Go med-rare, or raw
Don’t be afraid to eat wild Pacific salmon that’s not cooked all the way through. Its succulent texture shines when the fish retains a touch of translucence in the center. Or be bold and try it raw.
Sometimes, fat is a good thing, like when you consider how the high fat content of wild salmon helps it stand up so well to the heat of the grill, basting it from the inside out.
Wild salmon cooks—and overcooks—quickly. A good rule of thumb is to cook it for 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness, regardless of the cooking method.
Whole wild salmon, on and off the grill
• Make sure the salmon you buy fits onto your grill with enough room to roll it over so you can grill both sides; most grills can accommodate a small coho or standard sockeye or keta.
• Confirm that the salmon has been dressed (gutted and scaled) before you pay for it; it’s a messy job better done at the store. are necessary to roll the fish over.
• Heating the grill grates well and oiling them several times help keep the salmon skin from sticking. Dusting the skin with flour and oiling it just before it goes onto the grill help, too.
• Don’t forget to soak the toothpicks so that they don’t burn during grilling.
Carving a whole salmon
See the Test Kitchen post for step-by-step photos and instructions detailing how to carve a whole salmon.