Let’s make BBQ Salmon on the grill using the same technique as my super popular BBQ chicken! Grilling salmon and basting it with BBQ sauce is super delicious, quick and pretty much effortless. It’s ready in about 20 minutes, so it’s perfect for a quick weeknight dinner or a Sunday supper.

Now let’s fire up the grill and jump on down to the recipe for how to make BBQ grilled salmon. Just be sure to make extra, as it’s delicious served cold for lunch the next day with a salad and some BBQ vinaigrette.

seasoned salmon filets on cutting board for grill

Prepping Your Salmon for Maximum Flavor

Marinating the salmon before it hits the grill is optional. Using just a little of your favorite dry spice rub will add some extra flavor and help form a flavorful crust on the fish. Marinating in BBQ sauce will add a little flavor, but it will also burn pretty easily, so I will usually skip marinating with a sugary BBQ sauce unless I am cooking the salmon in the oven.

You can season it with some kosher salt a few hours before cooking, which will act as a dry brine, seasoning the salmon all the way through and enhancing the natural flavors. Just keep it uncovered in the refrigerator to allow the salt to be re-absorbed and the flesh to dry naturally.

What You’ll Need

basting bbq grilled salmon

Tips for Success

  • A little oil is required – Brushing some oil on the fish before grilling helps keep it from sticking to the grill.
  • Grill with the skin side down, and there’s no need to turn it if you cook with the lid closed.
  • Watch out for the burn – BBQ sauce has sugar and can burn on the grill. This isn’t an issue if you grill with the skin side down and don’t flip the salmon.
  • Wild salmon cooks more quickly than farmed salmon because of its lower fat content.
  • Salmon is best cooked to an internal temp of 125° to 130° F (140° F for well done).
  • Want it a little smoky? You can add some wood chips (I recommend Alder wood) to your grill’s fire.
  • You can bake the BBQ salmon in the oven if you don’t have access to a grill.
bbq grilled salmon on fork

Perfect Sides for Salmon

bbq grilled salmon on fork

Glazed BBQ Salmon

With just 4 ingredients, and less than 20 minutes cook time, the quickest, easiest way to infuse salmon with irresistible smoky-sweet BBQ flavor makes a flavor explosion.
5 from 3 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 303kcal


  • 4 salmon filets (preferably wild with the skin on)
  • 1 Tbsp neutral cooking oil (such as canola oil)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce (plus more for serving)
  • Chopped fresh herbs such as chives, cilantro or parsley (optional)


  • Preheat grill to medium-high (400° F / 204° C).
  • Brush the salmon filets with a little oil and season liberally with Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper.
  • Place the salmon skin-side down over the direct heat of the grill. Close the lid and cook for about 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Brush on a layer of BBQ sauce on the flesh side of the salmon and grill with the lid closed, brushing the flesh side with more BBQ sauce every few minutes until the internal temperature of the salmon reaches 125° to 130° F (140° F for well done), about 10 to 15 minutes total depending on the size of the filet.
    Verify temperatures with an instant-read thermometer.
  • When the desired doneness is reached, use a spatula to carefully remove the fish from the grill. Sprinkle on some fresh herbs for garnish if desired and serve immediately.


  • Lightly oil the grill grates with a high smoke point oil to prevent sticking.
  • Wild salmon cooks more quickly than farm-raised salmon and the thickness of the filet can change the cook time. 
  • Use a probe thermometer to check doneness.
  • Grill the entire time on the skin side; there is no need to flip.


Calories: 303kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 34g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 874mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 108IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 26mg | Iron: 1mg
5 from 3 votes (1 rating without comment)

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  1. 5 stars
    Followed your recipe with some fresh King Salmon. Baked it in oven. It was awesomely delicious!

  2. 5 stars
    Made it. Wow! This was super easy and love the flavors together. I have never tried BBQ sauce on salmon, and it’s such a nice change and got the salmon skin nice and crispy too for a nice crunch contrast.