How to Grill Trout Wrapped in Foil

Planning to cook trout in aluminum foil? It's a no-fuss way to prepare this healthy fish, especially if you grill trout in foil for less mess. The shiny "envelope" prevents trout from drying out or flaking off through the grate, and the steamy packet helps any added seasonings to permeate the fish.

Grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook fish
Credit: smirart/iStock/GettyImages

Cooking Trout in Aluminum Foil

Grilling is one of the healthiest ways to cook fish, according to the Mayo Clinic, because you don't need to add large amounts of fats, as you would when deep-frying. Cooking trout in aluminum foil further cuts down on the need for extra fat or creamy sauces, thanks to this method's ability to trap moisture within the packet.

Cook trout whole or as fillets. If you're cooking the trout whole, keep the skin on to keep the flesh intact until it's been firmed through cooking.

Here's the basic method to grill trout in foil:

  1. Clean the grill, if needed, so that the aluminum foil won't stick to the grates.
  2. Preheat your grill. Set your grill to high on a gas grill, or add enough charcoal to create a higher temperature, then light it.
  3. Tear off a large piece of aluminum foil. Figure on using one that is about two times the size of the trout you'll be grilling, whether one large trout or a few fillets. If your aluminum foil isn't heavy-duty, use two layers.
  4. Set the trout in the center of the aluminum foil. If you have several individual fillets, make sure they're a couple of inches apart.
  5. Add butter or olive oil to the top of the trout pieces. Season it to taste with salt and pepper, as well as optional toppings like lemon juice, hot sauce, sesame seeds and herbs.
  6. Fold the sides up and over the trout, and seal the edges on top.
  7. Add the foil packet to your preheated grill. When you're cooking a whole trout on the BBQ in foil, the Virginia Seafood program suggests cooking it over indirect heat. Otherwise, you can place the foil packet directly over the charcoal pile or gas burner.
  8. Grill trout in foil for up to 20 minutes, or 10 minutes per inch of the trout's thickness.
  9. Remove the foil packet and check to see if the trout's flesh has turned white. If you have skin-on trout, as when cooking whole trout on the BBQ in foil, now is the time to peel away the skin and remove the bones.

Read more: How to Cook Fish Without Oil

Getting Creative With Foil Trout

A bit of salt and pepper, along with a drizzle of butter and oil, may be all that you require on your grilled trout. However, using the foil method allows you to layer other ingredients in with the trout, imparting both flavor and additional nutrients.

Consider adding about 1/2 cup white wine, along with fresh lemon juice and basil sprigs, for a fresh and clean taste. If you want to bring out trout's earthier side, a bit of beer or ale and some thyme sprigs play off hearty sides like our Roasted Potato Salad With Kale and Grainy Mustard. On the other hand, red wine and thyme pair well with a side dish such as wild rice with mushrooms or our recipe for Colorful Rice Pilaf.

Of course, some sides can be included directly, with the trout, in the foil packet. Cooking fish on a bed of spinach leaves is a classic "hobo packet" treat. On top of the trout, or between the fillets, you can add mushrooms, julienned carrots, bell pepper strips or rounds of summer squash.

No “Trout Pout” Needed

Eating trout won't torpedo your health plans. A 5-ounce serving has 215 calories and provides about 33 grams of protein, according to the USDA. Trout is also a rich source of vitamin B12, providing almost three times the recommended minimum daily dose of this nutrient. In addition, trout is high in calcium, potassium, magnesium and zinc.

Read more: Which Is Healthier: Baking, Grilling or Frying?

While it contains about one-third of the dietary cholesterol, and 12 percent of the saturated fat, that you should have for the day, trout is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, or "good" fats. The American Heart Association notes that lake trout is particularly a good source of omega-3s, and is also a good choice when you're trying to avoid the higher mercury count in some fish species.

If you opt for a more modest serving size of 3 to 3.5 ounces, your portion will contain 128 calories and about 1.5 grams of saturated fat, according to the USDA. This serving size also provides 20 grams of protein, or about 40 percent of the recommended daily intake of protein.

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