Easy Grilled Salmon | Outdoor Cooking

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Cooking in the outdoors doesn’t have to be boring, and grilled salmon (or any grilled fish) can add an element of class to your outdoor dinner without being overly complicated. Salmon cooks up quickly and can be flavored in a variety of different ways. Here is my favorite way to prepare salmon.

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slightly blackened and perfectly tender grilled salmon

What Should I Look For When Buying Salmon?

As with any fish, you want fresh fish. Unless you live near the source of the fish, it will most likely have been flash-frozen on the boat, or shortly after being processed.  When you purchased fish at your local grocer, it was probably frozen and thawed before being placed into the meat cooler. The nice thing about freezing is that it halts decomposition so fish can be shipped further without losing quality.

  • If the fish is whole, the eyes should be clear, not cloudy, and the gills should be bright red.
  • If filleted, the flesh should be firm, not mushy, and be shiny rather than dull.
  • If you can smell the fish, it should smell like the sea. It should not be overly fishy or have an ammonia odor.

What kind of salmon should I buy?

There are many different kinds of salmon, and their availability depends on the season. Chinook is the highest in the Omega-3 fatty acids. Sockeye is higher in fat and popular for canning and smoking. Pink salmon is very mild in flavor.

The thing I look for when purchasing salmon is whether it is wild-caught or farm-raised. While it is certainly a personal decision, I prefer to only buy sustainable wild-caught salmon. If you aren’t sure about the difference, you can learn more from the Wild Salmon Center.

How Should I Store Salmon?

When purchasing fish, I always bring a small cooler with some ice to keep it fresh while I transport it home from the store. Most markets (including grocery stores) will give you a small bag of ice if you ask.

When you get home, keep the salmon as cold as possible and use it within two days. If that doesn’t fit your timeline, you can safely freeze salmon for up to three months or up to eight months if vacuumed sealed.

How to Keep Salmon Safe When Camping

If you plan to cook salmon while camping it is very important to keep it very cold. To prevent spoilage, it must be kept as close to 32° F as possible. If you store it in a cooler, wrap the fish in plastic (on a foam tray if possible) and store it skin side down directly on the ice. It is crucial to regularly monitor the temperature of your cooler.

Preferably, we will cook fish out first night out, or we will buy it at a local fish market just before we plan to cook it. Nothing ruins a great camping trip more than consuming spoiled fish.

salmon filets rubbed with butter and lightly seasoned

How To Prep Salmon For Cooking

I always purchase salmon that has already been filleted and had the bones removed.  Even if you don’t want to eat the skin, I highly recommend that you leave it attached. When the salmon is cooked, it is quite tasty, but it will also peel off very easy if salmon skin isn’t your thing.

Preparing salmon for cooking is very easy.

  1. Run your finger over the salmon before cooking just to double-check that no bones remain. Sometimes the bones are sneaky.
  2. Using your fingers, spread some softened (not melted) butter all over the flesh side of the salmon. About 1 tablespoon for a 12-18 inch filet will be enough. Sprinkle both the flesh and the skin side of the salmon with your favorite seasoning.
  3. If you have very long filets, you may find it helpful to cut the filets into two or three smaller sections.

How To Cook Salmon

When camping, I love to use my Colman Roadtrip X-cursion Grill. I swap out the grill insert for the griddle to make cooking a breeze.

You can also use a cast-iron skillet directly over the fire or over some charcoal. If using a traditional grill, you might want to try using a cedar plank like I did for this cedar plank salmon recipe.

When cooking salmon, you want to observe it carefully to avoid overcooking it. Salmon cooks quickly, and dry salmon is still good, but we’re striving for great!

grilled salmon with rice and tropical salsa

Easy Grilled Salmon

Ingredients:

1-2 pound fresh salmon filets
Butter
Seasonings such as Tony Chachere’s Spice & Herb Blend, Fresh Jax Citrus Pepper, or Fire & Flavor Salmon Rub.
1 onion, sliced (optional)
1 red bell pepper, sliced (optional)
Lemon wedges (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the grill and the griddle or cast-iron skillet. If using a cedar plank, follow the package directions for preparation and cooking instructions.

coleman grill with griddle attachment

Slice the onions and peppers, if using. Melt some butter on the griddle or in the skillet and saute the onions and peppers until they reach the desired tenderness. Set them to the side to keep warm. I created a little dish out of a folded piece of foil.

cooking onions on the coleman x-cursion griddle

a little foil boat to hold grilled onions

Melt a tablespoon or so of butter on the griddle or skillet. When the foaming begins to subside, add the fish skin side down. Cover the grill, but stay close by.

place salmon skin side down

When the skin side is well browned and crispy, and the flesh side begins to lighten in color around the edges, you will want to flip over the filets. Cooking will happen quickly at this point, so observe the fish. The fish is done when it is an even dull pink (no longer shiny) throughout and flakes easily. Avoid overcooking the fish.

When the fish is done, plate and serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

crispy grilled salmon skins

What Should I Serve With Grilled Salmon?

  • Cooked rice topped with YumYum Sauce and a dash of teriyaki
  • Pineapple Salsa (Note: we now add fresh cubed mango to this as well!)
  • Fried Potatoes

Other Salmon Recipes You May Like

Cedar Plank Salmon and Scallop Kabobs with Cajun Citrus Butter
Salmon Cakes with Tzatziki Sauce and Crab and Cheese Grits
Tropical Salmon

Read Next

Coleman RoadTrip® X-Cursion™ Propane Grill – Adventure Gear Review
Hawaiian Chicken Sandwiches with Teriyaki Ginger Mayo | Easy Cookout Meal
How to Build the Perfect Campfire
How to Cut a Pineapple
Tropical Hot Dogs

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Grilled salmon cooks up quickly and easily. I can be flavored in a variety of ways and will be the prefect addition to your next camping menu.

 

Easy Grilled Salmon

This easy grilled salmon cooks up in minutes and is bursting with flavor.
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pound fresh salmon filets
  • Butter
  • Seasonings such as Tony Chachere's Spice & Herb Blend Fresh Jax Citrus Pepper, or Fire & Flavor Salmon Rub.
  • 1 onion sliced (optional)
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced (optional)
  • Lemon wedges optional

Instructions

  • Preheat the grill and the griddle or cast-iron skillet. If using a cedar plank, follow the package directions for preparation and cooking instructions.
  • Slice the onions and peppers, if using. Melt some butter on the griddle or in the skillet and saute the onions and peppers until they reach the desired tenderness. Set them to the side to keep warm. I created a little dish out of a folded piece of foil.
  • Melt a tablespoon or so of butter on the griddle or skillet. When the foaming begins to subside, add the fish skin side down. Cover the grill, but stay close by.
  • When the skin side is well browned and crispy, and the flesh side begins to lighten in color around the edges, you will want to flip over the filets. Cooking will happen quickly at this point, so observe the fish. The fish is done when it is an even dull pink (no longer shiny) throughout and flakes easily. Avoid overcooking the fish.
  • When the fish is done, plate and serve immediately with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.

Notes

We love to serve grilled salmon with grilled onions, mango and pineapple salsa and rice drizzled with a bit of yum yum sauce and a splash of teriyaki.
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