Grilling fish can be difficult because it is much more delicate than grilling chicken or steak, and it may fall apart while cooking or stick to the grate. A grill’s uneven heat can also cause parts to become tough and dry while others are barely cooked. The best solution is to grill the fish in foil. It keeps the fish intact, seals in moisture, and distributes heat evenly. It also allows you to season your grilled fish fillets with herbs and aromatics.
Cooking fish in foil packets is the most convenient way to prepare fish! Fish in foil packets will never burn, stick, or fall into the grill! Best of all, there is no mess or cleanup!
This recipe is so simple that it will be the simplest fish recipe you’ve ever made! We can use this method to grill or bake fish, and when you unwrap the foil packet, you will have perfectly cooked fish with no cleanup! All you have to do is spread butter and lemon slices on the fish fillet, wrap them in foil and grill them (or in the oven). That’s all! When the fish is done, unwrap the foil packet to reveal perfectly cooked fish – amazing!
Fish Preparation For the Grill
To remove any water from the outside of the fillets, pat them down with a paper towel. This will ensure that the fish browns evenly.
Cut 10″ by 10″ sheets of aluminum foil (they should be 5 – 6 inches longer than the fillet when it’s on it). Grease the dull side of each foil sheet lightly with oil or butter. The foil’s shiny side should be facing down.
Each greased sheet of foil should have one fillet in the center. If the fish has skin on one side, it should face down.
Fold the foil in half to make a bowl-like shape.
Squeeze half a lemon or a quarter of a lime over the fillet. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Then, if desired, add any herbs or aromatics such as garlic, rosemary, paprika, or dill. You can also add vegetables such as onions, bell peppers, and carrots.
Bend the foil over the fish and fold each edge to form a pouch. Poke a few holes in the top with a fork to allow steam to escape as it cooks.
Preheat the grill and place the foil packets on it. Grill for 5 to 7 minutes on medium-high (depending on the size of the fillet) on a gas or charcoal grill.
Remove the foil packets from the grill using a long-handled metal spatula or grilling tongs.
Recipe for Grilled Fish with Lemon
- Four fish fillets, thick-cut
- Four lemons, sliced in half
- 4 Tablespoons butter
- Dried dill weed
- Coarse sea salt
- Fresh ground black pepper
- Small bowl
- Two handfuls of dry cherry wood chips
- Natural lump charcoal
- 2 – 3 sheets of newspaper
- Long-handled grilling spatula or tongs
- Long-handled lighter
Fish on the grill.
- Fill the small bowl halfway with cherry wood chips. Fill the bowl halfway with water and soak the wood chips.
- Remove the cooking grate from the grill and open the vents.
- Fill the grill’s bottom with natural lump coal. It tastes better than briquettes and burns faster.
- Place the sheets of newspaper in the charcoal starter’s lower chamber or on top of the charcoal. Light the newspaper and wait for the coals to catch fire (about 20 minutes).
- Drain the water from the wood chips once the coals are glowing. Place the wood chips on top of the embers.
- Replace the grill grate over the charcoal.
- Place the fish fillet packets (prepared as directed above) onto the grate.
- Close the lid of the grill. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the fillets.
- Remove the foil packets from the grill using a long-handled metal spatula or grilling tongs.
What are the Advantages of Eating Fish?
Fish is an excellent source of protein, as well as being low in calories and very healthy addition to your diet. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish every week, especially fatty fish like salmon or albacore tuna, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids. This essential fat has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, is beneficial to brain health, and may even protect against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) reports that most Americans get their omega-3 fatty acids from non-fish sources such as nuts, seeds, and oils. All known health benefits, however, are based on studies of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish.
Fish is also a good source of vitamin D. According to ODS, this essential fat-soluble vitamin is found in very few foods, and most Americans do not get enough of it from their diet.
To keep your bones healthy and strong, you must consume enough vitamin D. It is also required for immune health, neuromuscular function, and inflammation reduction. While sun exposure can help your body produce vitamin D, it also has its health risks (skin cancer) and depending on where you live; you may not be able to get enough sun exposure due to inclement weather.
Tips for Cooking Fish in Foil
Despite the numerous benefits of fish, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, less than one-third of Americans eat seafood weekly, and the majority only eat it occasionally. While taste preferences certainly play a role in fish consumption in the United States, many people avoid eating fish because they don’t know how to prepare it.
Grilling fish in foil with a little lemon seasoning is so simple that even the most inexperienced cook can turn it into a tasty meal. Ensure your fish portions are consistent (for even cooking) and that your grill is preheated.
For example, if you’re grilling flounder in foil, start preheating your grill to medium-high heat. Then, place a 6-ounce portion of flounder on a large square of foil and assemble your fish. Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with olive oil, and top with two to three slices of fresh lemon. Fold the foil in half to make a packet that will keep the flavor and juices inside.
Grill the flounder in foil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the fish is cooked. After that, set your packets aside for 5 minutes before serving.
Packets of Fish in Foil
After you’ve mastered grilling fish in foil with lemon, you can start experimenting with flavors and making your own healthy fish foil packets.
Consider BBQ fish in foil with red onions, red peppers, and corn. Drizzle with olive oil after seasoning with paprika, cayenne, salt, and pepper. Grill over medium-high heat until the fish is done.
You can even make your fish foil packets in a 450°F preheated oven. Baked fish in foil with potatoes and sliced leeks seasoned with rosemary and thyme is a tasty option. Bake the fish foil packet for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the fish, is cooked through. Allow the fish to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Because fish cooks quickly, the Food Network experts recommend that your potatoes be precooked and cut into small pieces.
A foil packet of fish and rice can also make a tasty and complete dinner. Toss in some julienned carrots, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of oil. Rice, like potatoes, should be cooked before assembling your fish packet.
The Best Fish to Grill
Back prioritizes firm and meaty fish when choosing the best fish to grill. Tuna, salmon, snapper, sardines, and yellowtail amberjack are among the best fish because their skin crisps up while the meat remains moist and tender. Finding good grilling fish can be difficult, especially if you live in a rural area, but we’ve previously vetted a few of the best places to order seafood online to help you get some fresh catch.
Here are a few of chef Back’s top picks for the best fish to grill to get your seafood game on point.
You’re aware of it. You adore it. Tuna is available in various forms, but a fresh fillet of fatty tuna is one of the best fish to grill. Tuna has a lot of rich flavors, so a squeeze of lemon, a dollop of wasabi, or a sprinkle of salt and pepper are all needed to make it sing. The worst tuna crime you can commit is overcooking, so exercise caution. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of your fillet, but it should be no more than two minutes on each side.
While salmon is not as meaty as swordfish or tuna, it cooks very well on the grill. To be safe, some people still wrap salmon fillets in foil or grill them over cedar planks. Grilling salmon brings out its sweet flavor and goes well with various flavor complements, such as peanut sauce, lemon pepper, paprika rub, or chile and lime. Arctic char is another fish in the same family that cooks and eats similarly to salmon, and it’ll also work great on the grill.
Swordfish is extremely meaty and has a mild, clean, buttery flavor. Blackened grilled swordfish with citrus tartar sauce is pure heaven. Swordfish also responds well to a herb marinade, which can be sliced and served in tacos with avocado and crema. Swordfish can be pricey, so look for it on sale at your local fish market or one of these fantastic online seafood retailers.
This fish is best known for its award-winning role on sushi menus, but it also makes an excellent grilling fish. It’ll be more difficult to find in fish markets than some of the others on the list, but if you find some, it’ll hold shape nicely on the grill with a texture similar to mahi-mahi and a flavor similar to tuna but milder.
This meaty white fish is excellent for grilling, especially when cooked whole. Although it may appear difficult, you can stuff the cavity with lemon wheels and cook it on the grill over low heat (I recommend using a grilling basket if this is your first time). The skin will help to keep the fish meat from drying out.
These salty little fish aren’t for everyone, but they’re delicious when grilled. The best part is that they require very little preparation. Wash and pat dry your sardines before grilling them skin-side down over the flames. Then drizzle with olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper for a delicious (and healthy) snack or main course.
This plump white fish is the flakiest of the bunch, but it still has enough meatiness to withstand the scorching grill grates. Mahi-mahi goes well with lemon butter and capers, fresh herbs, or fish tacos with diced pineapple, mango, fresh lime juice, and Mexican spice. You should also consider marinating this fish and getting those sexy char marks for extra points and likes on Instagram.
Mako shark is also an excellent choice for your next grilled seafood feast. Though not as common as some of the other items on this list, mako can be found in many good fish markets and can be ordered online. Mako has a sweet flavor and firm, meaty texture similar to swordfish, making it ideal for a Cajun crust (one of my favorite preparations). You can always season it with salt and pepper and top it with some fresh citrus or fruit salsa.
A conversation starter and we guarantee that anyone who hasn’t seen this method of cooking fish before will want the recipe!
Why do People Cook Fish in Aluminum Foil?
People cook fish in foil for a variety of reasons. Some of the most common reasons are to keep the moisture and flavor inside the fish, to keep it from drying out, and to add a crispy crust to the outside.
Because aluminum foil conducts heat well, cooking with it can be hazardous. If you’re using aluminum foil for cooking something like a potato, ensure it’s completely wrapped around it and not just covering it.
What’s the Deal with the Tiny Holes in my Aluminum Foil?
Aluminum foil is made from thin aluminum sheets. When metal is rolled into a sheet, microscopic holes appear that can be seen with the naked eye.
Is it Necessary to Oil Aluminum Foil?
Because aluminum foil is not a metal, it will not rust. On the other hand, water and heat can damage the aluminum foil. To avoid this, oil the aluminum foil before using it to ensure that the surface remains smooth and does not become rough or sticky.
Cooking fish in foil packets is the most convenient way to prepare fish! Fish in foil packets will never burn, stick, or fall into the grill! Best of all, there is no mess or cleanup! Fish in foil packets also looks very impressive – these foil packets make an interesting and unique presentation! It’s great.