This post is sponsored by Kingsford Charcoal. All thoughts and opinions however, are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make ¡Hola! Jalapeño possible.
Is there anything more effortlessly impressive than a whole side of grilled salmon? It really takes little more then 10 minutes on the grill but looks so gorgeous when it’s done and feeds a crowd to boot!
Why Grilling Is The Best Way to Entertain
With the start of the holiday season upon us, I’m excited to be partnering with Kingsford to give you all a gentle nudge that—if the weather permits—to take the party outside!
It is only natural during any party that guests want to be where the action is. When I’m throwing a dinner party inside that means everyone ends up in my extraordinarily tiny kitchen. If I’m grilling however, there’s plenty of room in my backyard for everyone to mingle and chat, drink in hand, while the food sizzles away.
Not to mention that I can’t think of one thing that doesn’t benefit from Kingsford Original Charcoal’s smoky wood-fired flavor. This grilled salmon recipe is no exception. Those classic charcoal briquets have the best authentic BBQ flavor and it comes through in everything it touches.
How to Make A Whole Side of Grilled Salmon
This Grilled Salmon Al Pastor with Herb Guacamole is truly an unforgettable feast! It features a whole side of wild Alaskan salmon (which I highly recommend over farmed salmon). The fish is marinated in the classic Al Pastor flavors of chipotle chile, ancho chile, lime, raw sugar, oregano, and garlic.
It may seem a bit intimidating to grill a whole side of salmon but it’s totally worth a try. The side is so impressive when served and the salmon doesn’t dry out as easily as when cut into filets. Here’s a few tips for success:
- Preheat the grill grates and oil them right before you put the fish on the grill.
- Don’t move the fish around once it starts cooking. Flip it only once.
- Use two long spatulas to flip and remove the fish when it’s done.
- And if you really don’t want to attempt it, cut the side of salmon into individual filets before marinating and grilling. OR….
- Grill the whole side in a piece of aluminum foil. Although you won’t get any crispy skin if you do this, which I really, really love.
What Goes with Grilled Salmon Al Pastor
Homemade guacamole loaded with fresh herbs
This guacamole recipe was inspired by one I had at Atla when I was in New York last month. The key is to use as many different fresh herbs as possible. The bursts of anise from the tarragon and basil, the light lemon notes of Italian parsley, and of course the intensity of fresh cilantro take idea of guacamole and turn it on its head.
Grilled baby butternut squash
Toss some butternut squash on the grill while you have it lit! I roasted these baby butternut squash that I found at last Saturday’s Farmer’s Market in a hot oven for about 20 minutes then finished them on the grill while the salmon cooked.
Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few herbs before roasting.
Ready to this Grilled Salmon Recipe a try?
I know it’s not traditional, but this would be an excellent alternative meal for anyone who doesn’t love having turkey for Thanksgiving. Even the grilled butternut squash would make an excellent Thanksgiving side—hey, one less thing to put in the oven!
What dish do you think is best cooked over charcoal? Leave me a comment below and let me know!Print
Grilled Salmon Al Pastor with Herb Guacamole
Smoky wood-fired grilled salmon marinated in chipotle, ancho chile, and garlic then topped with homemade guacamole mixed with tons of fresh herbs and lime.
- Prep Time: 40 minutes
- Cook Time: 10 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 6–8 servings 1x
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Grill
- Cuisine: Mexican
Kingsford Original Charcoal, for grilling
For the Salmon:
1 (3-pound) side of wild Alaskan salmon
1 tablespoon raw sugar or dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon canola oil
3 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons chipotle chili flakes
2 teaspoons ancho chili powder
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
For the Herb Guacamole:
3 ripe avocados, peeled, pitted, and cubed
1/3 cup minced red onion
1 lime, juiced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh herbs such as cilantro, basil, tarragon, dill, parsley, or a combination.
For the Guacamole:
Combine avocado, red onion, lime juice, and salt in a medium bowl. Mash avocado with the back of a fork to break up some of the pieces but leaving most of them in hunks. Gently fold in herbs. Taste and add more lime juice or salt if needed.
Press a piece of plastic wrap directly onto the guacamole. Cover bowl tightly with another piece of plastic wrap. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
For the Salmon:
Remove any pin bones from the salmon with kitchen pliers and place fish on a large baking sheet.
Combine sugar, oil, salt, chipotle chili flakes, ancho chili powder, garlic, lime juice, oregano, and black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Spoon marinade over fish, set aside while you prepare the grill.
To Prepare Grill:
Empty any ashes from the bottom of the grill and open the top and bottom vents. Pour Kingsford charcoal into grill and light. You want to cover at least 3/4 of the bottom of the grill with charcoal so the entire side of salmon cooks evenly.
Place grill grates over the lit charcoal to preheat them. Once coals are covered with gray ash, use a grill brush to clean the grates.
Soak a paper towel with a couple tablespoons of canola oil and using a long pair of tongs, wipe grates with oil.
Place salmon, meat-side down (skin-side up) on grill. Grill, undisturbed for 5 minutes. Using two long, metal spatulas, carefully flip fish over and cook other side another 5 minutes or until opaque and firm to the touch.
Transfer to a large serving platter, top with guacamole and serve.
If grilling a whole side of salmon is too cumbersome, cut the side into individual filets before marinating and grilling.