Tilapia is one of the more popular choices for grilled fish, along with salmon. This is because tilapia has enough firmness to be grilled fairly easily without any problems such as flaking, while the taste itself is very mild and delicate. Tilapia is very tender, but won’t fall apart on the grill, and can be accentuated with many different sauces and seasonings after you are done, which makes tilapia a great choice for those who like to use some creativity when it comes to the final product.
First of all, choose some tilapia with the right attributes for grilling. About an inch of thickness is a good guideline that makes for easier grilling, for instance.
You will want to prepare the tilapia by applying some oil on both sides, although you should keep the amount fairly light. You can also season both sides of your tilapia with whatever marinade or spices you prefer before putting it on the grill. Some people go with a basic approach and a little salt and pepper, while others prefer more distinctive approaches with cayenne pepper or lemon pepper. The choice is really yours, and as long as you follow these grilling instructions, you should be quite pleased with how it all turns out!
Grilling the Tilapia Properly
The grill should be at about medium heat. You should be conservative with the heat unless you are planning on blackening your tilapia, at which case you can lean towards a medium-high heat level. You will want to maintain a conservative height with the fire when grilling, as well. This is because you really do not want the flames themselves to touch the tilapia.
You should also have used some non-stick cooking spray or oil (olive or vegetable oils both work great) on the area of the grill where you will be placing the tilapia, just to avoid any problems with sticking. This is where a separately raised tray or basket can come in handy, too.
In total, it should take less than ten minutes to properly grill your tilapia. Fish that is placed directly on the grill usually takes closer to five minutes to be done, while fish that is away from the flames or in indirect heat can take the full ten minutes or so. The key here is to check to see if your tilapia is done by looking for whitened meat with clear juices. You can flip the tilapia while you are grilling it, but use a metal spatula rather than a fork, so that you don’t lose any of the juices while flipping.
Tilapia is an excellent choice for any cookout, and as you can see, it can be very simply prepared by even an inexperienced person. As long as you check for signs of your tilapia being done and don’t skimp on the pre-grilling preparation, you should be very pleased with the results at dinner time. Follow these easy guidelines, and enjoy your tilapia hot off the grill!