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How to Cook Halibut on the Grill

Halibut is a popular fish used in tons of recipes around the world. The flesh is soft and tender, and it offers a mild taste that works with almost anything. Plus, halibut comes with a rich supply of omega-3 while low in fat, making it both healthy and ideal for light diets. And while it can be prepared in different ways, one unique method of cooking it is grilling.

But halibut dies easily due to its lean texture, so cooking it on an open fire is crucial. And if you want to prevent the repeated headache of overcooked fish, it’s best to follow some rules.

Selecting the Halibut

Halibut is mostly sold as skinless steaks or fillets, though some prefer them with the skin-on. And the fish itself can grow from 50 to 100 pounds, with some reports of halibuts reaching about 500 pounds. But note that size matters in reverse for this fish, meaning the smaller ones have been deemed the tastiest and the best quality.

But whichever you select, ensure to check for freshness by sniffing it. The flesh should be firm and void of any fishy or ocean smell. It should also look moist, though this factor is less prevalent in thawed halibut fillets or steaks. Still, frozen halibut can work in place of fresh, so long as you thaw it first and note that it may dry quicker.

Seasoning Ideas

Halibut can work with both dry and wet seasoning techniques, but it’s important to note its mild flavor. As such, the flavor enhancement should be minimum; otherwise, it’ll overwhelm the fish’s original taste.

For marinades, a mild option is best as stronger ones will break down the flesh and cause it to fall apart as you grill. Also, consider keeping the marinating time too short, so the fish doesn’t get too soft.

A thin slather of herb butter can also infuse a good deal of flavor to your halibut. And if you prefer dry rubs, adding a few dashes is enough to flavor your halibut to perfection. You can also include fresh herbs in both the marinade and dry rubs for more earthiness.


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Preparing the Grill

You can cook halibut on both outdoor and indoor grills and consider either charcoal or gad. And a charcoal grill allows you to infuse a smoky flavor as you cook. Still, you can consider adding a drop of liquid smoke to the marinade if you’re using a gas grill. But whichever you choose, ensure to prepare it to medium-high heat (about 375F will do).

Once set, you’ll need to oil the grate before cooking the fish. Halibut is quite tender, and the fillets especially stick to the hot, dry racks of the grill. This situation makes it difficult to flip the fish or complete the recipe with the whole Halibut fillets. Halibut steaks hold better on the grill, but a generous greasing of the grates lets you cook both types easily.

Cooking Halibut on the Grill

The low-fat content of halibut means it goes dry quickly on the grill, so it’s best to keep the cooking time short.

Most fillets will completely cook in under six minutes since they’re thinner, while steaks need longer. Generally, a one-inch halibut steak will cook to doneness in about 10 minutes, while thinner cuts will need less time. And the fillet only needs to be flipped once, about halfway through the cooking time.

Still, you’ll want to eat the fish at a safe doneness temperature, which is where a probe thermometer comes into play. And on it, the halibut needs to reach 145F before it can be considered ready.

By then, the fish should be opaque at the center instead of its translucent look when fresh. It should also easily pull apart and flake with a fork.

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How to Cook Halibut on the Grill

Grilled Halibut (4 Servings)

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  • One pound halibut fillet, fresh
  • Two tablespoons honey
  • Two tablespoons melted butter
  • Two teaspoons soy sauce
  • Two cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon
  • Lemon wedges for garnish


  1. Prepare on the grill and let it heat to 375F. Then, as you wait, make a marinade by mixing the honey, butter, soy sauce, pepper, and minced garlic.
  2. If you prefer your fillets skinless, cut the skin off with a knife before seasoning. Then, paint the marinade over both sides of the fish.
  3. Grease the grill racks with cooking oil, then place the halibut over the heat. Ensure to spread it so it flattens and evenly cooks. Then, cover the lid and leave it for five to six minutes. Note to reduce the heat if you smell the fish burning.
  4. Open the lid and flip the fillets to its other side. Then, let it cook until you notice the center going opaque. The fish should be ready when the internal temperature reads 145F, and the texture is flake and fork-tender.
  5. Once the doneness is reached, put the halibut on a serving plate and let it rest for five minutes, then serve with the lemon wedges.

Also, take a peek at this video for more ideas.

  • Author: Bobby