Grilled seafood is not only a healthy alternative to a burger, it tastes great too. There are many things about grilling seafood that scare people; after a few failed attempts, people generally just give up and go back to the burgers and hot dogs. Grilling seafood can be easy and with some great products from stores like Legal Sea Foods and QVC, any beginner can be turned into a grilled seafood master.
Preparing the Seafood
When you are ready to prepare the seafood, be sure you follow a few simple rules. Seafood is a delicate meat and requires little preparation, so be careful when you are marinating it. Most thin cuts of fish only require about 20 minutes to marinate in the flavor; larger thicker cuts can withstand about an hour. Most marinades contain citrus and this can actually cook the meat and with over marinating you can have a mushy mess that will just fall apart on your grill. Always marinate your seafood in the refrigerator; it is unsafe to leave the meat out on the counter. If you are using frozen cuts of meat, allow them to thaw properly overnight in the fridge. Do not attempt to thaw them out with water or in the microwave; you will not only lose flavor you will end up with inedible meat.
Cleaning Your Grill
Be sure that you turn the grill on and allow the left over drippings from previous meals to burn off. Use a wire scrub brush and thoroughly clean the surface before using it to grill any meats, especially seafoods.
Tools for grilling can make life so much easier; the simple use of a handy set of tongs for turning meats can be essential when making a meal on the grill. You can find metal cooking baskets for shrimp and scallops, and skewers are a great way to cook shrimp and other small items on the grill.
Cooking Time and Temp
You should have your grill on a medium low heat, and know that seafood cooks very quickly. Shrimp generally takes about 4 minutes to cook and should be warm and pink when ready to eat. The fish fillets may take longer depending on the thickness, normally about 3-5 minutes per side. Only turn your fish once to avoid the filet from breaking apart. The fish should be opaque and flake easily. Shellfish such as muscles or clams will need the hottest section of the grill and they will be done when the shell opens. If you place clams or muscles on the grill with a moderately high heat and the shells do not open after five minutes, they need to be discarded and not eaten.
Other Helpful Tips
If you are basting your seafood, be sure you do not use a nylon brush as the bristles will melt and can leave unsavory particles on your food. Always keep a water bottle nearby to help with any flare ups and keep your meat evenly spaced on the grill.