Grilling Tips – What to Know Before Grilling Mahi Mahi

Mahi Mahi is becoming more and more popular as a trophy fish sought after and caught by sports fisherman all over. This particular fish is often found in the warmer waters of the Gulf Coast, Hawaii and along the cost lines of South America. With it’s increase in popularity, it can often be found served in many restaurants or in the fresh seafood cases of many grocery stores.

Sometimes called “Dolphin Fish” (although not related to the mammal dolphin in any way), Mahi Mahi when filleted properly produces thick, dense pinkish white fillets that are well suited to cooking on a charcoal or gas grill. Served with roasted potatoes, grilled corn on the cob and asparagus spears, it’s a meal you or your guests won’t soon forget!

There are many ways to grill Mahi Mahi and we will discuss a few here. Some of these methods include:

  • Direct heat
  • Indirect heat
  • Cedar Planks
  • Foil Packets

First let’s start with Direct Vs. Indirect heat.

In a direct heat method, the food item being cooked is placed directly over the hot coals or lit burner on a gas grill. This method produces a searing heat that often blackens the outside of the meat and although is very good for a steak, it’s not really the preferred method for Mahi Mahi.

When using an indirect heat method, the grill (charcoal or gas) is pre-heated and the coals banked to one side for charcoal grills or with gas grills, one side of the grill is turned off. The item being cooked, in this case fish, is placed on the side of the grill opposite of the hot burner or coals, thus allowing for a slower, more even cooking. With either of these methods, it is important to make sure that your grill grates are clean of any previous food or carbon build up and that they are well coated in olive oil or specially formulated cooking spray for the grill to prevent the fish from sticking.

Cedar Plank Method

This is one of our favorite methods for cooking most any dense fish fillet like Salmon, Red Drum or Mahi Mahi. Cedar grill planks can be found in most grocery stores or even in major retail chains like WalMart and Home Depot. These thin raw cedar planks add an exceptional Smokey sweet flavor to any fish that is cooked on them. Just be sure to soak the planks in water for at least 4 hours prior to use. When ready to grill your fish, place the plank on a preheated grill (Medium to medium high heat is best) and lay your prepared fish fillet directly on the plank. Usually there is no need to turn the fish but you can if desired. With this method of cooking a simple seasoning of the fillets with a spice mix like Old Bay and a small squeeze of lemon juice is all that is needed to prepare the fish for grilling.

Foil Packet Method

In this method the Mahi Mahi is seasoned and wrapped in aluminum foil then placed over indirect or moderate direct heat. Quite often the fish is topped with lemon slices, diced tomatoes, onions and chopped olives prior to sealing the foil packet. This method helps to hold the juices in and produces a very tasty meal!

Jacqueline M. Faulkner

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