When you think of grilling out for dinner, the first dishes that come to mind are probably foods like hamburgers, hot dogs, steak and pork chops. And for good reason; they taste amazing grilled. However, in this blog, we’re focusing on grilling seafood instead and giving you helpful tips and tricks. After all, seafood can be slightly trickier to grill since the meat is typically on the flakier side and more tender.
From shellfish to fish filets, we’ll tell you the best types of seafood to grill and the easiest ways to cook them and serve up a delicious meal for your family. We’ll also give you some recipe ideas along the way for a little dinnertime inspiration.
When grilling shrimp, start by removing the shell with the exception of the tail. You can leave those on. It’s also important to season your shrimp with at least salt and pepper. Lime juice, Old Bay and chili powder are three other seasonings that taste great on shrimp.
If you’ve ever tried grilling shrimp before, you may have noticed that turning each individual shrimp takes a bit of time. Plus, they don’t always lay flat on the grill grates. So, to avoid that, simply place the shrimp on wooden or metal skewers. Then, you can cook and turn the shrimp with ease. Typically, shrimp take about 6 to 8 minutes to cook.
After grilling, for a spicier flavor, mix together some butter and hot sauce and brush it on your grilled shrimp, like in our Buffalo Shrimp Skewers recipe.
Our next set of seafood grilling tips is all about crab; specifically, crab legs. Traditionally served boiled with a side of lemon wedges and melted butter, crab legs can also be grilled for a smokier flavor.
Before placing on the grill, brush both sides of the crab legs with olive oil. Cook each side for 2 to 3 minutes and enjoy. That’s all there is to it! It’s super simple yet flavorful.
And if you’re looking for the perfect side dish to pair with your crab legs, try our Grilled Corn, Peach & Tomato Salad. The sweetness from the grilled corn and peach slices taste fantastic with crab! Plus, this side salad recipe only takes 30 minutes to make. Snag the full recipe here!
How to Grill Fish Filets
We’ve now covered our seafood grilling tips for shellfish, but what about fish filets? There are many different types of fish out there and not all of them can be grilled the same way. For instance, lighter, flakier fish like tilapia don’t hold up as well when grilled directly on the grill grates. They tend to stick and fall apart. So, to avoid that, grill them in foil packs instead.
In your foil pack, add some salt, pepper, lemon wedges and fresh herbs like rosemary and thyme for a punch of flavor. Then, grill over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes. You’ll know it’s perfectly cooked when the fish easily flakes with a fork.
If you’re grilling tilapia, we have some additional recipe inspiration you may want to try. Our Honey Lime Tilapia and Corn Foil Pack recipe is simple and only requires five ingredients, plus olive oil, salt and pepper. Get the full list of ingredients and directions on our recipe portal!
Now, for firmer fish, such as salmon, haddock and cod, they hold up much better on the grill, especially if you grease the grill grates ahead of time. Prior to cooking, drizzle olive oil over your fish and season with salt and pepper. You can also marinate the fish for extra flavor. But, if you forgo the marinade, we recommend melting a tab of butter and squeezing a lemon wedge over each fish filet while grilling. The result is tangy and delicious!
Wondering how long to grill your fish? Here are our suggestions for cooking times:
- Salmon - skin-side down for 6 to 7 minutes; 2 to 3 minutes on the other side
- Cod - 3 to 5 minutes per side
- Haddock - 5 to 7 minutes per side
Just like we mentioned above, you’ll know if the fish filets are cooked when they flake easily with a fork. Then, it’s time to enjoy your grilled fish!
If you have leftovers, but don’t want to simply reheat them the next day, make fish cakes instead. Start by chopping or shredding your leftover fish filets. Then, in a small to medium bowl, combine the fish, Panko bread crumbs, egg, a little mayonnaise, chopping parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Form your fish cake mixture into ⅓”-thick patties and cook in a skillet with olive oil over medium heat, until crispy and golden brown on each side.
Tip: Sautéed chopped onions and bell peppers make great additions to fish cakes as well!
For these fish cakes, you don’t necessarily have to wait for grilled leftovers. You can also bake the fish in the oven. Then, mix and form your cakes and cook on the grill in a cast-iron skillet or on a piece of aluminum foil. Make sure to grease either option with cooking spray or olive oil before grilling the fish cakes to keep them from sticking.
Seafood at Your Local Food Lion
With our seafood grilling tips in mind, you’re ready to visit your neighborhood Food Lion and pick up some shellfish or fish filets for your next meal. Our seafood department is your destination for an affordable selection of responsibly harvested fish that we stock to ensure seafood species are protected today and for generations to come. And with our amazing partners like the Gulf of Maine Research Institute and the Ocean Disclosure Project, you can shop with confidence and feel good about your seafood purchases. After all, we’re in this boat together!