Ask the Critic: How to Grill Fish?

Categories: Ask the Critic
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The only good pompano is an incinerated pompano
Dear Insufferable Know-It-Alls:

Grilling fresh local fish outside on the old Weber is my own private Waterloo, except unlike Napoleon's humiliating defeat by Wellington and the Prussians, mine keeps happening over and over like a recurring nightmare -- the only thing that changes are which guests are witnessing the battle and having to pretend to swallow the resulting cinders. I have tried grilling many types of seafood of many different cuts (pompano, grouper, snapper, cobia, wahoo) -- in all kinds of weather, on grills searingly hot to rather cool, but the one common denominator at the end is that they are all inedible. Please help, as the list of people I can persuade to come to my house for dinner has grown alarmingly short. I'm starting to think that the only good fish is a fried fish.

Signed,
It All Turns to Ashes in My Mouth

Dear Ashes, 

Here's a foolproof way to grill fish:
 
Grease the grill. Get half of the grill blazing hot. Cook the fish for a minute or two each side, or until there's a light char on the outside. Then move the fish to the side of the grill with no burners on -- or better yet, no charcoal. Then you can finish it off with indirect heat. Fish is tricky because of its density, so I always use a meat thermometer along the way to see when it's done.

Now, go change out of those overalls and pour yourself a margarita.
 

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