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Salmon Flesh Down

Grilled Fish- Flesh Side Down First

by | Published May 15, 2019 | Last updated Nov 1, 2021 | 10 comments

Yields1 Serving
Traditionally fish would be cooked skin side down and sometimes it doesn't ever get flipped. It has been done this way for ages because fish tends to want to stick or flake apart while grilling. With GrillGrates you can now grill salmon beginning with the flesh side down on the grates. This method will give you gorgeous sear marks on the salmon which are also quite tasty and add texture to an otherwise soft protein. The sear marks are basically caramelized protein flavor bars. For an added bonus try drizzling a tasty marinade or salad dressing over the fish while it is still on the grill. The moisture will sizzle in the GrillGrate valleys and create a flavorful steam bath that adds an extra pop of flavor!
Salmon Flesh Down



Begin by pre-heating your grill to medium high heat or about 550°F at the GrillGrate surface. Make sure the tops of the GrillGrates rails are free from debris. Scrape clean as necessary.


Rub the salmon down with oil and season with salt and black pepper- flesh side only.


Place the salmon pieces flesh side down onto your hot GrillGrates.


Allow to grill for 3-5 minutes before giving the salmon a lift and twist. The lift and 45 degree twist will give you salmon beautiful crosshatch grill marks.


After another 3 minutes you can now flip the fish so it is skin side down. At this point you may want to drizzle something over the fish to add flavor. Lemon juice works well as does soy sauce. There are many pre-made marinades you can buy at the grocery store that will ad a zing to your fish. Be careful to avoid any store bought marinades or dressings that have a high sugar content. They will make a mess on your GrillGrates and potentially cause the fish to stick to the grill surface. We have used a teriyaki marinade as well as ginger-miso dressing that both had tremendous results.


Allow to grill about 4 minutes or until the internal temperature hits about 140-145°F.


Remove from grill and enjoy!


 Salmon portions, skin still intact
 Vegetable Oil
 Kosher Salt
 Freshly Cracked Black Pepper


  1. Chris S

    Salmon is overdone at 145°. This works, but shorten the cooking times. Alternately, for crispy skin, start skin side down. Crispy salmon skin is wonderful!

    • Chef Michael

      Thanks for your input. We have to follow FDA guidelines when it comes to recommended temperatures.

  2. Andrew

    On a gas grill, should you keep the lid up or down? Thanks.

    • Meagan Bryson

      Always lid down on gas grills – even with steaks!

      • Mike Kent

        I cook almost everything with the lid up. My gas grill gets too hot, even on the lowest setting.

        • Emily Astin

          Hey Mike,

          I just sent you an email.


  3. Robert Frenkel

    Tried the salmon last night, came out perfect. I’ve never been able to get a result like this on a grill before…crisp skin, nicely browned on top and, best of of all, it did not stick to the grates and did not break apart.

  4. Renee

    I chose this recipe for my inaugural grilling on my new Grill Grates, as I NEVER would have tried this on a traditional grate surface. Turned out perfect! I took mine off a little early as I like a more rare salmon.

    Has anyone tried flesh-side-down on the griddle surface/side? I like a really crispy top to my salmon and usually broil it to get close to that effect. Flesh-side-down in a hot pan on my range top makes an awful mess; the grill would be a great solution. I will experiment, but, if anyone has gone before me, do share your outcome — thanks!

    • JB

      I use the flat side of the grates frequently. I start skin side down because salmon skin is delicious when seared, and then I flip for a 1 min or 2 on the flesh side. I oil both sides.

  5. Jamie

    I did perfect salmon on my GrillGrates tonight!
    I rubbed down the grates with a potato half with avocado oil.
    Carefully placed the salmon flesh side down. They were fairly thin, so I rotated at about a 1:30 and flipped skin side down at around 3:00 min or so.
    The fish did not stick at all. It was very, very good!!


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