Dry-heat cooking methods

The grilling process cooks salmon with dry heat from just the one direction. Typically a salmander grills with heat from above and a barbecue grills with heat from below, usually through a grid, grillplate or char-grill. Pan frying methods explained elsewhere also apply when grilling on the flat plate of a barbecue.


  • Simple and quick way of cooking.
  • Can add a distinctive flavour, especially if using particular timber and leaves.
  • Salmon can be wrapped in foil to retain moisture.
  • Allows you to cook and entertain outdoors.


  • Suits whole HOG or fillet portions or cutlets

You’ll need?

  • Salamander/griller
  • Flat grill or hot plate


  • Charcoal, electric or gas barbecue
  • Char-grill

  • If grilling whole HOG, leave fins and head on for enhanced presentation, flavour and moisture retention.
  • Consider wrapping in foil first.
  • If cooking salmon skewers, push the pieces together so the flavours blend and the pieces stay firm.
  • If salmon sticks to the grill, next time consider covering the grating with foil that has been perforated and premarinate the salmon in lemon or lime juice for firmer flesh.

How Hot?

  • Pre-heat on medium to high for an electric grill.
  • Pre-heat on medium for a gas grill.

How Long?

  • Fillet portions around 5–9 minutes


Preparation: Consider the following options first

  • Pre-marinate early or season the salmon just before cooking if desired, but avoid using salt as this draws out the moisture.
  • Oil the salmon with a brush as an alternative to pre-greasing the grill or barbecue plate.
  • If grilling whole HOG or large fillet portions, score to ensure even cooking by making 2 or 3 diagonal cuts across the thickest parts on both sides.
  • As it cooks, baste with butter, oil, juice or marinade.


  • Grease and pre-heat the grill or barbecue. An electric grill should have medium to high heat. Gas should be on medium. It’s important that the grill is pre-heated to the right temperature before placing the salmon on it so it seals the flesh instantly without burning it.
  • If using a salamander or charcoal barbecue, place salmon 10–-15cm away from heat source.
  • Cook salmon skin-side first (if applicable) to allow natural basting.
  • Unless grilling with a salamander, turn whole HOG or thick fillets halfway through estimated cooking time. Thinner fillets may not need to be turned at all.

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