Bad Texture in Grilled Fish

Discussion in 'Grilling Fish' started by brick pig, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. On the very rare occasion that there has been a break in the rain this season, I'm getting back to my Spring and Summer grilling/smoking routine. For some reason the last two times I've grilled fish, the texture has been rubbery. Happened once with salmon fillets, and then again last night with some cod. I've been grilling fish for as long as I can remember, and normally it's just as flakey and good as you could want it to be. I can't tell that I'm doing anything different now than I've ever done before, but clearly something is amiss. Am I overcooking? Undercooking? Cooking too fast? Too slow?

    Any help?
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It sounds to me that it's overcooked. With fish you just have to keep checking it all the time, because there is only a small window between flaky & juicy, & too done. I'm sure one of the chefs will be along shortly to give you a better answer.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Might be the length of time it was frozen  ???? or the freezing process itself ????

    I have had that happen with sturgeon. You could have used it on a semi when it came out of the smoker and freezing was the one thing that was a "red flag" variable.  
  4. alblancher

    alblancher Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    Did you have any moisture on the fish?  You used the word "grilling" so I guess the fillets where over a flame, maybe on a piece of aluminum foil.  If that is the case 15 - 20 minutes is a lot of time and you should have a pat of butter on top and settling into the foil.  If you are smoking 160 degrees chamber temp for at most an hour, again with some moisture in the bottom of the pan.  You can cold smoke for a couple of hours but will still  need to bring to 140 or so internal to be safe.

    Hope this is good advice, a thick piece of cod cooks a lot differently then a thin fillet of redfish or salmon.
  5. I always grill fish on foil, and have plenty of moisture. Most recently, on the cod, I had a mixture of olive oil, garlic, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Very juicy. And, as I said, I've done this recipe and similar ones many times in the past with excellent results.

    Both times that it's been rubbery I was using frozen fish, so Dave Omack's comments may be on target. I bought the fillets frozen and so have no way to know how they were frozen or for how long. Really, though, I'm thinking I've just been letting them stay on the heat too long.

    Thanks for the comments.
  6. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Could well be an over cooking problem.  I rarely order fish in restaurants cause they always over cook them.

    Good luck and good smoking.
  7. alaskanbear

    alaskanbear Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    My personal experience is that when a fish is frozen, the mannor of thawing comes into direct play.  Slow thawing in sealed bag in refrigerator and then allow to drain on paper towels for a minimum of 30 minutes inside the refer. Hot flames with foil underneath and with a tent over it shuld produce better results. Over cooking is the most predominate foul that happens to fish. A fork lightly run acroww the top and when it first starts to flake  remove from heat-let stand 10 minutes and serve.  Works well here for salmon and halibut in Alaska.

  8. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I'll share a little known secret here. If you plan on freezing fish for a length of time try to rinse off with bottled water, store bought gallons work fine. Second, freeze them in ziplock freezer bags with a good amount of same water to cover the fish. This acts as a seal to prevent freezer burn. [​IMG]
  9. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Yes, meateater, we used to use milk cartons when they were still cartons.  LOL

    Good luck and good smoking.
  10. Dittos.  I just had this happen with some cod that was cryovaced and frozen for some time.  Rubbery as hell.  
  11. eman

    eman Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member

    I vac seal everything except seafood. Fish and shrimp do A LOT better when frozen in water. vac sealing and freezing in bags will make it come out rubbery. Vac seal will take longer than bags but it will happen.
  12. Okay now I'm curious.  How long doing vacseal with fish should you be safe?
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Freezing and vac sealing fish... Not sure but here goes... Fillet fresh fish and freeze on parchment or waxed paper on a tray in the freezer... dip in a glaze of 50/50 Karo syrup/water (or other sugar sauce)... let dip solution freeze on the fillet back on the parchment in the freezer... vacuum pack and put back in the freezer....(multiple dip/freeze cycles may be used) 

    Thawing... thaw in the bag with a hole poked in it... If a hole is not put in the bag, when the fillet thaws the vacuum may crush the meat into a mess...

    If you have not experienced this, your machine does not draw a commercial vacuum....

    The sugar solution seals the meat and lessens the chance of freezer burn....

    Many years ago I heard of this method from fishers in the fish packing industry in Ak.... If you have an update or correction please edit this post...

    At times my memory may slip a little... just a wee bit... miniscule amount... Dave

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