Wish you were eating more fish? Many of us are in that boat. The average U.S. adult consumes about 16 lb of seafood a year, according to recent fishing-industry figures. That’s pretty well short of the 8 oz per week (about 26 lb per year) recommended by the latest federal dietary guidelines.
On the whole, seafood is packed with important nutrients, including B vitamins, iron, zinc, and potassium. Some fattier varieties of fish—such as mackerel, tuna, salmon, and sardines—contain vitamins A and D, as well as omega-3 fatty acids that may support heart health.
Outdoor grilling can be a great way to get more seafood in your diet, with simple preparations that let fresh flavors shine through. Whether you’re looking to grill a whole trout or black cod fillets, seafood kebabs or shrimp burgers, we’ve rounded up some of our best seafood grilling tips and recipes to help your next cookout go swimmingly.
Tips for grilling fish
Pat dry and know your heat
Unless you’re grilling seafood that’s been marinated, use a paper towel to blot surface moisture from the fish before cooking. This will help the fish grill instead of steam. Cooking temperatures vary a bit by specific recipe, but medium or medium-high heat is usually a good bet for achieving that coveted sear on the outside while keeping the interior nice and tender. Food-safety experts say seafood—including fin fish, scallops, lobster, and shrimp—is cooked through once the flesh turns opaque and/or flakes easily with a fork.
Consider trying these tools
Fish can be tricky to flip—if you’ve ever had a big chunk of salmon stick to the grill grates, you know what we mean. To help your entire meal make it to your plate, consider buying a tool called a fish turner. This specialized spatula is generally made from thin, flexible metal shaped to slip beneath delicate fish for easier flipping. Another useful accessory? An enclosed grilling basket with a handle. Simply lock your fish in the “cage”—nestled against any flavor enhancers such as citrus slices or bunches of fresh herbs—and flip with a quick turn of the wrist when ready.
Stabilize your skewers
Have you ever tried to flip shrimp kebabs and gotten frustrated when the skewer simply spins within the food, leaving the same side exposed to flames? A trick to try next time: Skewer twice. Line up shrimp on your prep surface and thread two parallel skewers through each. The dual anchor points lock the shrimp in position for easy flipping and cooking. Or, try kebab-size grilling baskets. Like the fish baskets mentioned above, these enclose your delicious ingredients in an easy-to-flip accessory. Bonus: no discarded skewers poking through your trash bags.
Our best grilled seafood recipes
Leslie Fink, MS, RD, has been working at WW for 20 years. In addition to her role as a nutritionist and recipe editor, she works on food and program development for a variety of projects, including WW Cruises, WW Ambassador partnerships, WW Fresh, and WW x Blue Apron