The Best Ways to Grill Yellow Tail

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Most grilling variations for yellowtail occur in the marinating and flavoring options, according to Texas-based chef Jana Muniz. Often confused with tuna, the yellowtail actually belongs to the jack family. Sushi aficionados may be more familiar with yellowtail by its Japanese name, hamachi, also known as Japanese amberjack. Many grilling recipes and methods that work with yellowtail suit other types of fish too, such as tuna and snapper.

You may be familiar with yellowtail as hamachi, a Japanese amberjack used for sushi.
(sushi image by berdoulat jerome from Fotolia.com)

Muniz, proprietor and chef/baker of The Goodnight Diner in Dripping Springs, Texas, believes in keeping flavors simple when grilling fresh yellowtail, using just salt, pepper and olive oil. Other options include butter, lemon and a favorite seasoned salt or garlic salt, flavors that won't overwhelm or mask the freshness of the fish.

Olive oil enhances the flavor of yellowtail without overwhelming it.
olive oil image by Alison Bowden from Fotolia.com

Muniz occasionally uses a marinade. "When I do feel like adding additional flavors, I prefer fresh chives and sun-dried tomatoes," she says. Soy sauce and fresh ginger or some miso soup mix will add a more Asian feel to a marinade.

Fresh ginger gives grilled yellowtail an Asian taste.
ginger hand with minced and sliced ginger image by David Smith from Fotolia.com

Yellowtail can be placed directly on the grill, although Muniz uses a wooden plank for added flavor. These planks can be purchased at most cooking supply or home goods stores. "If you add other food items, or prefer to cook it with the marinade, you will need to make a foil pan to keep it all together," Muniz says.

Yellowtail can be placed directly on the grill or on a wooden plank.
grilled bream image by Vladimir Gurov from Fotolia.com

"Yellowtail should be cooked no more than three minutes per side over a hot fire," cautions Muniz. She adds that this method should only be used for high-quality fresh yellowtail. "Overall, a good rule of thumb for fish is grill the high-quality, freshest fish, and fry or bake everything else."

Grilling works best with high-grade fish.
fresh fish on barbecue image by .shock from Fotolia.com

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