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Grilled Salmon with Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Grilled Salmon with Mustard Barbecue Sauce

The beautiful fall day I’ve been waiting for is here. Clear, blue sky; a carpet of colorful leaves on the lawn; a hint of winter in the air – just cold enough to need a jacket. It’s time for fall grilling. After writing this, of course, it goes live on the first day of a mid-November Polar Vortex. Snow in the forecast. Sigh. I’m crossing my fingers for Thanksgiving…

Salmon with barbecue sauce is a trick I learned from Michael Symon. It doesn’t seem like it should work; barbecue sauce goes with pork, not salmon, right? Turns out, it’s a fantastic pairing; the sweet, vinegar flavor of the sauce balances fatty salmon, just like it does pork shoulder.

I prefer South Carolina style mustard barbecue sauce with salmon. The the extra layer of mustard flavor is perfect with fish.

I know, I know, this sounds really strange. Mustard barbecue sauce? With fish? Trust me, it works.
Don’t want to trust me? Trust chef Symon. He’s a professional. Do try this at home.

Recipe: Grilled Salmon with Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Inspired by: Michael Symon’s Coffee Barbecue Salmon, Lolita’s restaurant

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Grilled Salmon with Mustard Barbecue Sauce

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 pieces of salmon 1x


Grilled Salmon with Mustard Barbecue Sauce. Salmon with South Carolina style, mustard based BBQ Sauce.


  • 4 (2-inch wide) salmon fillets (About 2 pounds of salmon)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Mustard BBQ Sauce

  • ½ cup yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1½ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons hot sauce (I use Frank’s Red Hot)


  1. Prepare the grill for two zone medium-high heat: Prepare your grill for cooking with one side on medium-high heat, and the other with no heat, then clean the grate thoroughly with a grill brush and a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. For my Weber kettle, I light a chimney starter ¾ full of charcoal and wait for it to be covered with ash. I pour the coals in a thick, even layer over half of the charcoal grate. This gives me half the grill on direct heat, and half off the heat. Then I brush the grate clean with my grill brush, and wipe it with a folded paper towel dipped in vegetable oil. (Held with tongs, of course – please don’t bare-hand a paper towel soaked with oil over flaming coals.)
  2. Make the mustard BBQ sauce and season the salmon: While the grill is preheating, whisk the mustard BBQ sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. Sprinkle the flesh side of the salmon evenly with the salt and pepper.
  3. Cook the salmon: Put the salmon on the grill, flesh side down, over the direct heat side of the grill (that is, over the coals). Cook uncovered for 4 to 6 minutes, until the salmon is well browned. Gently flip the salmon, skin side down, to the indirect heat side of the grill. Brush the salmon with a layer of barbecue sauce, cover the grill, and cook, covered, until the salmon reaches 140°F in its thickest part, about 10 more minutes. (It will still have a hint of pink in the middle if you peek with a paring knife). Brush the salmon with another layer of barbecue sauce and transfer to a serving platter. Let the salmon rest for five minutes, then serve and enjoy!


I recommend the 5 quart Weber Chimney Starter, because it is larger than most chimney starters, and exactly the right size for this recipe.

I prefer the flavor of mustard barbecue sauce on salmon, but any barbecue sauce will work. In particular, my Espresso Chipotle Barbecue Sauce is a good match – the coffee, heat, and sweet flavor goes well with salmon.

Depending on the end of the salmon you buy, you can get ultra-thick or ultra-thin slices. I prefer center cut fillets – about 2 inches thick at their thickest part.


Grill (I use my trusty Weber kettle )

  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Grilling
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Grilled Salmon with Mustard Barbecue Sauce

Searing the salmon, flesh side down

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

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Filed under: Grilling


Hi! I’m Mike Vrobel. I’m a dad and an enthusiastic home cook; an indie cookbook author and food blogger with a day job, a patient spouse, and three kids who would rather have hamburgers for dinner.


  1. Grill Goddess says

    This looks delicious – and I don’t even like salmon. It may be because I suffer from FOSS (Fear Of Salmon Sticking). Any tips to get over this debilitating condition?

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