Why You Should Roll Salmon Steaks Before Grilling Them

Salmon is one of those foods that's beloved in all forms — whether it's smoked on a bagel with cream cheese, served raw with sushi rice and seaweed, or poached and served with Dijon mustard sauce. Grilling salmon, though, is undoubtedly one of the most popular methods to prepare this pink-hued fish. While everyone has their own favorite grilling tips and techniques, perhaps the most crucial step when grilling salmon steak is rolling it before it hits the grill.

Salmon steaks feature a section of meat called the 'belly flaps.' Since these are thinner than the rest of the steak, the belly flaps cook much quicker than the thicker part of the steak. Rolling salmon steaks into a tight circle ensures that the fish will cook evenly throughout since it now has a uniform shape and thickness. As a bonus, salmon steaks look a lot more aesthetically pleasing when they're rolled into a neat circle.

Rolling a salmon steak is surprisingly simple

Rolled salmon steaks might look fancy, but they're pretty easy to master. To roll your salmon steak, lay your fish onto a clean, even surface, and gather kitchen twine and a sharp knife. Use your knife to trim off the two inner membranes of the fish, which are the thin, whitish layers on the inside portion of each belly flap.

Next, you'll want to cut out the spine bone, which is the white circle between the belly flaps. If you find any pin bones as you cut, be sure to remove them with fish tweezers and your fingers. Once that's done, use your knife to gently cut one side of the salmon's skin, separating it from the meat — don't cut it off, however. Leave the skin of the other belly flap untouched.

Now, it's time to get into the actual rolling of the steak. Tuck the salmon's skinless belly flap up into the area where the spine bone used to be. Then, wrap the belly flap that still has its skin around the skinless flap. Finish up by taking the remaining salmon skin and wrapping it around the outside of the steak. Wrap your circle up tight with a bit of kitchen twine and voila — you're ready to grill.

Drying, rubbing, and seasoning are also key steps to a great grilled salmon

Rolling your salmon steak is essential for an even cook-through, but there are a few other steps you need to follow to ensure a truly great grilled salmon. First, you should lightly pat your salmon steak with a paper towel before putting it on the grill. This will remove any excess moisture, which in turn will help to create a nice golden crust. Or, you can put it into the fridge for an hour to take your salmon to restaurant status. This will dry it out and give you truly crispy skin.

Rubbing your salmon with oil will keep the salmon from sticking to the grill. There are plenty of oils that pair well with salmon, but avocado oil is a popular choice due to its ability to withstand high temperatures.

Finally, be sure to season your salmon steak with kosher salt. Just like oil, kosher salt helps to prevent your salmon from sticking to the grill. When fish is overly moist, it will create steam and adhere to the grill. Putting coarse kosher salt onto the fish's surface will draw out excess moisture and therefore reduce the likelihood of sticking to the grill. Other coarse salts, like Maldon sea salt flakes, will work just as well as kosher salt.