Episode 109: Extreme Grilling

Salmon Grilled on a Shovel

Salmon Grilled on a Shovel


Salmon Grilled on a Shovel

Recipe Notes

  • Active Prep: 10 minutes, plus time for building a campfire
  • Grill Time: 6 to 8 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Method: Direct grilling (on a shovel) in a campfire


  • 4 thick salmon steaks (preferably center cut), each 6 to 8 ounces and 1 1/4- to 1 1/2-inches thick
  • Extra virgin olive oil for brushing and drizzling
  • Coarse salt (sea or kosher) and cracked or freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 scallions, trimmed, white parts finely chopped, green parts thinly sliced on the diagonal and set aside for the sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 lemon, zested (you’ll need 2 teaspoons plus another 1/2 teaspoon for the sauce), then cut into wedges
  • Lemon Dill Coriander Sauce (optional), or lemon wedges

Recipe Steps

True Shovel Method – Step 1: Build a wood campfire with a good base of glowing embers. Feed fresh logs to the fire from time to time to pump out plenty of wood smoke.

Step 2: Working on a rimmed baking sheet, brush the salmon steaks on both sides with olive oil. Season very generously on both sides with salt and pepper, then sprinkle with the minced scallion white, dill, and 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, patting these flavorings into the fish with the flat of a fork. Just before grilling, drizzle a little more olive oil over the salmon and squeeze lemon wedges over it to moisten it with lemon juice.

Step 3: Heat the shovel blade in the fire. This serves two purposes. It helps clean and sterilize the cooking surface and preheats the metal so it will sear the meat.

Step 4: Arrange the salmon steaks on the shovel blade, leaving an inch between each. Don’t overcrowd the shovel—it’s OK to work in batches. Remember, in the Outback, grilling isn’t just about cooking a meal—it’s an evening’s entertainment. Thrust the shovel over the fire or lay it directly on the embers. Grill until the salmon steaks are sizzling and browned on the outside and cooked to taste, 3 to 4 minutes per side for salmon with a blush of pink in the center; 5 minutes per side for fully cooked.

Step 5: Serve the salmon steaks right off the shovel with the Lemon Dill Coriander Sauce (if using) on the side.

Plancha Method – Steps: Set up your grill for direct grilling and preheat to high. Place a plancha or large cast iron skillet on the grill and preheat it as well. If using logs, wood chunks, or chips, toss them on the coals (of a charcoal grill) or use one of the smoking methods for gas grills. Arrange the salmon steaks on the plancha or skillet and cook and serve as described above.

Recipe Tips

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