How Long Do You Cook Whole Fish On The Bbq? Find Out The Best Grilling Times Here!

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Grilling is one of the best ways to cook fish. It brings out its natural flavors and creates a beautiful char that gives it an incredible smoky flavor. But cooking fish on the BBQ can be tricky, especially if you’re dealing with a whole fish.

The length of time it takes to grill a whole fish depends on several factors: the thickness of the flesh, whether or not you have gutted it, as well as the type of fish itself. That being said, we’ve put together some general guidelines for grilling different types of whole fish:

“The biggest mistake people make when cooking seafood is overcooking it. ” – Chef Gordon Ramsay

If you want perfectly cooked fish every time, pay attention to how long you’re leaving it on the grill. Overcooked fish tends to become dry and rubbery which nobody wants while undercooked means unsafe meat. Keep reading to find out more about perfecting your grilled whole-fish game!

Factors Affecting Grilling Time

The time it takes to cook a whole fish on the BBQ can depend on several factors. One of those factors is the size of the fish itself. Larger fish will require more cooking time, while smaller ones will be finished much quicker.

Another factor that affects grilling time is whether or not the fish has been gutted and cleaned properly beforehand. A fully intact fish may take longer to cook than one that has already been prepped, as there are more internal organs that need to reach a higher temperature before being safe to eat.

The type of grill you’re using can also influence how long it takes to cook a whole fish. Charcoal grills tend to heat up faster and get hotter overall compared to gas grills, which means your BBQ experience might differ based on what equipment you have available.

Your seasoning choices can directly impact how long your whole fish needs to sit on the BBQ as well. Salt and other spices added directly onto the skin conduct heat differently than if they were sprinkled atop less dense areas like fillets or steaks. This could potentially add or subtract minutes from your total grilling time for optimal results.

In summary, when considering “How Long Do You Cook Whole Fish On The Bbq?”, keep in mind important factors such as size, preparation status, grill type, and seasonings used – all of these contribute considerably towards timing accuracy!

Size and Thickness

The size and thickness of the whole fish you plan to grill on the barbeque are crucial factors that can impact the cooking time. The bigger and thicker the fish, the longer it will take to cook through to achieve a perfect texture.

If you have a smaller whole fish with an average thickness of around 2 inches, then it could be cooked in about 15-20 minutes over medium heat. However, if your fish is larger (around 4 pounds or more) with thick flesh, it may take up to 40-45 minutes for it to cook through completely.

You should also consider whether you want your grilled fish rare, medium-rare, or well-done. Depending on how long you keep it on the flame and at what temperature, this can affect its final consistency, juiciness, and taste profile.

Remember that grilling whole fish takes practice until you get used to determining when they are fully cooked. Some indicatives that help determine doneness include milky eyes turning opaque or flaking off easily without sticking onto the bone.

To test readiness accurately using a thermometer try inserting it into thickest part near spine after removing bones; if it reads above 145℉ (63℃), then your dish has reached safe internal temperatures sufficient enough for consumption by human beings safely prepared food hygiene.

In conclusion, remember that not all fishes need delicate handling where shorter cooking times work best with thin fillets while some giant varieties require careful handling due to risk of drying out too much during extended contact with high flames – always start low before ramping up temp depending upon type species chosen first!

Temperature of the Grill

The temperature of the grill plays a major role in how long you cook whole fish on the BBQ. It is recommended to preheat your grill for at least 10 minutes before placing any food on it.

If you are cooking small or thin whole fish, such as trout, use high heat (around 400-450°F) and cook for approximately 6-8 minutes per side. For larger whole fish like snapper or salmon, use medium-high heat (around 350-375°F) and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes per side.

“It is important to monitor the internal temperature of the fish using a meat thermometer – fish should be cooked until an internal temperature of at least 145°F is reached. ”

Cooking time may also vary based on the size and thickness of the fish. To ensure even cooking, make sure that the heat distribution across your grilling surface is consistent by spreading out coals evenly beneath your fish or adjusting burners as needed while cooking with gas.

Finally, after removing from grill let rest for a few moments before serving to allow juices within the fillet to redistribute throughout flesh adding extra moisture to take dish beyond just being delicious but something quite gastronomic!

Type of Fish

When it comes to cooking a whole fish on the BBQ, choosing the right type of fish is important. Not all species are suitable for this method of cooking, and some work better than others.

Mild flavored and firm fleshed fishes like red snapper, trout, or even tilapia will hold up well on the grill. These varieties aren’t too oily and won’t fall apart easily when cooked.

However, fatty fishes such as salmon may be more challenging to cook on the BBQ because they tend to stick more easily to the grates due to their higher oil content. A good way to prevent this from happening is by brushing the skin with oil before placing it on the grill.

The size of the fish also matters – larger sized fish may take longer to cook evenly over high heat while smaller ones can overcook quickly if not monitored carefully.

“It’s best to always keep an eye on your fish and test its doneness often so that you can remove it from the heat at precisely the right time. “
In conclusion, certain types of mild-flavored, firm-fleshed fish are most ideal for grilling whole while being attentive throughout in order to achieve optimal results regardless of what variety or size is chosen.

Grilling Times for Different Fish

If you’re wondering how long to cook whole fish on the BBQ, it depends on a few factors such as the size of the fish and the type of fish. Here are some general guidelines:

Salmon: Cook 12-15 minutes per inch of thickness over medium-high heat.

Tuna: Cook for 8-10 minutes per inch over high heat.

Mahi Mahi: Cook for 4-6 minutes per side over medium-high heat.

Snapper: Cook for 3-5 minutes per side over medium-high heat.

Note that these are just general guidelines and your specific grill may require slight adjustments. Always use a meat thermometer to ensure that the internal temperature of the fish reaches 145°F before removing from the grill.

To prepare whole fish for grilling, start by cleaning and scaling it thoroughly. Next, make several shallow cuts into both sides of the fish to help it cook more evenly. Finally, season with salt and pepper or your favorite seasoning blend before placing onto a well-oiled grill grate.

The key to perfectly grilled fish is not to flip it too soon! Wait until the flesh easily releases from the grate before carefully flipping it over using a spatula or tongs. With practice, you’ll be impressing your guests with restaurant-quality grilled fish in no time!


When it comes to BBQing a whole fish, salmon is one of the most popular choices. It’s flavorful and moist, making it a great option for outdoor cooking.

The question many people have when cooking a whole fish on the BBQ is how long to cook it for. The answer depends on several factors such as the size of the fish, whether or not you’ve stuffed it with any fillings, and the temperature of your grill.

A good rule of thumb is to cook your whole salmon for around 15-20 minutes per pound on a medium heat grill (around 375 degrees Fahrenheit). Make sure that the internal temperature reaches at least 145°F in order to ensure safe consumption.

If you’re stuffing your salmon with herbs, lemons, or other ingredients, consider adding an extra 5-10 minutes to your cooking time. This will help ensure that everything cooks through properly and enhances the flavor of your dish.

It’s important to keep an eye on your salmon throughout the grilling process. You don’t want to overcook it as this can lead to dryness and tough texture. Use a meat thermometer if possible to check internal temperatures frequently.

Once your salmon is cooked through, remove it from the grill and allow it to rest for a few minutes before serving. This ensures that all juices are redistributed within the fish instead of running out onto plates once cut into.

With these tips in mind, you should be able to achieve perfectly grilled salmon every time you fire up your BBQ!


Tilapia is a delicious and easy fish to cook on the BBQ. It’s also quick to grill! How long you cook whole Tilapia on the BBQ will depend on a few factors such as size, thickness, and temperature of your grill.

An average sized tilapia fillet should be cooked for about 5 minutes per side at 400°F (204°C). If the fish is thicker or larger, then it may need an additional minute or two. However, if your Tilapia has skin, we recommend putting it flesh-side down first for crispy results before flipping it over after 2-3 mins.

If you prefer cooking a whole Tilapia instead of fillets, ensure that you score both sides with shallow cuts along each diagonal to enable even heating during grilling. You’ll want to preheat your BBQ up to medium heat around 350 -375°F (180-190 °C) and cook for approximately 6-8mins PER SIDE until white, tender meat shows in the thickest part near bones

“It’s important not to undercook fish as bacteria and parasites can quickly grow. ” so always use a thermometer when cooking any seafood!

You can further enhance your tilapia by adding some flavors like basil leaves, garlic cloves squeezed gently inside slits cut through both sides of the fish. Brush olive oil & lemon liberally across this flavorful dish extra nutritional value.


Trout is a type of freshwater fish that is popular for cooking on the barbecue. It has firm white flesh and a delicate flavor, making it ideal for grilling.

Before you start cooking trout on the BBQ, make sure to prepare it properly by cleaning and gutting it first. Then season it with your choice of herbs and spices before placing it onto a pre-heated grill.

The general rule for cooking whole fish on the BBQ is to cook it for about 8-10 minutes per inch of thickness. So if your trout is one inch thick, then cook it for 8-10 minutes total, flipping halfway through. If your trout is thicker than one inch, adjust accordingly based on its thickness.

“It’s important not to overcook the trout or else it will become dry and rubbery. “

If you’re unsure whether the trout is cooked thoroughly, insert a meat thermometer into thickest part of the fish. The internal temperature should be at least 145°F (63°C).

In conclusion, cooking whole trout on the BBQ can be an easy and delicious way to enjoy this tasty fish. Just remember to clean and prepare it properly beforehand, season it well, keep track of cook time based on its thickness, and monitor its internal temperature regularly.


Bass is a common type of fish that can be found in both freshwater and saltwater habitats. It is a popular choice among anglers who enjoy fishing for sport or recreation, but bass also makes for a delicious meal when cooked properly.

When cooking whole bass on the BBQ, it’s important to ensure that you have enough time to cook the fish thoroughly without overcooking it. A good rule of thumb is to cook the fish for approximately 10-12 minutes per inch of thickness. For example, if your bass is two inches thick, you’ll want to cook it for around 20-24 minutes total.

An easy way to check whether your bass is fully cooked is by using a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the flesh. The internal temperature should read at least 145°F (63°C) before serving.

In addition to grilling whole bass on the BBQ, another tasty option is stuffing with herbs and lemon slices before wrapping in foil and baking in an oven preheated to 375°F (190°C) until fully cooked – usually about 15-20 minutes depending on their size. – Chef John Doe

It’s best not to flip the fish more than once during cooking as this could cause it to fall apart. If you’re worried about sticking then add oil or butter directly onto the skin prior roasting, though its always better letting it rest outside fridge one hour prior preparing as well allowing air-flow over surface making crust).

All in all, cooking whole Bass takes some attention, mainly since they are big and relatively uneven; however they make up with great taste!

Grilling Techniques for Perfectly Cooked Fish

Fish is a delicate protein that requires careful attention when grilling, but with the right techniques, you can achieve perfectly cooked results every time. One of the most common questions when it comes to grilling fish on a bbq is: How long do you cook whole fish on the bbq?

The answer depends on several factors including the size and thickness of your fish, as well as your grill’s temperature, but a general rule of thumb for cooking whole fish is about 10 minutes per inch of thickness. However, this is just an approximation and should be used as a guide only – always use your best judgment based on how the flesh looks and feels.

To ensure even cooking and avoid sticking, coat both sides of your fish generously with oil prior to placing it onto the grill. You may also want to lightly season the skin side before adding it to the surface. Always place the thicker part of the fillet closest to the heat source so it cooks evenly throughout.

If you’re using wood or charcoal rather than gas as a fuel type for your barbecue, let them burn until they become glowing embers before placing the fish on top. This helps maintain an even temperature while imparting a delicious smoky flavor into your dish.

In conclusion, by following these simple tips and paying close attention to each step along the way, you’ll be able to create mouth-watering grilled fish dishes that are sure to impress everyone at your next barbecue gathering! Remember to never rush – good things come to those who wait!

Preheat the Grill

The BBQ is an amazing way to fill your summer time with wonderful meals for family and friends. However, if you are new to using a grill, especially when it comes to cooking a whole fish on the barbecue, there are several things that need to be considered.

First of all, preheating the grill is crucial before anything else. Turn on all burners at the highest setting and leave them like this with the lid closed until they reach around 550°F which will take between ten minutes up to even half an hour depending on the power of your grill.

When it comes to cooking a whole fish on the barbecue, timing is everything! The rule of thumb here is that every inch of thickness equals about ten minutes cook time via direct heat; add two more minutes per inch if grilling indirectly.

“A big mistake that many people make when barbecuing fish is overcooking it, ” warns Steven Raichlen (a well-known TV-show chef). “Fish continues cooking after being removed from heat because of residual internal heat. “

A suggestion could be flipping your whole fish only once because doing so too often can lead to sticking or breaking apart, therefore losing valuable flavors as well as creating an unpleasant aesthetic. Also, avoiding turning down the temperature during cooking sessions since opening covers may let temperatures lower and BBQ loses precious degrees quite quickly by airflow cooling. Shutting lids keeps in those tempting smells but also prevents outside oxygen flow reducing flames’ availability while adding a smoky touch presentable perfectly flavored Whole Grilled Fish dish within no time!

Oil the Grill Grates

If you’re planning to cook whole fish on your BBQ, it’s important to prepare your grill grates properly. One of the most crucial steps is oiling the grates.

To oil your grill grates:

  1. Clean any residue off the grates using a wire brush or scraper.
  2. Dip a paper towel into vegetable oil or use a basting brush to coat the entire surface with oil. This will create a non-stick surface that prevents food from sticking and burning.
  3. With tongs, rub an onion cut in half onto the heated oiled grid. It helps clean and season it all at once.

A well-oiled grate not only makes for easier cooking but also adds flavor to your food by creating those tasty grill marks we all know and love. And since fish can be delicate, having a non-stick surface means they are less likely to fall apart while cooking.

“Oiling the grill before cooking whole fish ensures they will slide right off when done”

Now that you’ve oiled your grill grates, let them heat up properly before adding your whole fish to ensure even cooking throughout. But how long do you actually need to keep them on there for?

The time needed will depend on several factors like size of fish, type of fish etc. , and this is where matters get slightly complicated as getting the timing right could make all difference between perfect dish versus overcooked meal.

Use a Grill Basket or Foil Packet

When it comes to grilling whole fish, using a grill basket or foil packet is essential. The reason why you should do this is that the grill can be quite harsh on the tender flesh of the fish and cause it to stick, break apart or burn onto the grates.

A grill basket is a metal cage-like container that holds your fish securely in place while allowing hot air and smoke from below to circulate around it. This not only prevents sticking but also ensures even cooking throughout the fish.

A foil packet, on the other hand, involves wrapping your whole fish tightly in aluminum foil before placing it on the BBQ. This method allows for steaming and roasting of the fish all at once without worrying about burning or ruining its delicate texture.

In general, when cooking a whole fish on the BBQ, plan for approximately 10 minutes per inch of thickness (measured at its thickest point). However, factors such as heat intensity and proximity to flame may affect cooking time and require some adjustments.

The best way to check if your whole fish is thoroughly cooked is by inserting a meat thermometer into its thickest part. It should register between 145°F to 150°F (63°C -65°) when done.

To serve grilled whole fish straight off the BBQ, carefully move each piece with a spatula onto plates or platters. Garnish with freshly squeezed lemon juice and fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro over them before serving warm.

Remember these tips next time you’re preparing grilled whole Fish on BBQ!

Frequently Asked Questions

What temperature should the BBQ be set to for cooking a whole fish?

The BBQ should be set to medium-high heat, around 375-400°F (190-205°C), for cooking a whole fish. This will ensure that the fish cooks evenly and thoroughly without burning or drying out.

What types of whole fish are best for grilling on the BBQ?

Fatty fish such as salmon, trout, and mackerel are best for grilling on the BBQ. These fish have a higher oil content which helps keep the flesh moist and flavorful even when exposed to high heat. Whole fish with firm flesh like snapper, sea bass, and branzino are also good choices for grilling.

How long should you marinate a whole fish before grilling it on the BBQ?

For best results, marinate the whole fish for at least 30 minutes before grilling it on the BBQ. This will infuse the fish with flavor and help tenderize the flesh. Avoid marinating for more than 2 hours as the acid in the marinade can start to break down the delicate flesh.

Can you cook a whole fish on the BBQ without using aluminum foil?

Yes, you can cook a whole fish on the BBQ without using aluminum foil. The key is to oil the grates well and place the fish directly on the grill. This will help prevent sticking and allow the fish to form a delicious crispy crust.

What are some recommended seasonings to use when grilling a whole fish on the BBQ?

Lemon, garlic, and fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, and parsley are popular seasonings for grilling a whole fish on the BBQ. Other options include ginger, soy sauce, and chili flakes. Don’t forget to season the inside of the fish as well as the skin for maximum flavor.

How do you know when a whole fish is cooked all the way through on the BBQ?

The best way to tell if a whole fish is cooked all the way through on the BBQ is to check the internal temperature. The fish should reach a temperature of 145°F (63°C) at its thickest part. Another way to tell if the fish is done is to gently pull on the flesh with a fork. It should easily flake apart and be opaque all the way through.

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