How to Grill Sensational Summer Seafood

There's more to summer grilling than hot dogs and hamburgers. Seafood is a natural match for the grill. If you think it’s too tricky to master, these tips on preparing and cooking fish, shrimp, and other seafood on the grill will help things go swimmingly.

Start with Seasoning

Unlike beef or pork, delicate cuts of seafood don't need to spend hours marinating to gain flavor. Just 15 minutes in a marinade or a last-minute spice rub will impart tons of taste. Try different combinations like lime, ginger, and garlic; orange, jalapeno, and cilantro; or lemon, basil, and shallots.

A No-Stick Situation

Because seafood is such a lean protein, it has the tendency to stick to grill grates, and small pieces may fall through as they cook. Keep your seafood intact by using accessories that assist in the cooking process.

  • Soaked wooden planks protect meaty fillets like salmon and mahi mahi and add flavor.
  • Soaked wooden skewers keep shrimp and scallops on, not in, the grill and a skewer threaded lengthwise through a lobster tail keeps it from curling as it cooks.
  • Metal grill baskets hold bivalves like clams or mussels as they open on the grill.
  • Nonstick foil with a spritz of nonstick cooking spray makes a perfect steaming packet for delicate fillets like tilapia.

Essential Cook Times

The FDA recommends cooking seafood to an internal temperature of 145 degrees F. Use an instant-read digital thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the piece of seafood to check if it’s ready to eat. Look for these visual cues as well:

  • Fish fillets turn opaque and flake easily with a fork.
  • Shellfish and scallops turn opaque and firm.
  • Bivalves open fully—discard any unopened shells.


Have you ever tried grilling Cedar Plank Salmon? It’s much easier than it sounds! Learn how here.