Grilling Tips: What You Should Know Before Grilling Mahi Mahi

The Mahi Mahi is becoming increasingly popular as a trophy fish sought after and caught by sport fishermen around the world. This particular fish is often found in the warmer waters of the Gulf Coast, Hawaii, and along the coastlines of South America. With its growing popularity, it can often be found served in many restaurants or in the fresh seafood boxes of many grocery stores.

Sometimes called “dolphin fish” (although not related to the mammalian dolphin in any way), mahi mahi when properly filleted produces thick and dense pinkish white fillets that are well suited to cooking on a charcoal or gas grill. Served with roasted potatoes, grilled corn on the cob, and asparagus, it’s a meal you or your guests won’t soon forget!

There are many ways to grill Mahi Mahi and we will discuss a few here. Some of these methods include:

  • Direct heat
  • Indirect heat
  • Cedar planks
  • Aluminum foil packages

Let’s start with Direct Vs. Indirect Heat first.

In a direct heat method, the food being cooked is placed directly on the coals or the burner lit on a gas grill. This method produces scorching heat that often blackens the outside of the meat, and while it is very good for a steak, it is not really the preferred method for Mahi Mahi.

When using an indirect heat method, the grill (charcoal or gas) is preheated and the embers are placed on one side for charcoal grills or with gas grills, one side of the grill is turned off. The item being cooked, in this case fish, is placed on the side of the grill opposite the burner or hot embers, allowing for slower and more even cooking. With either of these methods, it is important to ensure that the grill grates are clean of any old food or char build-up and that they are well coated with olive oil or specially formulated cooking spray for the grill to prevent the fish sticking.

Cedar plank method

This is one of our favorite methods of cooking almost any dense fish fillet like salmon, red drum, or mahi mahi. Cedar grill boards can be found at most grocery stores or even major retail chains like WalMart and Home Depot. These fine raw cedar planks add an exceptional sweet smoky flavor to any fish that is cooked on them. Just be sure to soak the boards in water for at least 4 hours before using them. When you’re ready to grill the fish, place the board on a preheated grill (medium to medium-high heat is best) and place the prepared fish fillet directly on the board. Usually you don’t need to flip the fish, but you can if you like. With this cooking method, a simple seasoning of the fillets with a mix of spices like Old Bay and a splash of lemon juice is all that is needed to prepare the fish for grilling.

Aluminum foil package method

In this method, the Mahi Mahi is seasoned and wrapped in aluminum foil and then placed over direct indirect or moderate heat. Most often, the fish is topped with lemon wedges, diced tomatoes, onions, and chopped olives before the foil packet is sealed. This method helps retain the juices and produces a very tasty meal!

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