Here’s Why Halibut Is the Easiest Type of Seafood to Grill

It’s so much easier than salmon.

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May 11, 2021


Grilled Halibut with Spinach, leeks and Pine Nuts - Photographed on Hasselblad H3D2-39mb Camera

Photo by: LauriPatterson/Getty Images

LauriPatterson/Getty Images

Maybe you’ve got the grilled steak and chicken breast down pat. But seafood — that’s another story. Although grilled fish says “summer” through and through, its skin might stick to the grill. Or each fillet could completely fall apart when you flip it. The fish could go from just right to overcooked in a matter of 30 seconds. If fish seems like a wildcard to grill, it could simply be that you’re starting off with varieties that are challenging.

Instead of reaching for the obvious fish of choice, salmon, consider honing your seafood technique with a contender that’s much easier to grill: halibut. Unlike salmon, which is known for its buttery texture, halibut is a white fish with a firmer, meatier texture. This means that halibut fillets tend to stay intact on the grill when you flip them, move them around and check for doneness. In fact, the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute goes as far as to describe halibut as the “steak of seafood.” It’s the type of fish you can plop right down directly on the grates of your grill — no futzing around with cedar planks necessary — without worrying that it will fall in.

Moreover, in case you have any new seafood eaters in your group, halibut’s flavor is more neutral than that of salmon. It has a mild, almost sweet taste that’s anything but “fishy.” You can serve it with simple lemon or get wild with your sauces because, ultimately, halibut pairs with most flavors.

When you’re shopping for halibut, look for the words “wild,” “Alaskan” and “flash frozen” to ensure you’re getting high quality, firm, non-mealy fillets. You can also buy halibut steaks, which are larger than fillets and make for an impressive presentation on a platter.

Before grilling, you’ll want to ensure you remove as much moisture as possible from the halibut. Carefully pat the fish dry all over — particularly on the skin — before grilling. Clean and oil your grill grates right before grilling halibut and start the halibut skin-side down. Grill until grill-marked and opaque throughout, about 4 minutes per side for fillets.

For some brilliant grilled halibut inspo, check out a few of our favorite recipes.

Halibut with Olive Bagna Cauda as prepared by Giada De Laurentiis, as seen on Giada on the Beach, Season 1.

Grilled Halibut with Olive Bagna Cauda

30 minutes max is all you need to whip up this light, flavorful dinner — complete with a savory olive, garlic and tomato sauce.

Grilled Halibut with Corn-Coconut Curry Sauce and Grilled Cherry Tomato Chutney

This recipe is case in point that halibut can pair with strong, bold flavors.

Grilled Halibut with Fennel, Red Onions and Oregano

Smart tip: grill some bread alongside your halibut, then serve the two alongside a fresh summer salad.

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