How to grill trout







How to grill trout

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 fish)

Time: 20 min. prep, 40 min. total

Dressed trout is a whole, scaled fish with the gills and internal organs removed. Most fishmongers will automatically clean and dress fish as it’s purchased to make it ready for cooking.

Before you add the fish, make sure the grate is very hot. This allows the radiant heat to begin cooking the fish before it even makes physical contact.

Easy does it when turning fish on the grill. To avoid tearing the skin, gently roll the fish over with a spatula instead of turning it with tongs.

How to grill troutThe Great Cook

1 tablespoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoons sugar

4 (7-ounce) dressed rainbow trout

1/4 teaspoon table salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

2 (1-ounce) bunches dill sprigs

2 medium limes, thinly sliced

1. Combine first 3 ingredients in a shallow dish, stirring until sea salt and sugar dissolve; add fish. Let stand 20 minutes. Drain; pat dry.

2. Prepare charcoal fire in a chimney starter; let coals burn for 15 to 20 minutes or until flames die down. Carefully pour hot coals out of starter; pile on one side of grill. Alternately, preheat a gas grill, turning one side to high heat and the other side to medium heat. Coat grill grate with cooking spray; put grate in place.

3. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper over fish flesh. Divide dill and lime slices evenly among fish cavities.

4. Coat outside of fish with cooking spray. Place fish over direct heat (the hot zone); grill 4 minutes.

5. Turn fish over and move to indirect heat (the cool zone). Grill 12 minutes or until done.

CALORIES 230; FAT 8.9g (sat 2.5g, mono 2.7g, poly 2.8g); PROTEIN 35g; CARB 0.3g; FIBER 0g; CHOL 105mg; IRON 0.6mg; SODIUM 405mg; CALC 132mg

From The Great Cook by James Briscione, Oxmoor House 2015.

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Published: May 30, 2021 · Modified: May 30, 2021 by Everett · This post may contain affiliate links

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How to grill trout

How to grill trout

This grilled trout recipe is quick, easy, and healthy. Done in 30 minutes this simply seasoned fish with fresh herbs and seasoning makes the perfect entree for grilling season.

How to grill trout

What are rainbow trout?

This species of trout live in the cold water rivers off the Pacific Ocean in Asia and North America. A species of salmonid they can grow to be 1-5 pounds in weight. They hold the honor of being one of the top 100 invasive species in the world and can be either caught in the wild or raised in fish hatcheries.

The fish have a mild, nutty flavor with tender white flesh. They are generally cooked whole, and gutted. When cooked the meat has a tender flake to it with a pale color.

What I should I look for when buying the trout?

The outward appearance of the fish’s skin should be dark, shiny, and have a slippery feel. As with all fish if when doing the “sniff test” it should not actually smell fishy. It really shouldn’t smell like anything if it is fresh.

Avoid fish that has been frozen, has a grey color, smells off, or appears dry.

Cooking Instructions

Generally trout come gutted and cleaned from the fish counter. However, if it has not then ask them to do this for you.

If you are prepping the fish yourself then follow the below steps.

  • The head and tail – you can either cut these off or leave them on. Either way it will not affect the cooking time or taste of the dish. To cut the head off slice between the collarbone and the gills.
  • To remove the guts make a slit along the bottom side of the fish from the throat to the bottom. Remove the insides, and then clean with water.

Preheat your gas grill, or prepare your charcoal grill. To prep the fish coat the outside of it lightly with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper inside and out.

Stuff the inside of the fish with the sliced lemon slices, garlic cloves, thyme, dill, and parsley. If you do not have fresh herbs then dried herbs with work just fine.

Place the prepared fish on a lightly oiled grill. Grill for five minutes on one side and then flip to grill another five minutes on the other side. The fish is done when it reaches an internal temperature of 145-degrees.

To make this a complete meal add a few fresh veggies to the grill and serve both immediately with a fresh green salad.

How to grill trout

Rainbow Trout with Lemon Grill Pouches

Serves 4
Delicious summertime flavors in a pouch! This can be done with any fish you like just adjust the cooking time accordingly. To prepare in the oven instead of the grill, make up the packets and preheat the oven to 400. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until opaque and flaky.


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Prep Time20 min

Cook Time10 min


  1. Rainbow Trout Filets – 4-6 (You can adjust for 1 packet per person if more people will be eating)
  2. Lemons – 2 (Enough for 2 slices in each packet)
  3. Fresh Thyme – 2-3 Sprigs in Each Packet
  4. Olive Oil – 1 Teaspoon in Each Packet
  5. Salt & Pepper – Pinch of Each In Each Packet
  6. Aluminum Foil – 1 Large Piece for Each Packet



Pre-heat your grill (If you have the option heat up one side and leave the other side on low so the fish can have indirect heat)

Make a piece of aluminum foil big enough to be wrapped into a packet very securely for each of your filets.

Place a filet skin side down on the aluminum foil and drizzle with the olive oil. Add a pinch of salt and pepper, 2 thin slices of lemon, and 2-3 sprigs of thyme on top of the filet as above.

Wrap the foil over the filet and fold down tucking under the edges to make a rectangular packet.

Place the packets over indirect heat on the grill (or in the coolest zone) and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.

Once they have cooked pull one packet off and check that it is opaque and flaky. I chose to open the packet on the plate at the table because it’s easiest.

We are here in the Sunshine State of Florida where the weather never changes. What exactly does that mean? We can use the grill all year long, that’s what! Prior to making this I had only had rainbow trout in restaurants before, however, I actually found rainbow trout fillets in my grocery store and figured I would try it. I love it in the restaurants so I thought “I have to be able to do this at home”. I was right! We were grilling rainbow trout fillet and these turned out beautiful and delicious and it was oh so super ridiculously simple because you grill rainbow trout in foil pouches with lemon and herbs.

While I was grilling the hubby and little man were enjoying the pool and the sun with me. We love an impromptu cookout. We invited my in-laws and a couple friends and had a wonderful day of it. Thanks fish sale at the grocery store! My mother in law really liked this fish and only one of the rainbow trout fillet packets burned (oops too much fun, not enough grill tending).

I will warn that rainbow trout fillet are particularly thin as compared to the other fishes I’ve used this method with so it takes a little less time with these. You can use this method for any type of fish though! It’s fantastic with tilapia, cod, salmon, whatever you find that’s affordable and your family likes. These packets can also be baked in the oven if you don’t have an outdoor grill or you live somewhere that actually has a winter (I miss seasons *sad trumpets*). If doing this in the oven I would pre-heat to 400 and let them bake about 15-20 minutes. Pull one and check it for yummy flakiness and you’re good!

I love that this recipe does give me lovely summertime feelings any time of the year! Also, an amazing side to this fish are my Grilled Vegetables, skewered to perfection, check them out!

Crash Course

This post is an excerpt from BBQ USA.

When it comes to bringing out the flavor of seafood, nothing beats the grill. But fish has a nasty tendency to stick to the bars of the grate. It has an equally frustrating habit of going from undercooked to overcooked in a matter of seconds. All too often seafood comes off the grill burned on the outside and raw in the center. No wonder so many people are intimidated by grilling it.

Well, take heart, because grilling fish isn’t difficult at all. The secret is to choose the most appropriate fish, use the right accessories, and above all, remember the cardinal rules of master grilling.

What Kind of Fish

Almost any kind and cut of fish can be grilled, from sardines to swordfish, from whole fish to fillets. Steak fish, such as swordfish, tuna, and salmon, are the easiest to grill. Their dense consistency (and, in the case of salmon, high oil content) helps keep them from sticking to the grate and falling apart when you turn them. The most challenging fish to grill are soft fillets, like those of flounder, sole, and bluefish. But, with a little skill and ingenuity, even these can be grilled successfully.

Whole fish, particularly small ones—snapper and trout, for example—are easy to grill if you use the right techniques. To begin with, make a series of parallel slashes all the way to the bone in each, about an inch apart. This lets the heat penetrate to the thickest part of the flesh, ensuring even cooking.

Invest in a Fish Basket

You can buy hinged wire baskets that are designed to hold a fish while exposing the maximum surface area to the fire. To turn the fish you turn the basket. The fish won’t stick to the grate, and it doesn’t fall apart. Just don’t forget to oil the basket (I do this with spray oil). Fish baskets are available for both whole fish or steaks or fillets; look for them at grill shops.

How to grill trout

Conscientious basting prevents the fish from sticking and keeps it moist.

Or a Fish Graate

Another useful accessory is the fish grate — a wire or perforated metal plate you place on top of the grill grate. The idea behind a fish grate is that it’s smoother and flatter than a conventional grill grate, which makes it a snap to slide a spatula under fish to turn it. The key to using a fish grate is to preheat it on the grill and oil it well before you put on the fish. Fish grates are also available at grill shops.

The Grill Meister’s Mantra

The ultimate test of a grill meister’s mettle is to grill fish directly on the grill grate. And to do this, you need to keep three things in mind:

Keep it Hot

Starting with a hot grill is paramount. The surface sears quickly when the grill is hot, so the fish is less likely to stick. If your fish sticks, chances are you’re not cooking on a hot enough enough, grill grate. When the grill is hot enough you shouldn’t be able to hold your hand three inches above the grate for longer than two to three seconds.

Keep it Clean

Scrub the bars of the grate with a longhandled stiff wire grill brush. This indispensable tool is available at any grill shop or hardware store. In a pinch, you can use a piece of crumpled aluminum foil (hold it with your tongs). The important thing is to scrub the bars of the grate to remove any debris to which the fish could stick.

Keep it Lubricated

Dip a tightly folded paper towel in vegetable oil and, holding it with long-handled tongs, rub it over the bars of the grate. This prevents sticking, of course, and it also helps give you those killer grill marks that are the signature of master grillsmanship.

As a further precaution against sticking, if the recipe doesn’t already call for it, lightly oil fillets before grilling them by squirting a little oil in a metal pan and rolling the fish in it to coat both sides. The operational word here is lightly—you don’t want to over oil the fish or the dripping oil will cause flare-ups. Another way to lubricate the fish is to brush it with a little oil on both sides, using a basting brush.

How to grill trout

Small whole fish are some of the easiest seafood to grill.

The grill grate: Keep it hot; keep it clean keep it lubricated.

Two Last Tricks

As you place a fillet on the grill, gently slide it forward a half inch or so to keep it from sticking. And when it comes time to turn the fish, flip it onto a section of the grate that has been brushed and oiled but has not yet had a piece of fish on top of it.

Grilling fish is really not difficult. If you practice these techniques, you can grill any kind without it sticking.

Grilled trout is an easy and delicious meal, especially when grilled with lemon slices, fresh dill, and butter. Perfect dinner for two!

Elise founded Simply Recipes in 2003 and led the site until 2019. She has an MA in Food Research from Stanford University.

How to grill trout

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How to grill trout

I once was the proud owner of a fly reel.

Just the reel mind you. I was 10 years old, and I never did get a fishing rod for that reel. The fishing rod I did have came with its own reel and was the type with which you used a little bobbing float and a hook to attach something wriggly.

Hapless in the fishing department, I eventually gifted my gear to my younger brother and stuck to collecting crawdads, tadpoles, and minnows.

Over the years my brother regularly brought home trout (usually steelhead), salmon, and assorted other fish he caught in the American River, a short walk from our house in Sacramento.

How to grill trout

It was only years later, on a trip to western Montana, that I learned that a fly reel is what is used in fly fishing, which is how one fishes for trout.

So now, every time I pass by the fish counter at the market and see beautiful fresh trout staring back at me, I think of fly fishermen standing in their waders in the shallows of either the Madison or American rivers, casting for a bite.

The Best Way to Cook Trout

Trout is, one of the most delicious fish you can eat, and not only is it relatively inexpensive (for fish), it’s really easy to cook. It’s usually sold deboned and with head and tail.

Trout does have rather delicate skin.

So rather than grilling it directly on the grill grates, the best way to ensure that the fish holds together and results in a beautiful presentation is to create an aluminum “boat” to hold the fish and place that boat on the grill. Keep the boat open and cover the grill so that the trout absorbs some of the smokiness from the grill.

The Best Trout for This Recipe

Any trout works for this recipe, but we recommend buying these types if they’re available to you.

  • Rainbow trout
  • Arctic char, also known as Alpine trout
  • Brook trout

Regardless of the variety, look for the freshest trout you can purchase. The fish should have bright, bulging eyes and red or pink gills. If the fish has sunken eyes or the gills have turned gray, the fish is older. The flesh should be moist, not dry. And, the sniff test is very important. If the trout has a strong, fishy smell, pass it by.

It’s best to cook fresh fish the day you purchase it, but if you must store it in the refrigerator, it can keep for up to 2 days if you store it properly. Remove the fish from its packaging, wash it, and pat it dry with paper towels. Put ice in a container with a tight fitting lid that’s large enough to fit the entire fish. Place the fish on top of the ice, and put the lid on. Place in the refrigerator. When ice begins to melt, change it out.

Best Way to Cook Trout

Cooking trout in an aluminum foil “boat” keeps the whole fish together while grilling. Using two or three layers of heavy duty aluminum foil that are a few inches longer on each side than the fish. Make a 1-inch rim around the edges of the foil, creating a boat. Coat the bottom of the “boat” with olive oil so the fish won’t stick.

To bake the fish in the oven instead of on the grill, prepare the trout as instructed in Step 3 and place it on the boat. Instead of making a foil boat, make a foil packet for the fish, using two large sheets of foil that you will wrap loosely around the fish, crimping it at the top so it seals around the fish.

Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how large the fish is. When done the trout will be opaque and flake easily with a fork.

Learn this easy, no-mess method to prepare and cook grilled trout.

My husband’s favorite outdoor activity during the summer months is fishing – trout fishing. He likes to find a nice lake to spend the day casting his rod and enjoying the outdoors.

I have prepared and served Pan-Fried Rainbow Trout, Baked Rainbow Trout, and Grilled Cedar Plank Trout. This time I wrapped the cleaned trout in aluminum foil and cooked grilled trout on our barbecue. What an easy way to cook a large amount of whole trout – it is SUPER EASY and leaves no mess in the kitchen! So good and the trout came out moist and melted in our mouths. We especially enjoy eating the trout for breakfast with scrambled eggs and fried potatoes!

How to grill trout

  • Fresh Trout (about 1-pound each), cleaned (head can be on or off), gills removed
  • Coarse salt or sea salt
  • Pepper, freshly ground
  • Other seasonings to taste (optional)
  • Lemon or lime, thinly sliced (optional)
  • Aluminum foil

My husband cleaned the trout just after he caught them by gutting them, cutting off the gills, and most importantly, scraping off the blood line off the backbone. I also want the head cut off!

How to grill troutFirst you need to cut the head off just before the Pectoral fin (this fin can be nipped off or left on). This is an optional step, as some people want the head left on when cooking.

Hold fish with belly facing up. Using your fillet knife, cut from the anal hole forward towards where the head was or still is.

After pulling out the entrails, take an old tooth brush and clean the blood vein that runs along the spine. If that is not cleaned out it, will effect the taste.

Rinse the trout thoroughly (inside and out) and prepare to cook as you wish.

NOTE: If you like to eat the fish skin, make sure you remove all the fish scales before cooking. With the trout held firmly by the tail, scrape very firmly from the tail to the gills several times on both sides with a sharp knife. I, personally, like to have my trout scaled before cooking.

When ready to cook, rinse the cleaned fish under cold water and pat dry with paper towels. Drying will prevent the fish from steaming when you cook it. Cut a few diagonal slashes along each side of the fish.

Brush the inside and outside of the trout with a little olive oil. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the inside and outside of the trout. If you desire, you can also stuff the inside cavity of the trout with lemons or lime slices.

Prepare aluminum foil into approximately 16 by 16-inches squares. Prepare individual foil squares for each trout to be cooked. Either spray aluminum foil with non-stick spray or use the non-stick aluminum foil (dull side toward the trout).

Making sure that the trout are in the middle of each square, fold up the aluminum foil loosely, grabbing at the edges and crimping together tightly to make a packet. You can prepare the fish and make the foil packets several hours ahead. Keep in the refrigerator until shortly before cooking.

How to grill trout

How to grill trout

How to grill trout

How to grill trout

How to grill trout

How to grill trout

When ready to grill, preheat your barbecue grill. Place prepared trout packets onto your preheated grill with indirect heat. Close lid and cook approximately 15 to 20 minutes (depending on the size of your fresh trout). To test for doneness when cooking the trout, insert a fork at the thickest point of the fish (through the aluminum foil). Perfectly cooked fish is nearly opaque, should be very moist, and will flake easily with a fork. Fish that looks slightly dry is overcooked. Undercooked fish will look translucent and raw. If you have a digital meat thermometer, the internal temperature in the center of the fillet should reach 140 F.

When the trout are cooked, remove from grill, carefully remove from the aluminum foil, and serve on individual serving plates. Serve with a slice of lemon for a slightly fresher, livelier taste.

Makes as many serving as you have fresh trout.

I get many readers asking what cooking/meat thermometer that I prefer and use in my cooking and baking. I, personally, use the Thermapen Thermometer . Originally designed for professional use, the Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer is used by chefs all over the world. I only endorse a few products, on my web site, that I like and use regularly.

You can learn more or buy yours at: Super-Fast Thermapen Thermometer.

Ultra-easy Garlic Butter Trout in Foil requires only 4 ingredients, and it is ready in less than 25 minutes. It’s also low-carb and gluten-free! Perfect as a weeknight meal or an easy meal prep.

If you’re looking for more fish recipes, please check my 10 Salmon Recipes You Need to Make for Dinner. All salmon recipes on this list can be replaced for trout.

How to grill trout

I always buy salmon because I love this fish. Here in Canada, salmon is pretty popular. We can find it easily in absolutely every grocery store. But the last time my husband went to the store by himself, he bought a rainbow trout fillet instead of salmon for my Spicy Salmon Sweet Potato Skillet. I liked it because it’s always good to change things up a little bit. If you enjoy salmon like me, you will love this fish too since it tastes similar, although trout tends to be a little stronger in flavor.

I made this Garlic Butter Trout in foil last Sunday. I was really tired and wasn’t in a mood to cook a complicated meal and clean up all the mess later. For this reason, I decided to bake the trout in foil, making cleanup a breeze!

Which herbs to use with Garlic Butter Trout?

What I love about this Garlic Butter Trout recipe is that it goes well with lots of different herbs such as parsley, thyme, and dill. But I also love to use oregano. You can use either dried or fresh herbs. And, don’t forget to season it well with salt, black pepper, and a little bit of red crushed pepper to give more flavour to your fish fillet.

How to grill trout

What Do You Need To Cook Trout

  • Rainbow trout fillet — try to find a high quality trout. If buying fresh, check for shiny scales and firm flesh. For frozen fillets, check to make sure that there aren’t any dried out edges.
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper — to taste
  • Butter — you can use ghee if you are paleo or doing whole30. Be sure to use unsalted butter.
  • Garlic — freshly minced
  • Dill — I like to use fresh dill. Swap for a different herb if you’re not a fan of dill.

Should I Remove the Skin from the Trout Before Cooking?

There’s no need to remove the skin before you cook it! The skin gets so crispy and is so tasty! Just be sure to remove all the fish scales before cooking if you’re cooking fresh trout.

How Do You Cook Trout in the Oven?

It’s very simple, and here are the few steps to cook trout in the oven:

  1. First, preheat the oven to 375ºF.
  2. Second, cut a sheet of foil that is large enough to wrap the trout fillet very well.
  3. Then, cover the baking sheet with the aluminum foil, and place the trout fillet in the center. Fold up all 4 sides of the foil and making sure to not cover the fillet entirely at the moment.
  4. Now, season the trout with any herbs you have on hand, such as parsley, dill, or oregano. And of course, let’s not forget salt, black pepper, some garlic, and red crushed pepper.
  5. For more flavour and to avoid the fish from becoming dry, melt some butter in the microwave or on the stove and drizzle it over the trout until evenly coated.
  6. Fold the sides of the foil over the trout and cover the trout completely. And then, bake for about 13 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the trout fillet. Now, open the foil, and broil for 3 minutes. Done!

This meal is one of my favorites because it’s the easiest fish foil recipe you can make! And even though it requires only 4 ingredients, this Garlic Butter Rainbow Trout in Foil is very flavorful. On top of that, this recipe will be ready from start to finish in less than 30 mins. This is definitely the best meal when life is extremely busy. Enjoy!

How to Meal Prep Trout

  • Storage – Transfer leftover trout to an airtight glass container and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Or, portion them out into meal prep containers to have for lunches throughout the week.
  • Reheating – For best results, heat in a pan on the stove so the trout stays crispy or broil it for 1-2 minutes in the oven. You can also heat in the microwave along with some sides for a full meal at once.

You Can Serve this Garlic Butter Trout in Foil with:

  • Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower Rice
  • Mushroom Cauliflower “Rice” Skillet
  • Roasted Vegetables
  • Crispy Roasted Green Beans
  • Parmesan Lemon Asparagus Skillet

Ways To Use This Trout

If you have leftover trout and want to change things up, here’s some ways to enjoy the salmon:

  • trout tacos: shred the trout up and serve it in a taco
  • trout pasta: roughly chop up the trout and add it to a pasta
  • trout salad: break up the salmon and toss it in a leafy salad or greek salad or salmon/trout salad.
  • trout fried rice: break up the trout and toss it in some fried cauliflower rice.
  • You can make trout meal-prep for your lunch week since trout stays go in the fridge for up 4 days.

How Do You Know When Trout is Fully Cooked?

Similar to salmon, trout is cooked through once it has reaches an internal temperature of 145°F as its thickest part. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check when your trout is fully cooked, by using a fork to check if it the fillet flakes apart easily. Once fork tender, it’s fully cooked.