It's all about the marinade.

By Margaret Eby
Updated: May 23, 2019

It's grilling season, which means that once again, across the country, people are getting creative about what they can throw on the grill, beyond the usual hot dogs and hamburgers. Mushrooms? For sure. Corn? Absolutely. Fish? Yup. Dessert? Of course. But when you're making something as delicate as fish on the high heat of the grill—something that can go from raw to overcooked before you know it—it helps to have a little bit of insurance.

That insurance is a marinade. When you soak your fish in a mixture of oil, acid, and spices, you add flavor into the meat of the fish without having to rely on heavily charring the outside on the grill. If you're looking for a place to start, this Firecracker Grilled Salmon is a good entry point. The marinade is a combination of soy sauce, honey, oil, vinegar, garlic, ginger, and spices. If those flavors aren't your thing, don't worry—think about it as a guideline. If you want to swap out some of the spices here, you absolutely can. The main things that you don't want to omit are the oil, vinegar, and soy sauce or salt. 

It might seem like leaving meat to marinate for a really long time will only increase its flavor, but that's not the case. For fish, you want the marinade to penetrate the surface of the meat, but if you leave it in too long, the acid in the marinade can start to turn the protein into mush and ruin the texture of the meat. For this, you only need 30 minutes to an hour, and then you're ready to grill. 

Once the fish hits the grill, it should only take a few minutes to cook through, but all the flavor will be retained from its bath in the marinade. Quick, easy, tasty, and not dry—that's the fish you're going for this summer. 

Get the recipe for Grilled Firecracker Salmon.

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