BBQ Fish Recipes

4 Easy BBQ Fish Recipes: Your Next Backyard Hit

Craving something different for your grill game? Let’s march into the uncharted territories of BBQ fish recipes, a realm where flaky, smoky goodness reigns supreme. Ditch the predictable burgers and hot dogs for a moment—trust me, your taste buds are begging for a seaside vacation. It’s time to elevate your BBQ with something that’ll not only grab attention but keep everyone coming back for more.

BBQ Fish Recipes
Credits to

So, whip out that apron, fire up the grill, and let’s turn your next outdoor feast into an unforgettable culinary adventure. Ready to become the neighborhood grill master? Let’s dive in!

What are BBQ Fish Recipes?

BBQ fish recipes are your secret weapon for turning a regular ol’ barbecue into a seaside-inspired feast right in your backyard. Picture this: instead of the usual suspects (you know, burgers, hot dogs, and ribs), you’ve got tender, flaky fish fillets or whole fish, sizzling away on the grill, soaking up all that smoky goodness. These recipes play around with various types of fish—like salmon, tilapia, or even shrimp (okay, not a fish, but stick with me)—and marinate or rub them down with a mix of spices, herbs, and sometimes a zesty squeeze of citrus to boost those flavors to the next level.

The magic of BBQ fish recipes lies in their simplicity and the sheer variety they bring to the table (or grill, in this case). Whether you’re brushing a glaze over salmon or wrapping snapper in foil with lemon and herbs, each recipe promises a mouthwatering meal that’ll make you feel like you’re dining beachside.

Plus, it’s a healthier pivot from the heavy hitters of traditional BBQ fare, offering a light yet satisfying option that’ll leave everyone impressed and asking for seconds. So, next time you fire up the grill, think beyond the beef and give the sea’s bounty a go. It’s an easy way to mix things up and bring a wave of fresh flavors to your outdoor gatherings.

BBQ Fish Recipes
Credits to The Healthy Foodie

What are the best fish for BBQ?

Choosing the best fish for a BBQ is like picking your favorite song—it depends on the vibe you’re going for! But, let’s break it down to a couple of crowd-pleasers that’ll have everyone cheering for an encore.

BBQ Fish Recipes
Credits to Jamie Oliver

1. Salmon: The Rockstar

Salmon is like the classic rock hit of BBQ fish—it never gets old. Its firm texture and rich, oily nature make it perfect for grilling. Salmon can handle high heat, retains moisture like a champ, and has that bold flavor that sings through any marinade or seasoning you throw at it.

2. Tilapia: The Pop Hit

Tilapia, with its mild flavor and versatility, is like the pop song that’s easy to love. It’s a great canvas for all kinds of seasonings and cooking styles, from spicy rubs to a simple brush of olive oil and lemon. It’s also forgiving for BBQ newbies.

3. Swordfish: The Heavy Metal Solo

Swordfish steaks are the heavy metal of the BBQ world—bold, straightforward, and impossible to ignore. Their steak-like texture makes them ideal for the grill, holding up well to the heat and absorbing the smoky flavors.

4. Snapper: The Jazz Improv

Red snapper offers a sweet, nutty flavor that’s like a smooth jazz solo—complex and sophisticated. Its firm texture and moist flesh make it suitable for direct grilling or wrapping in foil with herbs and citrus for a steamed effect.

What is the Best Way to Cook Fish on a BBQ?

Cooking fish on a BBQ is like being a DJ at a summer beach party: you need the right tunes (techniques) to keep the vibe going strong. Here’s how to make sure your fish hits all the right notes without falling apart or sticking to the grill.

1. Prep Your Grill

Make sure your grill is clean and well-oiled. This is like laying down a smooth track for your fish to dance on. A hot, non-stick surface is key to preventing your fish from sticking and falling apart.

Prep Your Grill BBQ Fish Recipes
Credits to Kingsford

2. Choose Your Method

Direct Grilling:

For firm fish (think salmon or swordfish), direct grilling is your jam. It’s straightforward and lets you get that perfect char.

Place the fish directly on the grill, skin-side down first, to get crispy skin and a smoky flavor.

Foil Packet:

For delicate fish (like tilapia), or if you’re just looking for an easy cleanup, foil packets are the way to go.

Wrap your fish with some herbs, spices, and a splash of lemon juice in foil, then let it cook in its own steamy mini-environment.

Grill Basket:

A grill basket can be your best friend for smaller fish or fillets that might flake apart.

It keeps everything contained, making flipping a breeze and ensuring your fish cooks evenly without any casualties.

Direct grilling of BBQ Fish Recipes
Credits to Serious Eats
BBQ Fish Recipes Foil Packet
Credits to City Fish Market
Cooking Your Sea Bass on the BBQ

3. Keep It Moist

Fish loves a bit of moisture to keep it from drying out. Brush it lightly with oil, a marinade, or even a thin layer of mayonnaise (yes, mayonnaise) before it hits the grill. This not only adds flavor but helps keep the fish tender and juicy.

4. Timing Is Everything

Unlike tougher meats, fish cooks quickly, so keep an eye on it. A good rule of thumb is to cook fish about 10 minutes per inch of thickness, flipping halfway through. But don’t overdo it; when the fish flakes easily with a fork, it’s ready to take center stage.

5. Let It Rest

Just like a good song needs a moment to fade out, let your fish rest for a few minutes after it’s off the grill. This lets the juices redistribute for that perfect first bite.


Experiment with different seasonings and types of fish to find your favorite BBQ hits. Whether you’re going for the classic grilled salmon or the easy-going vibes of a foil-packet tilapia, the best way to cook fish on a BBQ is the way that makes you happy and keeps your guests coming back for more. So, fire up the grill, and let the good times roll!

Do You Oil Fish Before BBQ?

Absolutely! Oiling fish before tossing it on the BBQ is like giving your favorite vinyl record a good clean before dropping the needle—it’s essential for the best experience.

How to Do It Right:

  • Choose Your Oil: A high-smoke-point oil like canola, vegetable, or avocado oil is perfect. They can handle the heat without burning, unlike extra virgin olive oil, which has a lower smoke point.
  • Lightly Does It: You don’t need to drench the fish. A light brush or drizzle is enough. You want to enhance, not overwhelm.
  • Seasoning: After oiling, feel free to season your fish as desired. The oil will help those seasonings cling to the fish, adding depth to its flavor.
how to oil fish before bbq
Credits to Budget Travel Talk

4 Simple BBQ Fish Recipes

Elevate your BBQ fish dishes with the perfect sauce pairing, from the tangy dill yogurt for salmon to the herby basil chimichurri for swordfish. These complementary sauces enhance the natural flavors of the fish, adding a deliciously complex layer to each bite. Let’s break down those fishy favorites into easy-to-follow recipes, each with a little tip to keep things smooth sailing.

Grilled Lemon-Garlic Salmon

BBQ Fish Recipes: Grilled Lemon-Garlic Salmon
Credits to Cafe Delites


  • Salmon fillets
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon (juice and zest)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper
  • Fresh dill or parsley


  1. Marinate: In a bowl, mix olive oil, lemon juice and zest, garlic, salt, and pepper. Marinate the salmon for about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Grill: Heat your grill to medium-high. Place salmon skin-side down, grilling for about 6-8 minutes, depending on thickness. No need to flip.
  3. Serve: Garnish with fresh herbs before serving.

Tip: Keep the skin on; it helps hold the salmon together and prevents sticking.

Grilled Tilapia Mango Salsa

Grilled Tilapia Mango Salsa
Credits to Al Balsan


  • Tilapia fillets
  • BBQ seasoning
  • 1 ripe mango, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeño, minced (adjust to taste)
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • A handful of cilantro, chopped
  • Salt to taste


  1. Season: Coat the tilapia with your favorite BBQ seasoning.
  2. Grill: Cook on a preheated grill over medium heat, about 3-4 minutes per side.
  3. Salsa: Mix mango, bell pepper, jalapeño, lime juice, cilantro, and salt in a bowl.
  4. Serve: Top the grilled tilapia with mango salsa.

Tip: Make the salsa ahead of time; it tastes better as the flavors meld.

Grilled Swordfish Steaks

Grilled Swordfish Steaks
Credits to Daily Meal


  • Swordfish steaks, about 1 inch thick
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Lemon wedges, for serving


  1. Prep: Brush the swordfish steaks with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Grill: Heat the grill to high. Grill the steaks for about 5-6 minutes per side.
  3. Serve: With lemon wedges on the side.

Tip: Don’t move the steaks too much while grilling to get those perfect grill marks.

Snapper Wrapped in Foil


  • Whole snapper, cleaned and scaled
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  • Fresh herbs (thyme, rosemary)
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Prepare: Lay out foil, place snapper in the center. Stuff with lemon slices and herbs. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap tightly.
  2. Grill: On a medium-hot grill, cook the packet for about 15-20 minutes.
  3. Serve: Carefully open the foil to avoid steam, and enjoy.

Tip: Add a splash of white wine inside the foil before sealing for an extra flavor boost.

Sauce to Pair with Your BBQ Fish

Grilled Lemon-Garlic Salmon: Dill Yogurt Sauce


  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Mix all ingredients in a bowl until smooth. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving to let the flavors meld.

Pairing Tip: The creamy dill yogurt sauce complements the rich, fatty salmon, cutting through with a refreshing tang and highlighting the lemon-garlic notes.

BBQ Tilapia with Spicy Mango Salsa: Cilantro Lime Crema


  • 1 cup sour cream (or Mexican crema)
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • Salt to taste

Directions: Whisk together sour cream, lime juice and zest, cilantro, and salt until smooth.

Pairing Tip: The cool, zesty cilantro lime crema is a perfect counterbalance to the sweet and spicy mango salsa, adding a creamy layer that ties together the flavors.

Grilled Swordfish Steaks: Basil Chimichurri


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Salt and red pepper flakes to taste

Directions: Pulse all ingredients in a food processor until well combined but still slightly chunky.

Pairing Tip: Swordfish’s meaty texture is perfectly accentuated by the vibrant, herby chimichurri, adding a fresh and slightly tangy dimension that enhances the fish’s natural flavors.

Snapper Wrapped in Foil: Lemon Butter Sauce


  • ½ cup unsalted butter
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions: Melt butter over low heat. Stir in lemon juice, zest, parsley, salt, and pepper. Simmer for a couple of minutes until aromatic.

Pairing Tip: The light, citrusy lemon butter sauce brings out the snapper’s delicate flavors without overpowering it, adding a luxurious silkiness to the moist, tender fish.


A culinary voyage through the smoky realms of BBQ fish, armed with recipes that promise to transform your grill into a showcase of oceanic delights. From the rich, flavorful embrace of grilled lemon-garlic salmon to the exotic flair of BBQ tilapia topped with spicy mango salsa, each dish is a testament to the versatility and sheer deliciousness of fish on the BBQ.

Paired with the perfect sauces, from zesty dill yogurt to vibrant basil chimichurri, these combinations are designed to elevate your dining experience, ensuring every bite is as memorable as the last.

So next time you fire up the grill, dare to venture beyond the usual with these delectable fish recipes. They’re not just meals; they’re an invitation to explore the boundless possibilities of BBQ, one flaky, succulent bite at a time. Happy grilling!

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