minutes per side, basting occasionally
with butter and lemon mixture. If flare-ups occur, place the lid on the grill
to cover with closed vents.
- 5. Remove from grill when the fish begins to flake. If
fully cooked, fish should not stick to the grill.