Cooking Dinner Recipe Fish Food Grilling Recipe Salmon Seafood

Chili Lime Grilled Salmon

I going for a short preamble on this one. Here goes: I went fishing with some friends. We caught our limits of salmon and rockfish. I ended up with about 6.5 lbs. of Coho (silver) and 7.5 lbs. of Rockfish fillets. It was awesome.

Jared is going to be happy that he’s on the internet.

I prefer to grill my fish for two reasons, I like the taste, and it doesn’t stink up the house. I also like to make up different recipes, methods of grilling/cooking, and share them with people.

In this case, I prepared a whole fillet of Coho salmon with a brown sugar based chili lime rub, which turned into a glaze as the fish cooked. Then I cooked the salmon on my Weber kettle using charcoal in an indirect heat grilling method, which took a little longer than usual, but yielded very moist and flavorful fish.

Fish picture!

Ingredients (and stuff):

  • 1.5 lb salmon fillet
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cumin
  • 1 tbs lime zest
  • Aluminum foil
  • Grill (obviously)


  1. Preheat your grill/light your charcoal, and set your grill up for indirect cooking. On a (three-burner) gas grill, this means lighting your outer burners, and leaving the middle one off. For my purposes, I divided my preheated charcoal between two grill baskets on either side of my grill (pictures below)
  2. As the grill/charcoal is heating, prepare the rub by combining the sugar, salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin and lime zest.
  3. Remove the pin-bones from the salmon. They sell fish bone tweezers, but I’ve also found that regular needle-nose pliers work well (make sure to wash them), or if you’re in a pinch, lay your salmon fillet across a large bowl, which will expose the bones, and let you pull them out with your fingers.
  4. Place the salmon fillet on top of a piece of aluminum foil, and spread the brown sugar and spice mixture over the entire fillet. Note – if you want crispy skin, you’ll need to modify my method a bit. In this case, I left the fillet on the foil for the entire cook, which makes it easy to transfer on and off the grill, and keeps all the sugar glaze from dripping into the grill.
  5. Transfer the salmon, still on the foil, onto the grill above the unheated space (either the empty part of the charcoal grill, or the unlit burner), and cover it up.
    • Timing will vary a lot based on how hot your grill is. Mine was ~roughly~ around 350 degrees F for the majority of the cook.
  6. Check the fish every five minutes or so. You shouldn’t have to adjust much as you go, just watch and wait patiently as the brown sugar starts to create that beautiful glaze. My fillet took about 20-25 minutes to cook through.
  7. If you’re worried about making sure your fish is cooked through, there are a few ways to test. First off, color is your biggest indicator: salmon goes from a shiny red to an opaque pink as it cooks. You can pull it off the grill and slice it, which will give you a cross-section, but can be a pain if it needs to go back on. You can check the temperature (the USDA says you’re looking for an internal temp of 145 degrees). Or you can stick a fork into the thickest part of the fillet, and give it a little twist. If the fish flakes, and the color isn’t that raw red that you started with, then you’re good to go.
  8. Pull the fish from the heat, and serve it up with some grilled veggies, or maybe even as a salmon taco (though you might want some slaw to go with it), and a cold brew!
Prepping for indirect cooking.
Spice rub and lime zest.
Lay the fillet on foil, and remove the pin bones.
Spread the sugar/spice mix all over.
The fillet goes right over that empty part in the middle of the grill.
After about 8 minutes, the sugar is melting, the edges are browning, and the fish is looking good!
After about 15 minutes, you can tell the color of the fish is changing, and the sugar has all melted.
At this point a threw on some asparagus and hunks of bread to round out the meal.
My final result: beautifully flaky, nicely seasoned, and just sweet and spicy enough to be a hit.

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