How to Cook Fish on Kamado Joe

Are you ready to elevate your grilling game?

In this article, we’ll show you how to cook fish on your Kamado Joe like a pro. Whether you’re a seasoned griller or just starting out, this guide will walk you through the steps to prepare, season, and grill your fish to perfection.

With the Kamado Joe’s versatility and your newfound knowledge, get ready to impress your friends and family with delicious, restaurant-quality fish right in your backyard.

Let’s get started!

Selecting the Right Fish

To select the right fish for your kamado joe, you should look for fresh options that are firm, shiny, and have a mild aroma. When it comes to fish selection, freshness is key. Look for fish that has clear, bright eyes and shiny scales. The flesh should be firm to the touch, with no signs of sliminess or discoloration. A mild aroma is also a good indicator of freshness. Avoid fish that smells overly fishy or has a strong ammonia-like odor.

Different types of fish require different preparation techniques. For grilling on your kamado joe, you want to choose fish that can hold up well to the high heat and retain its moisture. Some popular options include salmon, tuna, swordfish, and halibut. These fish are known for their firm flesh and rich flavor, which makes them perfect for grilling.

When preparing the fish for your kamado joe, make sure to clean and gut it properly. Remove any scales and entrails, and rinse the fish thoroughly under cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels to remove any excess moisture. Season the fish with your favorite marinade or spices, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes to allow the flavors to penetrate.

Preparing the Kamado Joe

First, make sure you’ve properly set up your Kamado Joe for cooking. Here are four important steps to prepare your grill for the perfect fish:

  1. Clean the grill: Before starting, ensure that your Kamado Joe is clean. Remove any leftover ash or debris from previous cooking sessions. This will prevent any unwanted flavors from transferring to your fish.

  2. Check the heat source: Make sure the charcoal is fully lit and spread evenly across the charcoal grate. This will provide a consistent heat source for cooking your fish. Adjust the air vents to control the temperature.

  3. Preheat the grill: Close the lid and let the Kamado Joe preheat to the desired temperature. This will ensure that the grill is hot enough to sear the fish and lock in the flavors.

  4. Oil the grates: Use a grill brush to lightly oil the cooking grates. This will prevent the fish from sticking to the grates and make flipping easier. Use a high smoke-point oil like vegetable or canola oil.

Seasoning and Marinating the Fish

When it comes to seasoning and marinating fish, you have several options to enhance its flavor.

Explore the best marinade options, such as citrus-based marinades or herb-infused blends, that can infuse your fish with a burst of flavor.

Additionally, learn about seasoning techniques for fish, such as dry rubs or brining, which can add depth and complexity to your dish.

Best Marinade Options

Try out different marinades to enhance the flavor of your fish on the Kamado Joe. Marinades not only add flavor but also help to tenderize the fish, making it moist and delicious.

Here are some of the best marinade options to try:

  1. Lemon and Herb: Combine fresh lemon juice, minced garlic, chopped parsley, and olive oil for a refreshing and tangy marinade that complements any type of fish.

  2. Asian-inspired: Mix soy sauce, ginger, garlic, honey, and sesame oil for a savory and slightly sweet marinade that pairs well with salmon or tuna.

  3. Mediterranean: Create a marinade with olive oil, lemon zest, minced garlic, and a blend of dried herbs like oregano, thyme, and basil for a Mediterranean twist on your grilled fish.

  4. Spicy Cajun: Combine paprika, cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, dried thyme, and a touch of brown sugar for a bold and spicy marinade that adds a kick to any fish.

Experiment with these flavor combinations and find your favorite marinade to take your grilled fish to the next level.

Seasoning Techniques for Fish

To enhance the flavor of your grilled fish, start by experimenting with different seasoning techniques. Fish seasoning ideas can range from simple to complex, depending on your taste preferences.

One popular option is to use a combination of salt, pepper, and lemon zest to bring out the natural flavors of the fish. Another great idea is to create a spice rub using a mix of paprika, garlic powder, and dried herbs. This adds a smoky and aromatic taste to your grilled fish. If you want to add a kick of heat, try using cayenne pepper or chili powder in your seasoning blend.

Grilling tips for seasoning include evenly coating the fish with the seasoning mixture and allowing it to marinate for at least 30 minutes before grilling. This allows the flavors to penetrate the fish and creates a delicious crust when cooked.

Marinade Vs Dry Rub

You can choose between using a marinade or a dry rub to infuse flavor into your grilled fish. Both methods have their own benefits and can yield delicious results.

Marinade benefits:

  • Adds moisture: A marinade can help keep your fish moist and juicy during the grilling process.
  • Enhances flavor: By soaking your fish in a flavorful marinade, you can infuse it with a delicious taste that will complement the natural flavors of the fish.
  • Tenderizes the fish: Certain marinades containing acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar can help tenderize the fish, making it more tender and easier to eat.
  • Versatile options: Marinades offer a wide variety of flavors and combinations, allowing you to experiment and find your favorite.

Dry rub alternatives:

  • Spice it up: Dry rubs are a great option if you prefer a more intense flavor profile. They allow you to season your fish with a blend of herbs, spices, and seasonings, creating a tasty crust on the outside.
  • Quick and easy: Dry rubs are simple to make and require minimal preparation time. Just mix your desired spices and rub them onto the fish before grilling.
  • No added liquid: Unlike marinades, dry rubs do not add any extra moisture to the fish. This can be beneficial if you prefer a drier texture or want to avoid excess liquid on your plate.
  • Versatile options: Just like marinades, dry rubs offer a wide range of flavor possibilities. You can customize your rub to suit your taste preferences and experiment with different combinations.

Whether you choose a marinade or a dry rub, both methods can add incredible flavor to your grilled fish. It ultimately comes down to personal preference and the specific flavors you want to achieve.

Setting Up the Grill for Indirect Cooking

When it comes to setting up your grill for indirect cooking, there are a few key points to consider.

First, understanding heat distribution techniques is essential in ensuring that your food cooks evenly.

You’ll also want to know the difference between indirect and direct heat, as this will affect the cooking method you choose.

Lastly, mastering grill temperature control is crucial for achieving the desired doneness of your food.

Heat Distribution Techniques

One way to achieve even heat distribution on a Kamado Joe is by using a heat deflector.

Heat management is crucial when cooking on a Kamado Joe, especially when it comes to delicate foods like fish.

A heat deflector is a key tool that helps regulate the temperature and ensures that the heat is evenly distributed across the cooking surface.

By placing the heat deflector between the fire and the food, it creates a barrier that prevents direct heat from reaching the food, resulting in a more gentle and consistent cooking environment.

This not only helps prevent hot spots and uneven cooking but also allows for better smoke infusion, enhancing the flavor of the fish.

Indirect Vs Direct Heat

Now that you understand the different heat distribution techniques, let’s dive into the debate of indirect versus direct heat when cooking fish on a Kamado Joe.

  1. Preserves Moisture: Indirect heat creates a gentle, even cooking environment that helps to retain the natural moisture of the fish, resulting in a succulent and tender dish.

  2. Prevents Flare-Ups: Direct heat can cause flare-ups, which can burn the fish and leave an unpleasant taste. Indirect heat eliminates this risk, ensuring that your fish is cooked to perfection.

  3. Enhances Flavor: Indirect heat allows for a slower cooking process, allowing the fish to absorb the smoky flavors from the charcoal or wood chips. This imparts a delicious, smoky taste that elevates the overall flavor profile of the dish.

Grill Temperature Control

To control the temperature of your grill, you’ll need to adjust the air vents and monitor the flame.

Maintaining the right grill temperature is crucial when grilling fish to ensure it cooks evenly and remains tender and moist.

Start by preheating your grill to the desired temperature, usually between 350°F to 400°F.

Open the air vents at the bottom of the grill to allow oxygen in and increase the flame.

If the temperature is too high, close the vents partially to reduce airflow and lower the flame.

Conversely, if the temperature is too low, open the vents further to increase airflow and raise the flame.

Remember to monitor the grill temperature throughout the cooking process and make adjustments as needed for perfectly grilled fish.

Monitoring the Temperature

Keep an eye on the temperature of the kamado joe while cooking the fish to ensure it doesn’t overcook. Temperature control is crucial when it comes to achieving the perfect doneness for your fish. The kamado joe provides excellent heat retention and control, making it an ideal choice for cooking delicate seafood.

To monitor the temperature, you can use the built-in thermometer on the kamado joe lid. This will give you a general idea of the cooking temperature inside the grill. However, it’s recommended to use a separate meat thermometer to get accurate readings of the internal temperature of the fish.

Insert the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the fish, making sure it doesn’t touch any bones. For most fish, you want to cook it to an internal temperature of 145°F (63°C). This ensures that the fish is fully cooked and safe to eat, while still remaining moist and tender.

If the temperature starts to rise too quickly, you can adjust the vents on the kamado joe to lower the heat. Opening the vents will increase the airflow and raise the temperature, while closing them will reduce the airflow and lower the temperature.

Placing the Fish on the Grill

Place your fish on the grill, making sure to position it in a way that allows for even cooking. When it comes to grilling fish, proper placement on the grill is essential for achieving a delicious and well-cooked dish.

To start, preheat your Kamado Joe grill to the desired temperature, usually around 400°F (204°C). Once it reaches the desired heat, it’s time to prepare the fish. Begin by lightly oiling the grill grates to prevent sticking.

Next, carefully lay the fish on the grill, skin side down if applicable. This ensures that the skin gets crispy and adds a wonderful texture to the dish. Be cautious when placing the fish to avoid any flare-ups or sticking to the grates. If you’re grilling fillets, place them at a slight angle to the grates, as this allows for those beautiful grill marks and even cooking. For whole fish, position it diagonally across the grates for optimal heat distribution.

Remember to close the grill lid while cooking to maintain a consistent temperature and to cook the fish thoroughly. By following these simple grilling techniques, you’ll not only achieve perfectly cooked fish but also an impressive fish presentation that will wow your guests.

Cooking Time and Techniques

Now that you have placed the fish on the grill, let’s talk about cooking time and techniques to ensure you achieve perfectly cooked fish on your Kamado Joe.

When it comes to cooking fish, timing is crucial. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness and type of fish you are grilling. As a general rule, fish fillets that are about 1 inch thick will take around 8-10 minutes to cook, while whole fish may require a bit longer. It is important to keep a close eye on the fish while it cooks to prevent overcooking, as fish can quickly become dry and lose its delicate flavor.

As for cooking techniques, there are a few options you can consider. One popular method is grilling the fish directly on the grates. This technique imparts a smoky flavor and adds beautiful grill marks to the fish. Another option is to use a fish basket or a grill mat, which can help prevent the fish from sticking to the grates and make flipping easier.

When selecting fish for grilling, it is important to choose fresh, high-quality fish. Look for fish with firm flesh and a mild odor. Popular fish options for grilling include salmon, trout, snapper, and halibut.

Serving and Enjoying the Perfectly Grilled Fish

Once the fish is off the grill, it’s time to plate it up and savor the perfectly grilled flavors. Here are some serving tips and pairing suggestions to enhance your dining experience:

Serving Tips:

Tip Description
1. Serve the fish immediately after grilling to ensure it stays hot and retains its juiciness.
2. Garnish the fish with fresh herbs like dill, parsley, or cilantro to add a pop of color and freshness.
3. Drizzle some lemon juice or a tangy vinaigrette over the fish to enhance the flavors and provide a refreshing citrusy touch.

Pairing Suggestions:

Fish Type Wine Pairing
Grilled Salmon Pinot Noir or Chardonnay
Grilled Tuna Sauvignon Blanc or Malbec
Grilled Halibut Riesling or Viognier

When serving grilled fish, consider the type of fish and its flavor profile. For example, the rich and fatty texture of salmon pairs well with a medium-bodied red wine like Pinot Noir, while the light and delicate flavor of halibut complements white wines such as Riesling or Viognier. Tuna, with its meaty and bold taste, can be paired with a full-bodied red like Malbec or a crisp white like Sauvignon Blanc.


So there you have it, cooking fish on your Kamado Joe is easier than you think! By selecting the right fish, preparing your grill, seasoning and marinating the fish, and setting up for indirect cooking, you can achieve perfectly grilled fish every time.

Just remember to monitor the temperature and adjust your cooking time and techniques accordingly.

Once your fish is cooked to perfection, all that’s left to do is serve and enjoy.

So fire up your Kamado Joe and get ready to impress your friends and family with your delicious grilled fish!