Most Pit Boss owners never think about cooking fish, because they would rather have a steak or hamburger. If you’ve ever wondered how to grill fish on Pit Boss, you’re in the right place. I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to grill fish over indirect heat for your next outdoor cooking experience.
Grilling Fish On A Pit Boss Pellet Grill
When grilling fish on the grill, opt for a firm, hearty fish such as; salmon, tuna, swordfish, mahi-mahi, etc. These fish won’t flake or break apart when cooked over open flames. Fattier fish are best for smoking.
In this article, we’ll cover seasoning the fish, tools you need, best pellets to use, and how to actually cook the fish.
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Choose a Fish Cut
Before starting the Pit Boss pellet grill, the first step is to decide what type of fish cut you want to prepare. If you’re buying from the grocery store, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the fish yourself.
The popular cuts of meat for grilling include:
The whole fish consists of the entire fish, including the head, tail, viscera are still intact. Among the fish that are offered whole are salmon, tilapia, tuna, trout, red snapper, etc. This type of fish takes less preparation but can be challenging to eat, as your guests have to eat around the bones and skin.
A fish steak cut is a cut made perpendicular to the spine, that usually consists of a larger fish such as mahi-mahi, tuna, salmon, or swordfish. With this cut, the skin and vertebrae bones are left intact.
A fillet is a meat cut from the sides of the fish. These cuts can be found with either the skin on or off, depending on the species. Most of the bones are removed, making it safer and easier to eat.
I personally prefer grilling a food fish fillet with skin. The skin prevents the fish from falling apart on the grates and helps retain moisture.
You can always remove the skin before serving it.
Prepping The Fish
If you’ve purchased the fish from a grocery store, it won’t take much prep work. You’ll want to:
Rinse the fish in cool water to remove any debris. (unless you’ve purchased fish that has already been seasoned.
Remove excess moisture by wrapping the fish in kitchen towels and pressing down on it lightly.
Remove any noticeable bones before seasoning.
Season the fish to your liking.
What Spices Go Well With Fish?
When seasoning fish, it really comes down to preferred taste. That said, some seasonings pair exceptionally well with both fish and seafood, since both have really fast cooking times.
Below are some of the best herbs and spices to use when cooking fish both indoors or outdoors.
- Smoked paprika
If this is your first time cooking fish on the pellet grill, I suggest following some of the smoker recipes you find online. The last time I cooked salmon, I found a recipe online and used it called for the following.
You can read more about my salmon grilling experience here.
Can You Marinate Fish?
Marinating fish before throwing cooking it at a high temperature on the grill, not only adds great flavor but also helps keep the meat tender.
If the marinate contains citrus juices (lemon juice) you don’t want to over marinate it. It will change the texture of the fish (eg, make it mushy).
Guidelines for Marinating Fish
- The thinner the fish filet, the less time it needs to be marinated.
- When using more acid (vinegar, citrus juice) in the marinade, the less time the fish should sit in the marinade.
Basically, fish should marinate 30-60 minutes in the refrigerator. Anything more than that can cause the fish to become mushy and fall apart on the grill.
When grilling steaks or tougher meats, it’s fine to leave them sitting in the marinate overnight.
What Do You need to Smoke Fish On Pit Boss?
Like traditional charcoal and gas grills, some cooking equipment is suggested, but not required.
The cedar plank is a very popular item when cooking salmon or any other type of fish. Just grab your piece of fish, coat it with some salt, black pepper, and a little olive oil. Lay it on the cedar plank and set it on the grill over direct medium heat. Close the lid and in about 15-20 minutes you have a great flavorful piece of fish.
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This fish spatula makes it easier to flip or remove fish from the grill. The long-slotted head is designed for longer foods, so it won’t break apart, when transferring, flipping, lift, or turning food.
A good basting brush will make it easier to coat your fish with an extra layer of marinade once it’s on the grill.
Stainless Steel Fish Basket
- ✅Complete High-Quality Grilling Value Set - Conquer the grill with your own tools to help you prepare your famous BBQ recipes. The SHIZZO Set includes a grill basket, basting brush, grilling gloves, and even a portable case for a BBQ away from home.
- ✅Perfect Grill Results - Enjoy the ease of grilling whether meats, seafood, veggies, or even s'mores for camping night - you'll always get a perfectly even grill with the Smoke & Grill basket
- ✅Safer and Easier Grilling - The Smoke and Grill basket features a long handle and a secure locking mechanism that allows you to flip your BBQ safely and easily with no food waste. A safer, easier, and more satisfying grilling experience.
- ✅Grill All in One - The Smoke & Grill Basket has a large and deep grilling tray - so you can grill different kinds of food all at the same time. Grill thick steaks and burgers along with your vegetables in a steel grid basket that measures 12x9.5x1.5 inches.
- ✅Lightweight, Durable, and Easy to Clean - Made with the highest quality stainless steel - light and easy to handle, rust-free, and dishwasher safe. You can trust that your Smoke and Grill basket will last through many BBQ seasons.
A good fishing basket will prevent the fish from sticking to the cooking space. It will also ensure the marinade stays in place during the cooking process.
As mentioned, those tools will help make the process of cooking fish easier. They are NOT required.
You likely already have everything you need to cook fish.
Can You Cook Cold Fish?
Letting the fish sit at room temperature on the counter for 15 minutes before cooking, will help it cook more evenly. Pull the fish out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter while you mix all the ingredients and do all the prep work.
When you let the fish sit at room temperature before grilling, it takes less time to cook, and cooks more evenly. This should go without saying but never grill frozen fish.
How Do You Cook Fish On A Pit Boss Pellet Grill?
The Pit Boss makes it easy to cook fish using a few methods. Many people choose to smoke their fish over low temperatures. When grilling the fish, we’ll be cooking the fish over high temperatures.
Don’t worry, the cooked fish will still have an added smoke flavor to it. The grilling process is just faster, the fish doesn’t stay on the grill as long.
Preparing the Pit Boss Grill
Unlike other meats, fish has a tendency to stick to the grill. If you follow the Pit Boss shut down procedure after every cook, you shouldn’t have any issues.
However, below are some tips you can use to keep the fish from sticking to the cooking space.
- Brush the grates with a good grill brush.
- Put some olive oil on the fish meat to keep it from sticking. According to AmazingRibs.com, lubricating the grates can be highly volatile.
- Clean the grates before using them.
What’s The Best Way to Smoke Fish On A Pit Boss Pellet Grill?
If you prefer to smoke your fish, you’ll want to use a lower temperature setting. For smoking thin delicate fish, set the smoke setting on the Pit Boss and don’t let the temperature fluctuate above 200°F.
What Temperature Do You Cook Fish on a Pit Boss?
Grill the fish at 300°F – 350°F. As mentioned, you can cook fish on a Pit Boss using several different methods.
No matter what temperature you grill at, you make sure you use an internal thermometer to check the temperature. The fish is safe to consume when it reaches an internal temperature of 145 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Grill Fish Steaks
- Use steaks that are no more than 1″ in thickness.
- Preheat the grill and let it reach your desired cooking temperature before putting the steaks on it.
- Place the steaks directly on the grates.
- Close the lid and allow it to cook for 3-4 minutes.
- Flip the fish steak to the opposite side.
- Close the lid and let it took for another 3-4 minutes
- Check the internal temperature using an instant-read meat thermometer.
- Remove the steak from the grill and let it rest before serving.
How to Grill Fish Fillets
- Place the fish on the grill grates skin side down. I’ve always found that placing the fish in a diagonal position makes it easier to get the spatula underneath.
- Close the lid and cook the fish on one side for 2-4 minutes.
- Use a spatula and flip the fish to the flesh side and close the lid.
- Allow the fish to cook for another 3-6 minutes, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 145°F.
- If the fish starts flaking with a fork or is fully opaque, it can be removed from the grill.
How to Grill a Whole Fish
- Set the temperature to high, and preheat, the grill with the lid closed for 10-15 minutes.
- Place the fish directly on the grill grate.
- Close the lid and let cook for about 5 minutes.
- Use tongs or a spatula to flip the grill to the second side.
- Allow to cook for another 3-5 minutes, monitoring the internal temperature using the meat probes or thermometer.
- Once it reaches a safe internal temperature, remove it from the grill and serve.
What P-Setting to Use for Cooking Fish?
The P-setting can be left on the default P4 setting unless you’re cooking in cold weather. That said, you can always play around with the different P-Settings, if you’re trying to get more smoke flavor.
Best Pellets for Grilling Fish
Opt for hardwood pellets with a lighter flavor such as fruitwood when cooking fish. I’ve personally found that Apple Hardwood Pellets work best when grilling fish.
Grilling Fish on a Plank
Using a wooden plank for grilling is perfect for those fish fillets that are too delicate to place directly on the grates.
The plank acts as a barrier between the grates and the fillet. It not only keeps your fish from sticking to the grates, but it also helps enhance the flavor.
Many fish lovers love grilling fish on a cedar plank because it produces more smoke and gives it a more authentic smoke flavor.
- Soak the plank in salted water for 2 hours, then drain.
- Preheat your grill to medium heat about 350°F.
- Oil the top side of the plank to prevent the fillet from sticking.
- Place the fish on the oil side and put it on the grill.
- Close the lid and allow the fish to cook for about 10-15 minutes.
- Use a thermometer to check the doneness.
- Once cooked, remove the plank from the grill using barbecue mitts.
- Transfer the fish from the plank to a platter and allow it to rest.
Cooking fish on a plank takes a little longer than fish cooked directly on the grill. Keep this in mind, as you’ll want to have a meat thermometer nearby to ensure it’s cooked properly.
How Long Do You Cook Fish On A Pit Boss Grill?
The general rule is to allow 8-10 minutes of grill time per inch of fish. So if you’re cooking a 1-inch fish steak, it will take about 8-10 minutes to cook.
A 2″ steak would take about 16 minutes. That said, cooking time will vary depending on the level of thickness, grill temperature, ambient temperature, etc.
It’s always a good idea to use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature.
One of the worst things you can do is undercook your fish. Eating undercooked fish can cause you to become sick. That said overcooking your fish will cause it to become tough and dry.
When in doubt, the FDA recommends cooking fish to a safe internal temperature of 145°F/63°C.
Do You Flip Fish on a Pellet Grill?
Flipping the fish will ensure it cooks thoroughly and will help produce those famous grill markings everyone loves.
That said, only flip your piece of fish once during the grilling process. Flipping it more than once will increase the chance of it breaking apart.
Like other meats, you’ll want to allow the fish to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. The resting process allows the fish to relax so the juices run back into the cut of fish, producing a more tender fish.
What to Serve With Fish?
Fish goes well with a lot of side dishes. Whenever I grill fish, I usually serve it with grilled or steamed vegetables, potatoes, (mashed, roasted, etc), or pasta.
You can even top your salad with fresh grilled fish.
Hopefully, this guide shows you how easy it is to cook fish on the Pit Boss. Depending on the type of fish you’re cooking, you can opt for a fast high-temperature grilling experience. If you have a fattier fish, you may want to smoke it over low indirect heat.
The next time you turn on your Pit Boss, opt for a good grilled Mahi Mahi or salmon.