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How to Tell When Grilled Swordfish Is Done

Grilled swordfish is a delicious and healthy option for a summer meal. But how can you tell when it is done?

Whether you’re grilling swordfish for the first time or the hundredth, it’s always helpful to know the best way to test for doneness. After all, no one wants to eat overcooked fish.

This post is a quick and easy guide on how to tell when grilled swordfish is done.

Grilled swordfish on a plate with a green salad and a lemon slice.

How do you know when grilled swordfish is done?

There are a few different ways to tell when grilled swordfish is done. The best ways to test for doneness are by using a food thermometer, looking at the fish, or checking the texture.

Thermometer

The best way to know when grilled swordfish is done is by using an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature.

Swordfish should be cooked to 145° F according to the USDA, to kill potentially harmful bacteria and typically take about 6 to 10 minutes to cook depending on the thickness of the steak.

To ensure that the fish is done, break out the thermometer, and when it hits 145ºF in the center, it’s time to take it off the grill. Let the swordfish rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Look at the swordfish

Another way to tell when grilled swordfish is done cooking on the grill is by the way it looks.

Swordfish should be well-browned on one side and slightly pink in the center. Once the fish is cooked through, it should no longer be translucent.

Texture

When grilling swordfish you can check for doneness by its texture. To do this, press the swordfish steak with a fork or spatula and check for firmness and opacity.

If it flakes easily and feels firm, it is ready to come off the grill.

What factors influence how long to grill swordfish?

1. Size of Fish Filet

The size of the swordfish you’re grilling will have an impact on cooking time. A thicker cut steak of 1-inch or 1 1/2-inch will need 5 to 6 minutes on the first side, and 3 or 4 minutes on the second side.

If you have a thicker piece of swordfish, you may need to add a few extra minutes. It’s best to avoid going thinner than 1 inch, as it will overcook the inside before the outside gets those desired grill marks.

Using a thermometer can also help you determine doneness, as you want to aim for a temperature of 145°F at the thickest part.

2. Cooking Method

The cooking method you use will have a huge effect on how long to grill swordfish. Swordfish is a very lean fish and can easily get dry and mealy if overcooked.

When using a grill, make sure to preheat it before you put the steak on and keep the grill temperature low and cook the fish slowly, over very low heat.

3. Temperature of Grill

The temperature of the grill is an important factor when grilling swordfish. For optimal results, the grill should be preheated to medium heat.

Preheating your grill is important so that your fish filet doesn’t stick to the grill grates and can start cooking at an even and consistent temperature.

If your grill temperature is too hot then your swordfish will burn on the outside before the inside has a chance to cook.

Whereas if your grill temperature is too low you run the risk of drying out the fish as it cooks and it will take a lot longer to cook.

Check out my post on the advantages of grilling to learn more.

How Long Does it Take to Grill Swordfish?

It takes about 8 to 10 minutes to grill swordfish, depending on its thickness. An average of 8 to 10 minutes total for a 1-inch steak is recommended, with the heat source being about 4 inches away from the grill.

Make sure the fish lifts easily from the grill before flipping it. You want to cook it for 5-6 minutes on the first side before flipping and allow for an additional 3-4 minutes on the second side.

To make sure the fish is cooked properly, use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the steaks, which should be 145 degrees Fahrenheit and flaky on the inside.

You may have heard of people blackening fish when they cook it, find out what is the difference between grilled and blackened.

How do I prepare the grill for grilling swordfish?

To prepare your grill for grilling swordfish, wipe a thin coat of olive oil into the grill grates and then preheat it to medium heat.

Also, brush the steaks with olive oil. Once the grill is hot, lay each swordfish steak on the grate and cook.

Is there a difference between grilling swordfish and other types of fish?

Yes, there is a difference between grilling swordfish and other types of fish. Swordfish is a robust meat, similar in texture to tuna, and has a thicker cut than other types of fish which allows it to hold up better on the grill.

Additionally, swordfish can be marinated for a short period of time, unlike other types of fish, which can break down too much if left for a longer period of time.

Finally, swordfish is high in protein and omega-3s, making it a healthy choice for grilling.

Check out my posts on how to tell when tilapia is done or how to tell when grilled scallops are done for other grilled seafood ideas.

What to Serve with Grilled Swordfish

Grilled swordfish is a delicious and healthy meal that can be served with a variety of sides. For a light meal, grilled swordfish pairs well with a bright and substantial salad like Greek salad, bean salad, or Mediterranean potato salad.

If you’re looking to make a full meal, try pairing the swordfish steak with a simple green salad and some crusty bread, or rice pilaf and grilled summer squash.

For a more robust meal, try serving the swordfish with Mediterranean orzo salad and a glass of chilled rosé.

When it comes to wine pairings, swordfish pairs well with Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Chardonnay.

FAQ

The recommended temperature for grilled swordfish is 145°F at the thickest part. It is best to use an internal thermometer to check the temperature for accuracy.

It is best to use an instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of the swordfish. You should cook it to 145 degrees Fahrenheit to kill any potentially harmful bacteria, and it should feel firm, flake easily, and no longer be translucent when done.

When marinating swordfish you do not need to let it sit for too long. 10-30 minutes is a good amount of time to allow swordfish to marinate.

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