A Brief Look At Grilling Halibut
There are few dishes better than a well-prepared halibut steak, and grilling halibut is fortunately something most anyone can do successfully, and the very first time. Halibut flesh is white, firm, and if the fish is fresh, not fishy tasting or smelling. Adding the right seasoning or marinate, the first time cook can create a 5 star masterpiece as far as flavor is concerned.
Most of the halibut we consume come from Alaskan waters, thought halibut are found almost anywhere there is cold seawater. The halibut is a flatfish, the world's largest flatfish in fact, with some specimens reaching the 500 pound mark and above. Commercial fisherman don't usually go after the larger halibut, often leaving them to the sports fishermen, as the best halibut for halibut steaks or grilled halibut are those fish in the 50 pound range or below. The meat on the larger fish, though still good, isn't quite as good as is the case with the smaller fish. In fact, most fishermen would consider their trip a great success if all of the fish in the catch weighed around 10 pounds. Halibut in this size range are called Chicken halibut, and their flesh is considered premium, the very best one can get.
Grilling Halibut - There isn't too much that can go wrong in grilling halibut as long as you know when the best time is to remove the fish form the grill, so that it is neither overcooked nor undercooked. One important thing worth knowing is to oil the grill, and keep it oiled during grilling. Otherwise the halibut may stick to the grill and you'll end up with something of a mess on your hands. The fish will probably still taste good, but might not look all that appealing if half of it remains stuck to the grill.
A one-inch thick halibut steak will grill in about 10 minutes. The steak should be turned about halfway through the grilling process. If not, it won't cook evenly, and may have a tendency to fall apart. Grilling on both sides seals the moisture in, as well as holding the meat together. If your cut is less than one inch thick, the grilling time will be correspondingly shorter. When grilling halibut it's a good idea to stay at the grill and watch what's happening, so you'll be prepared to reduce the heat or move the fish at a moment's notice. When done, the meat will be opaque in the center and it should flake easily with a fork. If using a meat thermometer, the flesh should be at a temperature of 145 degrees F when done.
If you are grilling halibut that is frozen, of course you'll need to thaw it out first. Just don't let the thawed fish sit at room temperature too long. Thawing in the refrigerator is best, or place the fish in the refrigerator (not the freezing compartment) once thawing is well underway.
Seasoning And Marinade - For the best results, you can either marinate the halibut or sprinkle on a seasoning mixture, or both. Some cooks are perfectly content with sprinkling a little lemon juice on the halibut as it cooks, perhaps adding a little melted butter or a pat of butter on each side as well.
As far as a marinade is concerned, a good one can be prepared by adding some minced garlic, lemon juice, grated lemon peel, and a couple of teaspoons of mustard to a half cup each of olive oil and soy sauce, and letting the meat soak for 2 to 3 hours. Seasoning recipes abound on the Internet, and a good one for your grilled halibut steak should not be difficult to find. There's nothing wrong with lemon juice and butter however, and you certainly don't want to mask the flavor of the meat with the wrong choice of seasoning.