Recipe courtesy of Tom Douglas
Total:
55 min
Active:
10 min
Yield:
10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 (6 to 7 pound) whole salmon, gutted and scaled
  • Sea salt
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 lemon, thinly sliced
  • 1 small bunch copper fennel fronds or substitute regular fennel fronds
  • 10 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Olive oil, as needed
  • All-purpose flour, as needed

Directions

Fire up the grill, with the coals lined up under the fish for direct grilling.

Sprinkle sea salt generously in the cavity of the fish and over the skin, then stuff it with the onions, lemons, fronds, and herb sprigs. Tie butcher string around the fish in three or four places to hold the stuffing in. In between the string, make deep incisions with your knife through the thickest part of the fish on both sides, all the way down to the spine. (The fish will cook more quickly, and the smoke flavor will get inside the fish better.) Brush both the fish and the grill lightly with oil, dust the salmon skin on both sides lightly with flour, and place the salmon on the grill.

Grill over medium-hot direct heat, with the cover on and the vents open. When the skin is browned on 1 side, use 2 large metal spatulas to loosen the salmon from the grate and carefully turn over. Continue cooking until just cooked through and an instant read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the fish registers 135 degrees F to 140 degrees F, about 35 to 40 minutes total cooking time. Remove the fish from the grill and place it on a large platter. Allow the fish to cool for 5 minutes, then remove the butcher string and serve.

Cook's Note

*Barbecuing a whole salmon on the grill is a classic Seattle tradition, especially for holidays or special occasions. Tom believes everyone should try cooking a whole fish once in a while- it's not really difficult and it's infinitely more satisfying than always serving boned fillets. Tom strongly recommends using a wild salmon for this recipe, rather than a farmed salmon, because a fish with a nice firm texture is best.

IDEAS YOU'LL LOVE

Whole Poached Salmon

Recipe courtesy of Emeril Lagasse

Whole Grilled Parrot Fish

Recipe courtesy of Kimi Werner

Plank Grilled Whole Trout

Recipe courtesy of Alton Brown

Whole Grilled Bluefish

Recipe courtesy of Jonny Corbin

Grilled Whole Trout

Recipe courtesy of Tiffani Thiessen

Char Grilled Salmon Salad

Recipe courtesy of Luke Nguyen

Cooking Tips

How to Poach Eggs Perfectly

Watch videos from Cooking Channel shows and chefs. Learn to prepare feature recipes and relive your favorite moments

On TV

Man Fire Food

7:30am | 6:30c

Man Fire Food

8:30am | 7:30c

Man Fire Food

9:30am | 8:30c

Vinny & Ma Eat America

10:30am | 9:30c

Vinny & Ma Eat America

11:30am | 10:30c

Vinny & Ma Eat America

12:30pm | 11:30c

Carnival Eats

1:30pm | 12:30c

Carnival Eats

2:30pm | 1:30c

Carnival Eats

3:30pm | 2:30c

Carnival Eats

4:30pm | 3:30c

Carnival Eats

5:30pm | 4:30c

Chopped

6pm | 5c

Chopped

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Chopped

8pm | 7c

Chopped

9pm | 8c

Chopped

10pm | 9c

Good Eats

11pm | 10c

Good Eats

11:30pm | 10:30c

Chopped

12am | 11c

Chopped

1am | 12c

Chopped

2am | 1c

Good Eats

3am | 2c

Good Eats

3:30am | 2:30c