How to cook seafood over an open flame

Barbecue trout bundles

Barbecue trout bundles

As much as I love seafood steamed, roasted and fried, for me the best method of cooking a fish is over a fire. You can barbecue whole fish and fillets with equal success. It really is magnificent and easy to do, too.

Briquettes might seem the very definition of one-touch convenience, but they tend to burn too bright, too fast, meaning you don't get that steady, intense heat so desired when cooking over coals. Instead, start by using good-quality charcoal; it'll last longer, cooks with a more consistent heat and imparts a beautiful flavour that's neither tannic or harsh. Before cooking your fish, always allow all flames to die down until you're left with white ash.

Choosing the right type of fish is important; some don't work as well over coals, like fillets of flounder, whiting or garfish. The best fish for the barbecue are those with a firm, dense and ideally oily or fatty flesh - species like salmon, mackerel, sardines, swordfish or kingfish.

When cooking whole fish, dry it well before putting it on the grill. For a lovely, smoky flavour, you can place an upturned casserole dish over the top and stoke the coals with rosemary and thyme. The fish is done when it lifts off the bone with ease. I like mine a little underdone so the flesh is just translucent at the core. Most important of all, relax while the fire does the work.

Here are some of our favourite summer seafood recipes to try.


Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
David Chang’s Ugly Delicious is about to make you very hungry
09.02.2018
Lee Tran Lam on her obsession with podcasts
09.02.2018
Australia’s top-ranked cheeses announced
02.02.2018
SBS to screen four top food documentaries in February
30.01.2018
Josh Niland to open a seafood shop in Sydney
29.01.2018
Sydney Fish Market: now delivering
17.12.2017
The Gourmet Traveller podcast

Each fortnight we round up the most interesting characters from the food world for your listening pleasure. We chat to chefs, cooks, authors, bar tenders and baristas - anyone who has something new and interesting to say about the way we like to eat and drink.

Listen
Recipe collections

Looking for fresh dinner ideas? Not sure how to make the most out of seasonal produce? Or do you need to plan the perfect party menu? Our recipe collections have you covered.

See more

You might also like...

10 fish recipes for Good Friday

Good Friday is for fish. So, from beetroot-cured ocean trout...

The Producers: Ferguson Australia

The game-changing South Australian company with a fresh take...

Preserved tuna

Quality canned or jarred tuna can turn a fast pasta dish or ...

10 fish recipes for Good Friday

Good Friday is for fish. So, from beetroot-cured ocean trout...

The Producers: Ferguson Australia

The game-changing South Australian company with a fresh take...

Preserved tuna

Quality canned or jarred tuna can turn a fast pasta dish or ...

Preserved tuna

Quality canned or jarred tuna can turn a fast pasta dish or ...