Ah, the smoky scent of the grill—one sniff and you know it’s (almost) summer. But why stick to the same old burgers and hot dogs when you’re planning your backyard menu this Memorial Day?
Grilling seafood and shellfish lets you have all the fun of cooking and eating outdoors with easy prep and cleanup, not to mention the added flavor from the grill.
Whether you have a gas or charcoal grill, you can make the most of the season with these simple grilling methods.
Can’t get to a grill? We got you! We have suggestions on how to recreate a cook out indoors.
Here are 4 ways to grill seafood, along with suggestions on the best fish and shellfish to use.
Much like cooking fish in parchment, making a foil packet infuses seafood with aromatic flavor—without the threat of sticking to the grill.
- Use heavy duty foil or two layers of regular foil as a base, then layer seafood with herbs and fresh vegetables, and drizzle with olive oil.
- Pinch the edges of the foil to seal and grill for 8-10 minutes over medium heat, taking care when opening to avoid the steam inside.
Try it with: delicate, flaky fillets like sole or bass, or shellfish like scallops or wild Gulf shrimp.
Don't have a grill? Place foil packets in a 450ºF oven and bake for 10-12 minutes for fish and 6-8 minutes for shellfish.
When you’re in the mood for a marinade, make it a kebob night. Seafood and veggie skewers bring big flavor to your meal in a bite-size package.
Skewering seafood is also a practical method to make sure smaller ingredients like shrimp won’t fall through the grill grates.
- If using wood skewers, soak in water for at least 1 hour prior to assembly so the wood won’t burn.
- Marinate seafood briefly before skewering, or brush on a marinade just before grilling.
- Leave space between each ingredient as you thread it onto the skewer to ensure even cooking, and grill just until seafood is opaque.
Try it with: smaller shellfish like shrimp and scallops, or large pieces of meaty fillets like halibut or swordfish. Get our Grilled Swordfish Kebob Recipe here.
Don't have a grill? Broil skewers by placing your oven rack 6 inches from the broiler, and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side for shellfish, or 3-4 minutes on each side for meaty fish.
Get even more smoky flavor into your seafood by grilling it on a wooden plank. This is one of the most versatile methods for grilling fish, since it works with virtually any fillet.
Even better, with so many choices of wood planks to try—from classic cedar to alder, maple, and hickory—you can experiment with different combinations to find your favorite.
- Soak planks in water for at least 1 hour prior to grilling so the wood won’t burn. Brush the fish with olive oil and season with your choice of herbs and spices.
- Place on the grill and cover, cooking until the fish is opaque and flaky.
Try it with: any skin-on or skinless fish fillet, from salmon to monkfish to tilapia.
Don't have a grill? Follow the directions above, then rub a little oil into the plank, place your fish on top, season and bake in a 350ºF oven for 10-14 minutes, until opaque.
Directly on the Grates
Sometimes you can’t go wrong with simplicity. Why not have a New England-style clambake in your backyard, or throw a few tuna steaks on the grill tonight?
- For skin-on fillets and steak cuts of fish, carefully brush both the grill grates and the fish with oil just before grilling to prevent sticking.
- For shellfish, there’s no need to shuck—just place the scrubbed shells on the grill grates, cover, and cook until the shells pop open. Serve with butter or your favorite condiment.
Try it with: shellfish like clams, mussels, or oysters, skin-on fish fillets, or steak cuts of firm fish such as tuna or swordfish.
Don't have a grill? You can broil seafood at home and get that lovely char flavor. See our tips on broiling kebobs above, and get our Grilled Oysters Recipe here which shows you how to broil oysters.