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Cooking Tips

How to Ensure Your Fish Will Never Stick to Your Grill Again

Prep your grill in three easy steps and say goodbye to stuck–on fish forever. 
By

Published June 15, 2023.

If I’m out to dinner and grilled fish is on the menu, I’m ordering it.

The way the delicate flesh easily picks up that delectable char gives it an intense smoky flavor that I cannot resist.

But grilling fish at home is a different story. What starts as happily grilling a fillet of salmon, cod, or swordfish, ends with painfully scraping up all those stubborn stuck–on bits. It’s a mess!

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Until now. We have an oiling technique that guarantees your fish will never stick again.

Turns out, it’s not technically the fish’s fault. It’s about how you prepare your grill. This three–step method has you oiling, heating, and re–oiling your grill grates for maximum nonstickability.

Making sure the grill is hot before you add oil is key, because when the oil hits the hot grates it polymerizes, creating a nonstick barrier between the fish and the hot surface. Many of our fish recipes also call for oiling the fish itself in addition to the grill grates, which is an extra measure that helps prevent sticking.

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Let’s walk through it.

1. Heat the grill according to the recipe. Fold several paper towels into a compact wad. Holding the paper towels with tongs, dip in oil and then wipe the grate.

Fold several paper towels in compact wad, dip in oil, and wipe the grate.
First, prep the grill with oiled paper towels.

2. Dip the paper towels in the oil again and wipe the grate a second time. Cover the grill and heat it to 500 degrees, about 5 minutes longer.

 Dip the paper towels in the oil again and wipe the grate a second time. Cover the grill and heat it to 500 degrees, about 5 minutes longer.
Wipe a second time and then cover and heat the grill to 500 degrees.

3. Uncover and wipe the grate twice more with the oiled paper towels.

Uncover and wipe the grate twice more with the oiled paper towels.
Give the grill two more wipes with oiled paper towels.

Once your grill is properly heated and oiled, you’re ready to grill yourself a restaurantworthy dinner for you and your friends.

Here’s some recipes for inspiration:

(Annoying fish scraping not included.)

Watch Bridget and Dan grill swordfish skewers here.

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