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How to get a better sear when grilling a fish?


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I love fish, and I really like the seared crust on a grilled fish.

 

I reverse seared a fish steak, and the doneness, the flavor was good. However, I did not get a good sear. The fish is sticking, and falling apart on the grate. I had a problem with flare ups too.

 

Do you have a suggestion on how to properly seared a fish steak?

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I typically get my fish started on the stainless grate over indirect heat the fish it off by searing on my soapstone grate at a higher temperature.

 

Soapstone is a natural nonstick surface.

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In my opinion, one reason so many people love soapstone, is that they are basically forced to use it the way they should also be using their OTHER surfaces - a longer heat-up time, heat soaking etc.

 

I have various accessories - a grilling steel (A15 steel) , cast iron, a stainless steel surface - they all sear amazingly well as long as you heat appropriately (try 450- 500 degrees) and use the appropriate oil, ghee etc.

 

We regularly do smashburgers, steaks, pizza, halibut, salmon, scallops etc. 

 

Do you have an infra-red thermometer?   I find that is key for perfect searing temps.

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I did consider a cast iron reversible griddle but decided on soapstone instead because it’s easier to maintain, doesn’t need to be seasoned, never rusts, requires very little maintenance, antibacterial, non-porous, stops flair ups, non-stick and easy to clean.

 

Disadvantages include fragile, weighs more than cast iron and requires more time to heat up.  Once heated, it retains it heat longer and sears better at higher temperatures.

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Some things to think about. 
 

1. Fish is hard to keep together and the more you do it the better the meals will be. 
 

2. Oil your grates before you light your fire. Its easy to forget but this is a must for every session. 
 

3. To prevent flare ups, try using the grate in a higher position. I have found I like the mid position on the series 3 grills the best (if using series 1 or 2 this would be top position). If you got a very nice hot fire this position will still give you an excellent sear while not submerging the meat in a fire explosion (ofcourse if this is desired use lowest postion) 

 

4. Preheat. Give the grill time to come up to temp. When reverse searing you will need to take the meat off and tent it with aluminum foil while you let the grill come up. If you just went from indirect to direct immediately thatll probably be most of your problem. If you have a second grill you could save yourself some time by letting that come up to searing hot temps while your cooking indirect on the main grill. 

 

I have the soapstone and absolutely love it. It is easier to sear fish on it and keep it in one piece then regular grill grates. But it is possible to sear fish on the standard grates, and the sear line marks are very pretty. And again, always use a fat/oil every time for every cook regardless if its soapstone, standard grill grates or cast iron. 

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while youre waiting to get a soapstone, you could always get a cheaper smaller cast iron skillet, and put that on the other side of the grate system UPSIDE DOWN (i.e. cook the fish on the bottom of the pan) and boom, cheap CI griddle for a piece of fish, as long as the pan is seasoned well, and you use some oil and let the fish do its thing and release naturally, that may be a good "until i get my soapstone" solution

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Thanks for the input, I do have a infrared thermometer, and I do have a cast iron pan that I can use while waiting for a better grilling surface. 

 

I just get an idea about getting a fish grill basket, putting the fish inside that basket, and holding it close to the fire (with a heat resistant gloves, of course), it may help keeping the fish intact while searing it. 

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On 4/3/2021 at 11:38 PM, Random Pointer said:

I love fish, and I really like the seared crust on a grilled fish.

 

I reverse seared a fish steak, and the doneness, the flavor was good. However, I did not get a good sear. The fish is sticking, and falling apart on the grate. I had a problem with flare ups too.

 

Do you have a suggestion on how to properly seared a fish steak?

 

I can't say that reverse searing fish is ever going to be the 'right' solution and it's definitely gonna kill your chances of having any kind of seared crust without overcooking the fish.  If you want smoked fish, then smoke it.  If you want seared/broiled fish, then do that.  

 

Fish should not be flaring up.  You may need to clean the grill.  

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8 hours ago, Random Pointer said:

Thanks for the input, I do have a infrared thermometer, and I do have a cast iron pan that I can use while waiting for a better grilling surface. 

 

I just get an idea about getting a fish grill basket, putting the fish inside that basket, and holding it close to the fire (with a heat resistant gloves, of course), it may help keeping the fish intact while searing it. 

Since we're all helping you spend your money, I'll go ahead and suggest grilling the fish with the Joetisserie and the flat basket. 

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7 hours ago, John Setzler said:

I can't say that reverse searing fish is ever going to be the 'right' solution and it's definitely gonna kill your chances of having any kind of seared crust without overcooking the fish.  If you want smoked fish, then smoke it.  If you want seared/broiled fish, then do that.  

 

I had a nice Chilean seabass steak. I smoked it with apple wood until it reached 115 and then seared it on the grate. The skin was crispy and nice, but not the meat side. It fell apart and stuck to the grate, made it looked awful in some parts.

 

I thought that reverse sear works well with steak, why not try it with fish. The flavor was great, the skin was great, the smoke tasted great, but the meat side looked bad. The seared meat tasted wonderful.

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35 minutes ago, Random Pointer said:

 

I had a nice Chilean seabass steak. I smoked it with apple wood until it reached 115 and then seared it on the grate. The skin was crispy and nice, but not the meat side. It fell apart and stuck to the grate, made it looked awful in some parts.

 

I thought that reverse sear works well with steak, why not try it with fish. The flavor was great, the skin was great, the smoke tasted great, but the meat side looked bad. The seared meat tasted wonderful.

 

Nothing wrong with experimentation :)

 

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