A Primer on Barbecuing Seafood
Use the seafood rule when barbecuing; measure fish at thickest point and allow 10 minutes per 2.5 cm (1 inch) of thickness. Whole fish may take up to 12 minutes per 2.5 cm (1 inch). Barbecue over moderately high heat. Fish is done when it turns opaque and starts to flake when tested with a fork.
Marinades and basting sauces add flavour and moisture to seafood. Commercially prepared barbecue sauces, salad dressings and mixes are perfectly acceptable or you may wish to try making your own. Remember sauces with a high sugar content tend to burn, so should be added during the last 5 minutes of cooking. Marinades can be made by combining any acid, such as fruit juices or vinegar, with your favorite herbs and a small amount of oil.
For best results, marinate finfish and other delicate seafood for no more than 1 hour in the refrigerator, as the acids in the marinade will pre-cook fish causing it to toughen.
When barbecuing fragile fish fillets, fold ends under to make an even thickness, use a hinged basket, a mesh rack or place fish on a sheet of perforated aluminum foil. Although barbecuing in foil is a common practice, it is not recommended as it tends to steam the seafood. Perforating the foil allows the steam to escape.
Thaw seafood before barbecuing to prevent uneven cooking. Turn steaks and whole fish once when barbecuing; fillets under 2.5 cm (1inch) do not need to be turned.
To avoid flare-ups when cooking seafood on a plank, soak the wood in water before using.
For extra flavour toss a handful of mesquite or whole sprigs of rosemary, dill, thyme, basil or oregano into the fire just before cooking seafood.
Use proper barbecue tools when grilling seafood. Piercing seafood with a fork or knife allows flavours juices to escape and may cause flare-ups.
To prevent sticking, oil grills, racks and baskets, just before placing seafood on barbecue.