This is my one of my favorite Grilled Lingcod Recipes. It is super easy and can be on your table in 10 minutes. It is a mild, white fish that doesn’t need much seasoning and pan sears in minutes!
Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, one of my favorite local dishes was lingcod. This is an extremely UGLY fish, but the meat is seriously out of this world. When I saw my local farmer’s market had some, I just had to get a few fillets!
This simple technique is great for any firm and mild white fish. The Red Snapper is thinner than the Lingcod so it would take just a couple minutes to sear. Even cooking a salmon fillet would make an amazing meal using this simple process.
🍽️ Why This Works
Easy – You really won’t find an easier grilling recipe than this. With just a couple of expert tips, you’ll be serving a seafood dinner that will have your guests thinking you spent hours preparing.
Delicious – I dare say that this fish tastes even better than its other cold water counterpart, the halibut. I could not believe how delicious this turned out on the grill.
Lingcod fillets – Cut this fillet down into fairly small servings. I find that a large fillet is just too difficult to manage on the grill and the edges get cooked before the center. Just save yourself the hassle and cut it before putting on the grill.
Butter and Olive Oil – A bit of oil and butter helps to season the pan and adds a great flavor to the fish.
⏲️ Equipment and Tools
Cast Iron Skillet – This is one of my favorite grilling accessories. It is perfect for just about everything from smoking to this hot searing. It retains heat so well, it forgives hot spots on the grill and provides a very evenly heated surface for searing your favorite foods.
Ramekin – These small, three ounce stainless steel ramekins work perfectly for holding small amounts of seasoning or liquids, such as the olive oil here. They are very inexpensive, but you’ll come back to them time and time again for your grilling needs.
Grill – We used out Big Green Egg for this one but no matter what grill you have – Weber, Char-Broil, Traeger or Masterbuilt – they are all going to work great for this recipe.
Try cooking this over an open fire while camping while using the cast iron skillet.
🔥 Grilling Instructions
Step One: Heat the grill to 375°F on direct heat. Add a flat cast iron pan like the flat top griddle in the photos.
Note: Cast Iron is perfect for this recipe. It heats evenly, eliminating hot-spots, and the slight lip on the sides keeps the butter, olive oil and any juices on the cooking surface.
Step Two: Let the pan come up to temperature. You know it is ready when you can add a few droplets of water on the surface and it immediately sizzles like you see in the photo below.
Step Three: Add the butter and olive oil to the pan and work it around to coat the bottom. This should only take a few seconds.
Step Four: Add the fillet. Let it grill for 3-4 minutes. It should release fairly easily from the cast iron in order to turn it over.
Step Five: Turn the fillets over and grill for another 3-4 minutes.
Remove from the grill after the internal temperature reaches 145°F and serve! I added a few lemon slices and rosemary for a garnish.
Note: When the fish starts to separate slightly, you know it has reached 145°F. See how the fillet has started to open up a bit in the photos above?
❗ Expert Tips
Heat Up: Let the cast iron heat up fully before grilling. This is key for the fish to be pan-seared.
Seasoning: Don’t use much seasoning. In fact, you’ll notice I didn’t add anything to this dish except for the olive oil and melted butter in the pan. The fish is mild and I really wanted the flavors to pop through.
Releasing: If the fish doesn’t release from the cast iron easily, let it cook for another minute. When it is fully seared, it will be easy to lift up.
When I first started this recipe, I made a wine and butter sauce for the fillets, but found that the fish tasted much better just plain.
All the tips and tricks you’ll ever need to put out your charcoal grill.
Lingcod does not store well after it has been cooked. If you had to, try a tightly covered container for the fridge. Fortunately, this tastes so good, I doubt you will have leftovers.
Fish Choice: If you can’t find lingcod (and that can be hard to find unless you live in the Pacific Northwest or want to order online), you can substitute with halibut. Just recognize that the times will vary slightly as the halibut is most likely a bit thicker than the lingcod meat.
Both are coldwater fish found from Alaska down into the Washington State area of the Pacific.
On the east coast, try cod, pollock or haddock for the substitutes.
Capers: Add in a tablespoon of capers in the the final few minutes to add a lemony brine flavor to the fish. As with the wine sauce, this is completely optional, and we loved the flavor plain. They capers definitely add a unique flavor, so don’t shy away from it.
Oil Choice: A good substitute for olive oil is avocado oil. This has a higher smoke point, and will serve much better if you choose to grill this at a higher temperature. I don’t recommend using butter, as it has a lower smoke point and will risk burning.
Seasonings: You won’t go wrong with a bit of salt and pepper. Oregano, rosemary or other herbs add a light and refreshing flavor as well. Add some lemon zest or lemon wedges for a garnish and it will complement the fish extremely well.
Breading: For a more crispy exterior, consider dredging the fillet in flour or bread crumbs before adding it to the heated skillet.
While you can use some tartar sauce, really prefer this lingcod recipe without it. It really lets the flavor of the fish shine through.
🥦 Serving Suggestions
Pull out a light and crisp brew like Blonde Ale or a light, chilled white wine such as Reisling.
This is a light and delicate fish that deserves to be the star of the show. Don’t overpower the flavors with bold side dishes. Keep the starches and vegetables somewhat neutral.
Smoked Fingerling Potatoes are an excellent option that cook quickly and work well with the dish.
Grilled Roasted Root Vegetables are easy to customize and cook extremely quickly. Make sure to sprinkle with fresh herbs for a perfect side dish.
Grilled Carrots with a light balsamic glaze are one of our favorites! We typically end up eating these straight off the grill.
What is Blue Lingcod?
Every now and then you’ll run across blue lingcod meat. It is bright blue and scientists speculate it is caused by changes in the fatty acids caused by variations in their diet. It is perfectly fine to eat. Just follow normal food safety protocols.
Lingcod is a saltwater fish found in the Pacific Northwest. It provides a firm, white meat. It is also known as a Buffalo Cod, or a Cultus Cod and is a member of the greenling family of fish.
This is a light, white meat that is very mild. It is almost sweet and holds together well for grilling. If you like halibut, you will love lingcod.
Lingcod and cod are not related. Lingcod belongs to the greenling family. It is the largest member and the fish can end up near 80 pounds vs an Atlantic cod that only reaches 96 kg.
Cod comes from Gadidae family. Cod is the common name of the demersal fish genus Gadus. Pacific cod and Atlantic cod are the two most common species of this mild fish.
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Grilled Pan Seared Lingcod Recipe
- Cast Iron Skillet
- 2 lbs Lingcod
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 tbsp Butter
- Heat the grill up to 375°F on direct heat. Place the cast iron flat top griddle on the grate.
- The cast iron is ready when you can add a drop of water on the surface and it immediately started sizzling.
- Add the butter and olive oil to the cast iron and use a spatula to cover the surface.
- Add the lingcod fillets and let it cook for 3 – 4 minutes.
- They are ready to turn over if they are easy to lift off the cast iron with a spatula. That shows that they have been properly seared.
- Turn them over and cook the other side for 3 – 4 minutes.
- Remove from the grill and serve with slices of lemon.