This Brown Sugar Grilled Salmon is my all time favorite meal! I love salmon smoked, grilled, and baked. I can’t get enough lox in the morning, but I think there is nothing better than this grilled brown sugar salmon. Fortunately, it is extremely simple to make!
There are only three ingredients in this recipe which makes it one of the easiest ones around. Add that to the fact that it is grilled, and you really can’t beat it.
My grandmother used this recipe in the oven, broiling the salmon. It would be a treat on a special Sunday when we visited, and there was never a scrap left over. I adapted it for the grill and am sharing it with you.
There are two steps to this recipe: marinating and grilling. That’s it!
You have a choice whether you want to remove the skin or not. I prefer keeping the skin on as it keeps the moisture in the fish and serves as a protective barrier against the heat of the grill. If there is any sticking, I would rather have the skin stick than the precious meat.
Step One: Marinade the salmon overnight. Sprinkle the fillets with dark brown sugar and then squeeze lemon juice over it. Cover with Saran and refrigerate overnight. By the morning, the brown sugar/lemon mixture will have turned to liquid, letting the salmon marinade in this delicious mixture all night.
Step Two: Combine more brown sugar and lemon in a small glass bowl to serve as a glaze while the salmon is being grilled.
🔥 Grilling Instructions
Step One: Set up the grill for direct heat at 350 degrees. It doesn’t matter whether you use charcoal or gas. The key is to get a stable, direct heat.
You can lay the fillet straight on the grate, but it risks having the juices drip into the coals and creating an acrid smoke flavor. Instead, I use copper grill mats.
If you haven’t tried these before, go grab some. These are game-changers for my grilling. Nothing sticks to them. I mean NOTHING! Trust me, I have tried the gnarliest, stickiest recipes I can think of and I can’t get anything to stick. I love them!
Step Two: Lay the salmon on the copper grilling mat on the grate and let it grill for five minutes. After five minutes, baste the salmon with the brown sugar and lemon glaze. The glaze will add an extra mild sweetness to the surface of the fish and lock in the juices to make the fillet extremely moist.
Step Three: Reglaze the salmon every five minutes until it is done. It took my thicker fillets 20 minutes to cook fully through. The thinner fillets were done in 15 minutes. Everyone’s grill is slightly different so keep an eye on your food!
Note: This glaze will cover the flesh of the salmon and drip on to the copper mat where it will darken. Don’t worry about it. Remember when I said the copper mat won’t let anything stick to it? That’s the case here. Even burnt sugar won’t stick.
⏲️ Grilling Time
I cut the salmon into manageable pieces of uniform thickness. This lets me cook the fillets without worrying about part of the salmon getting done before it is ready to be removed. Thinner salmon fillets took about 15 minutes to cook until the interior temperature was 145 degrees. Thicker salmon fillets took about 20 minutes.
If you use a fork to look at the inside of the fish, the meat will have turned from translucent to opaque. You might see the white stuff (which is coagulated protein, and perfectly safe to eat) rise to the surface. If you basted the salmon, it will not be as prevalent.
💡 Recipe Tips
You do not need to flip the salmon on the grill when you are using a copper mat. If you are using a skinless fillet, you might consider using a fish grill basket. Using a basket makes it easy to evenly grill both sides.
🍴 Serving Options
I usually eat the salmon fresh off the grill in a whole fillet. I have chopped it up and placed it on a bed of spinach for a delicious sweet brown sugar and lemon salmon salad.
Or, you could stand at the end of the counter like my son and eat it before it can even be served on anyone’s plate!
I will take that as a thumbs up from the official Kitchen Laughter taste tester!
Related Seafood Recipes
Parmesan Crusted Salmon on a Cedar Plank is tender and delicious with the hint of cedar peaking through. The little bit of parmesan cheese on top is perfect for a mild salmon coming off the grill!
Rosemary Thyme Salmon on a Cedar Plank combines all the things I love so much! Salmon, cedar planks, grilling and herbs! Putting all of these together are a perfect match! Easy peasy recipe to make dinner in no time!
Grilled Steelhead Trout with Herbed Butter is magnificent! If you aren’t a steelhead lover yet, this one will turn you for sure! If you still think you aren’t sure-try that herbed butter on salmon-another TO.DIE.FOR. recipe!!!
Tequila Lime Shrimp has got the tart kick to it from the limes. I used a Himalayan Salt Block, but this works just as well straight on the grate.
Grilled Brown Sugar Salmon
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Lemons juiced
- 1 large Salmon Fillet
Brown Sugar Glaze
- 1/2 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Lemon juiced
Preparing the Salmon
- Cut the salmon into similar sized pieces. The goal is to keep them in uniform thickness so they finish grilling at the same time.
- There is no need to remove the skin from the salmon fillets. That saves you an extra step and lets you get it ready that much faster.
- Lay the salmon out on a large 9×13 dish and sprinkle with one cup of brown sugar. Squeeze the juice out of two lemons and cover the brown sugar to make it a paste.
- Cover with Saran and place in refrigerator overnight.
Brown Sugar and Lemon Juice Glaze
- Combine the brown sugar and lemon juice of one lemon into a small bowl and stir.
Grill the Salmon
- Use a Copper Grilling Mat for the grill. It stops the sugary marinade from dripping into the coals and creating flare ups and smoke.
- Lay the salmon fillets on the nonstick copper grilling mat over direct heat set at 350 degrees
- Every five minutes, baste the salmon with the brown sugar and lemon glaze. This would normally create a mess and cause flare ups, but the copper mat will keep it contained.
- Remove the salmon from the grill when the internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.