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Some tips for cooking fish and shellfish on the barbecue

There’s nothing tastier than barbecued whole fish or fillets – delicious and healthy!

Get your barbecue really hot, so don't rush it! This will ensure your seafood cooks quickly and retains its natural juices and flavour. And make sure you brush the grid with oil to avoid things sticking.

Add some fresh lemon juice and oil while you’re barbecuing your fish - brush them on as you cook to add flavour and help keep the fish moist.

You don't have to cook straight onto the grid - get your cast iron griddles and woks out, they work just as well!

Marinade your fish for about 15-20 mins in the fridge before cooking with oils, lemon, herbs or chilli to infuse your fish with some extra flavour.

Avoid sugary marinades or glazes, especially with thick fillets or whole fish, as the sugars can burn and turn bitter before the fish is fully cooked. If you like this style of cooking, brush the glaze on right at the end of cooking. This works well with prawns as well as fish.

Only turn your fish once as turning it back and forth will break it apart (and use a wide spatula). If you’re cooking a whole fish a grilling basket is a great tool to use. You can also get grilling trays which are useful for cooking flaky fish and fillets.

How to tell when your fish is cooked? When fish is cooked the meat will flake easily with a fork and will appear opaque all the way through. If any part of the meat is still glossy and partially translucent then it's not done. A good rule of thumb is to cook your fish for a total of 10 minutes per inch of thickness, that's 2.5 cm if you don't come from the imperial era (measured at the thickest point.) So if you have a half inch thick fillet (one and a bit cm), grill it for about 3 minutes on one side, then flip it and cook for 2 minutes more.

Even thickness steaks and fillets cook evenly. If you have a steak/fillet that is uneven in thickness, you can cut it, putting the thick half on to cook first and then, when it's about half cooked, put the thin half on.

Throw a whole mackerel (or two) on the BBQ – they are chunky, succulent and great value for money. Other fish that are good for barbecuing are tuna, swordfish, shark, kippers and sardines.

Flat skewers will stop the ingredients twisting round when you turn them, so that everything cooks evenly. Another great practical tip is to start and finish seafood kebabs with something firm, such as a piece of onion or red pepper, to help hold the other ingredients in place. Brush the kebabs with oil to keep them moist.

To grill shellfish in the shell, such as oysters, mussels and clams, place them directly on the hottest part of the grill. They're done when the shell opens. Discard those that don't open after about 5 minutes.

For small shellfish such as prawns or scallops use metal or water-soaked wooden skewers or cook them in a grill basket. And you can even get wood planks to use on your barbecue - soak them before putting on the barbecue - they are supposed to give a good smoky flavour to the food - try cedar planks, and serve directly on the wood. We haven't tried them, so good luck with them!
Buy seafood for the barbecue!