How to Grill Fish on a Pellet Grill

grilled fish recipe

One of the original smoked meats is, of course, fish! Humans have been smoking fish for hundreds of years and grilling fish for just as long. While most people use their pellet grills for brisket and ribs, your Z Grills grill will cook anything you like – from brisket and burgers to fish and sweetcorn, so it’s definitely worth experimenting with!

If you’re ready to grill fish on your pellet grill, read on this definitive guide.

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    Can You Grill Fish on a Pellet Grill?

    Of course! You can grill anything on a pellet grill, you just need the right knowledge and the right equipment. Because fish can be so different, it can take a little trial and error, and if you’re following a recipe, follow the cooking times that they recommend.

    You don’t need to use whole fish, either, whether you’re grilling or smoking. While grilling whole fish makes for fast preparation, don’t serve it to your faint of heart guests. Instead, opt for fish steaks or fillets for easy eating. If you’ve caught the fish fresh yourself, you’ll likely want to do your normal preparation, but if you want to buy prepared fish from the supermarket, go for it.

    All you need to prep your fish is rinse it off (unless it has been seasoned), remove excess moisture, remove any bones you can see (if necessary), and season.

    What Temperature Do You Cook Fish on a Pellet Grill?

    While this will vary depending on the fish you’re cooking and your recipe, but if you just want to grill your fish, turn up the heat. Set your pellet grill to a temperature of 350F and wait for it to reach temperature before you add your fish.

    If you want to smoke your fish, then smoking rules apply – set the temperature low, at about 225F, and allow your fish to cook for 1-3 hours until it reaches the desired texture.

    How Long to Grill Fish on a Pellet Grill?

    Again, this depends on what you’re cooking. Remember to go by the internal temperature of your food, so you’re looking for an internal temperature of at least 145 °F to ensure it’s safe to eat and cooked through. If you’re grilling your fish, this generally takes 10-15 minutes.

    If you’re smoking your fish, leave it to cook for 1.5-3 hours depending on your preferred texture and the size and type of your fish.

    How to Grill Fish on a Pellet Grill?

    Once you’ve chosen your fish and prepared it as desired, let it sit out for 15 minutes or so, so that it will reach room temperature. This will ensure the fish cooks evenly on the pellet grill.

    If you’re grilling small fish, we recommend using a grill plate or grill mat to prevent the fish from sticking to the grate or falling through, so place that on your grill if needed. Then, follow the following steps:

    1. Preheat your pellet grill to 350 °F.
    2. Add your fish once it reaches the right temperature.
    3. Close the lid, and allow it to cook for 2-4 minutes (2 minutes for fillets, 4 for steaks).
    4. Open the lid, flip your fish, and close the lid. Again, wait for 2-4 minutes.
    5. Use a temperature probe to check the internal temperature of your fish. It should be at least 145 °F.
    6. If it is at temperature, remove the fish from the pellet grill and serve. For best results, allow it to sit for 5 minutes before serving.

    If you’re grilling a large, whole fish, you can use the same process, you just may need to increase the cooking time to 5 minutes or longer for each side, depending on the size of the fish you’re cooking.

    As a general guide, you should allow 8-10 minutes of grill time total per inch depth of fish. So, if you’re cooking 1-inch tuna steaks, give them 4-5 minutes on each side. For a 2-inch steak, give it 8-10 minutes on each side.

    What Are the Best Fish to Grill on a Pellet Grill?

    You can experiment and try out different recipes and kinds of fish, but some of the most popular fish to grill on a pellet grill are:

    What Fish Should I Avoid Grilling on a Pellet Grill?

    If you’re using a grill plate or grill mat to prevent your food from falling between the grates, then you can grill anything you like. However, if you don’t have those to hand, then try to avoid fish that become flaky, such as:

    • Flounder
    • Tilapia
    • Sole

    Regardless of what fish you choose to grill on your pellet grill, try not to flip it more than once. Fish is flaky by nature, and so a lot of handling can cause it to fall apart, even if you cook it correctly.

    What Are the Best Fish for Smoking?

    If you plan to smoke your fish, choose fish with more fat so it absorbs more of that smoky flavor. Some of the best fish for smoking are:

    • Mackerel
    • Mahi-Mahi
    • Salmon

    Don’t forget other forms of seafood, too, like oysters, crab, shrimp, and similar foods all produce incredible results when smoked.

    What Pellets Should I Use for Fish?

    Sticking with your normal wood pellets is a good place to start, and once you’ve tried that, experiment with apple, hickory pellets, or your favorite pellets. Generally, the lighter flavors are best, unless you like a heavy, smoky flavor.

    Grilling fish on your pellet smoker is a great way to put your pellet grill to work and expand your skills. We’ve got a wide range of seafood recipes for you to try on your pellet grill, so head over here next for inspiration!

    Recommended reading

    Recommended Products

    Mahi Mahi Fillet
    • Responsibly Farmed or sustainable wild-caught
    • Certain preservatives prohibited, including sodium bisulfite and STPP
    • Traceable to farm or fishery
    • Certified to meet the Marine Stewardship Council Standard for sustainability or rated “Green” or “Yellow” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program

    About The Author

    Z Grills

    Z Grills

    Z Grills is a grill manufacturer with over 30 years of experience within the industry. With over 650,000 pellet grills sold and 85 million cooks made, trust us.

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    1. Great recipe above. I like cheap Swai on my Z Grill. Thaw, then lightly season with Tony’s Cajun or blackening seasoning Set fish on the grill, brush lightly with melted butter, smoke for 20 minutes, then flip carefully, brush with butter again then set the grill to 250 – 275 degrees and finish in 40 minutes. One hour total cooking time.

    2. Wayne Burris says:

      How do you smoke a black drum ,saltwater fish ,about 1 in thick

    3. I tried this recipe and it turned out really good. What else can I add to the recipe? Thanks for the recipe.  

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