Grilled Chipotle-Orange Salmon
Grilled Chipotle-Orange Salmon is sweet and smoky and beautifully spiced. This easy grilled salmon recipe promises to become a grilling season obsession!
I’ve already told you what an awesome job my husband does with a fillet of salmon on the grill. His sweet and smoky grilled salmon is one of the grilling requests he hears most often from me. The salmon’s smoky flavor, gorgeously thin crust of caramelized sugars, and ease of preparation make this a stand-out recipe.
If you haven’t yet tried that salmon recipe, I encourage you to do so. The recipe has even convinced non-fish lovers (our daughters), to add some to their plates. I’m not even kidding.
Another recipe I want you to try is this Grilled Chipotle-Orange Salmon.
First of all, isn’t this grilled salmon gorgeous?! We eat with our eyes first, and this dish is most certainly a looker.
It’s also big on flavor. And for those who don’t particularly enjoy the heat of chipotle pepper, the recipe can easily be altered.
*Here are a few more seafood grilling recipes I’m loving right now: Grilled Shrimp Ceviche and Cheesy Grilled Crab Quesadillas are both very fun recipes. And for a special treat, you just can’t go wrong with Grilled Lobster Tails with Sriracha Butter. For those who aren’t keen on fish and seafood (our daughters!), give this ultra tender and flavorful Beer Can Chicken a try!
grilled salmon recipe inspiration
Years ago, our friend Annmarie shared her favorite lemon salmon recipe with me, one that she bakes in the oven. Blake and I liked the recipe, and then proceeded to play around with it, adapting it for the grill.
We like to use cedar planks when we grill, especially when it comes to fish. (Stuffed mushrooms are also a favorite for grilling on a plank, check out this recipe!) It didn’t take us long to fall in love with the combination of smoky salmon with citrus.
And that was our jumping-off point, our inspiration, to creating this gorgeous meal of grilled salmon with orange.
How to grill salmon
When we grill salmon, we ultimately prefer to let it cook on a cedar plank that we’ve soaked in beer and/or water for a few hours. The plank not only makes itself useful by providing a pan-like flat surface on the grill grates, but it also imparts wonderful smokiness into the fish.
For a thicker piece of salmon, it takes about 25 minutes or so to grill the salmon to perfect doneness. And there’s no need to flip the fish. Just let it cook skin-side down on the plank. Transfer the cooked salmon on the plank to a pan, and serve it right from the plank. It makes for a fun presentation.
I must also mention what the cedar plank does for the orange slices on this salmon. The grill’s heat infuses that wonderful cedar smokiness right into the citrus. It’s like the best kind of dinner candy. When I’m done eating this meal, all you’ll see are thin, charred orange rinds left on my plate.
Smoked citrus is downright addictive, and this grilled chipotle-orange salmon recipe will make a believer out of you!
This orange salmon recipe is simple but powerful
Do you save the very best bites for last?
And in the case of this orange salmon recipe, I’d be saving the crispy outer edges of the salmon for my last bites. The salmon is flavored simply but powerfully, with chipotle, cumin, orange, and brown sugar. And the heat from the grill makes that sugar caramelize and crispify, creating the most magical edges.
You’re going to love this recipe, I just know it!
What to serve with orange salmon
I like to serve fresh veggies or a salad with this grilled orange salmon recipe. Whether it’s a simple salad using my mom’s Sweet Onion Coleslaw Dressing or this Summer Quinoa and Veggies Salad with Honey-Shallot Vinaigrette, you simply cannot go wrong. If you feel like grilling some vegetables, these Grilled Mini Sweet Peppers with Goat Cheese are a family favorite.
If you like this grilled chipotle-orange salmon, you might like:
*Here are a few more grilled fish and seafood recipes I’d like to try: Grilled Pesto Salmon in Foil from Cookin’ Canuck, Prosciutto Wrapped Grilled Shrimp Skewers from foodie crush, and Grilled Shrimp and Sausage Kabobs from Taste and Tell.
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Grilled Chipotle-Orange Salmon
Sweet and smoky and beautifully spiced - and so very pretty - this recipe promises to become a grilling season obsession!
- 1.5 lb. salmon fillet, skin on
- zest and juice from 1 large orange (navel, Cara Cara, whatever you like)
- 1/2 T. olive oil
- 1 T. brown sugar
- 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
- 1/2 tsp. cumin
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 4 to 6 thin slices from another large orange
- wood grill plank
- 1 can beer
- 2 cans water (just use the emptied beer can to measure)
- spray bottle filled with water, for any flare-ups
- At least 4 hours prior to grilling, place a cedar plank inside a large rimmed pan. Pour in the beer, plus two beer cans of water to cover the plank. Add more water if needed. Place a couple heavy mugs on top of the plank to push the plank into the liquid. Let soak until ready to grill. If you don't want to use beer, just use all water. When possible, soak plank overnight.
- When preparing to grill, take salmon out of the refrigerator. In a small bowl, whisk together orange zest and juice, olive oil, brown sugar, chipotle powder, and cumin. Set aside.
- Drain liquid from pan with cedar plank, leaving the plank inside. Add salmon fillet, skin side down, to plank. Rub chipotle-orange mixture all over the top and sides of the salmon. Sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with fresh orange slices.
- Heat grill to medium-high, about 415° F. Place plank with salmon on grill grates and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes for a thicker piece of salmon. Salmon thickness will vary, so thinner fillets will take less time to cook. The salmon is done when the thickest part of the fillet is beautifully pink but no longer has a translucent appearance. It should flake a bit when prodded with a fork. Have a spray bottle of water handy for any flare-ups on the wood plank. The wood will smoke and smolder, and slowly start to char and burn, becoming more fragile and brittle at the end of the cooking process. Your goal is to keep the wood smoking, and not burning up. Just use the spray bottle to keep adding moisture to the exposed wood (don't directly spray the salmon). To remove the grill plank, use a large grill turner to get under the plank to lift it onto a rimmed pan. Serve the salmon right from the plank inside the pan for a fun and fuss-free presentation.
from a farmgirl's dabbles
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 341Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 201mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 1gSugar: 9gProtein: 26g
(This post was originally published in 2015, and remains one of my favorite grilling recipes. Photos and some of the text were updated in 2018.)
By the way, when I say “the salmon cooked beautifully,” mind you, it still didn’t carmelize and the oranges didn’t blacken or carmelize. However, the salmon was cooked through.
I made this camping last weekend over a wood fire. It didn’t turn out well. We soaked the plank over night with the beer and water. We had excellent salmon, all organic ingredients, high quality spices and followed the directions. Mine didn’t look anything like this. The salmon cooked beautifully, but the flavors just didn’t pop at all. Also, the “chipotle orange mixture” was very watery. I want to try it again for a special bachelorette weekend in a couple of weeks. Should I reduce the chipotle orange mixture down so it’s more like a glaze?
Hi Kate – I just had a conversation with my husband about this, as he usually does the grilling for this salmon. He suggested to soak the plank for less time, so it’s a bit drier and will smoke more on the grill. Also, were you cooking it at a high enough temp? Cooking over a wood fire would more than likely bring out some altered instructions from us – we have always used a gas grill for this recipe. As far as the chipotle orange mixture being watery, I would say to use less of the orange juice. I’d never describe it as “watery” when we make it, and I always think there’s a very nice amount of flavor. You could always add a bit more chipotle and cumin if you want those flavors more pronounced. Good luck!!