Grilled Whole Salmon with Lemon and Shallots

March 11, 2016

Grilled Whole Salmon with Lemons and Shallots
Once in your life you need to try making a grilled whole salmon. Far beyond the reason that it tastes so darn good, is the untouchable street cred you get by roasting a meal that still has a face. It just looks impressive. I’m a firm believer that if you are willing to consume meat, you need to be willing to admit, acknowledge, and respect the fact that your meal was once a living animal. If you can’t do that….. maybe you should be eating less meat.

Whole Grilled Salmon stuffed with lemon and shallots

Harsh truths for a lighthearted blog post, but it is something that I have been thinking about a lot lately and honestly trying to implement. The more I am learning to respect ingredients, the better my cooking skills and meals have become. By using fresh, quality components, you need to do less to them to make them amazing.

Grilled Salmon with Lemons and Shallots

So it goes with this awesome salmon. Simply stuffed with shallots, fresh lemons, and dill then drizzled with a little butter, salt and pepper before being grilled to perfection. A grilled whole salmon makes an absolutely beautiful presentation for a crowd. Seriously, people will go nuts. Beyond that, it takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and then it’s hands off until dinner time. I think it could be the perfect dinner party food! This is the ultimate in delicate salmon flavor, with just a hint of savory herbaciousness (it’s a word because I said so) and that mild smoky flavor from the grill. No one flavor note hits you over the head, they just all work together and melt in your mouth. Serve with a side of bacon wrapped asparagus and you’ve got an outstanding spring meal!

Grilled Whole Salmon with Lemon

I grilled this beauty over indirect heat on my pellet grill (you can read more about what I cook on HERE) but the recipe is adaptable to whatever grill you are using! If you’re cooking over charcoal, simply arrange the hot coals on one side of your grill and cook the fish on the other. If you are using gas, I recommend cooking the salmon on a large baking sheet and rotating the salmon often to prevent the bottom from burning.

Finally, I would LOVE to chat with you guys! I hang out on Instagram and Pinterest the most lately. Check me out!

grilled whole salmon

Grilled Whole Salmon with Lemon and Shallots

This beautiful whole salmon is simply stuffed with shallots, fresh lemons, and dill then drizzled with a little butter, salt and pepper before being grilled to perfection.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time : 1 hr
Total Time : 1 hr 5 mins
Servings : 10 people


  • 1 6-7 lb whole salmon (cleaned and scales removed)
  • 2 shallots (sliced into rings)
  • 3 lemons (divided use)
  • 10-12 fresh dill fronds
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper


  • Begin by preparing your grill. Set the temperature to about 400-425 degrees over indirect heat and allow your grill to preheat while you prepare the salmon.
  • Wipe the entire exterior and interior cavity of your salmon with paper towels. Season the interior with half of the salt and pepper. Layer in the sliced shallots, 2 of the sliced lemons, and dill fronds.
  • Using a sharp knife, cut 3-4 diagonal slices into the top of the salmon. Drizzle the top of the fish with the melted butter and season with the rest of the salt and pepper.
  • Transfer your fish directly to the grill grates, close the lid and roast for 30 minutes. Cut the last lemon in half and squeeze half of it over the top of the salmon. The time can vary 15 minutes or so in either direction depending on how thick your fish is.
  • Close the lid and roast for another 15 minutes then squeeze the other half of the lemon over the top. At this point, use an internal thermometer to check the temperature of your salmon. The time to finish the salmon can vary 15 minutes or so in either direction depending on how thick your fish is. From this point on, keep a close eye on the temperature. Salmon is cooked through at 140 degrees F.
  • When your salmon has hit the proper internal temperature, carefully transfer the fish to your serving platter or cutting board and serve with extra lemon wedges. Simply peel back the skin along the diagonal slits and allow your guests to serve themselves.
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11 thoughts on “Grilled Whole Salmon with Lemon and Shallots

  1. I like your philosophy! It’s not hars at all! We all need to learn to respect our food! Not only meat! There are a lot of great vegetables too! This salmon would fit on my Q too 🙂

  2. Love the recipe! I brine a lot of my fish, and smoke at 225 deg F for about two hours, and it produces a buttery flavor with no butter added to the recipe. Devine!

  3. A friend gave me a 4 lb coho & I have been scanning the web for a recipe. This one sounds WONDERFUL & I can hardly wait to shop for fresh dill tomorrow. & shallots I have NEVER used! Summers! Can’t wait. It’s going on the Traeger tomorrow at 3!

  4. Hey this recipe actually works! I caught a 3kg salmon in Australia high country, followed this recipe and cooked on a PK (portable kitchen(R) BBQ) I would have to honestly say that this fish was the best I have ever tasted. And yes I have tasted some damn good fish in my life. 5 stars on your recipe and thanks a ton ????
    I used mangrove charcoal and cooked indirectly.
    Used olive oil instead of butter
    Also put some parsley in the mix.

    1. I cooked this on my smoker, so I can put foil under my grates. I wouldn’t place foil on your gas burners or over the coals. If you would like to place foil on your grates, then you can do that.

  5. Purchased a 4.3 pound Copper River Sockeye and used this recipe to prepare it on a Traeger. Salmon turned out wonderful with great flavor. Only thing I might change next time is to cook to 135 degrees versus the 140 in the recipe. We tend to prefer our salmon a little more medium rare. Just to be clear though, the salmon is not over cooked at 140, it was very good.

  6. Just returned from Michigan with a whole Salmon fished from Lake Superior. We purchased fron a local fisherman. After witnessing the spectacle of Salmon jumping the falls in the Betsie River, I felt her presence (the fish!) with me in the RV. I am so humbled by the experience, I will never take eating fish for granted again. I agree with your comments and feel the same about all food. As a gardener, I appreciate what goes into the food we’re eat. This glorious fish is going on the grill tomorrow!

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