Guest Post: Hungry Games: A Special Occasion for Grilling—Rusty’s Salmon

This weekend, two of my BFFs, K-Hon and Pants, celebrated their five-year anniversary of living in Washington, DC. My long-time friend since junior high school, EDO, joined us. On this special occasion, the four of us ladies got together to make a tasty lunch over at K-Hon’s house (she has a backyard and a lovely dining room). K-Hon also has a grill, which she doesn’t often use, but she offered it up if one of us was willing to wo-man it. So EDO and I stepped up to the plate.

Now, when I have something to celebrate, I break out the big guns: Rusty’s Salmon. This is my dad’s recipe to which I compare all other preparations of salmon. Just so you know, I’m doing a huge service to the world today by sharing it over the Interwebs.

Rusty’s Salmon, a.k.a. the most delicious salmon EVER:

Get a side of Salmon, cut into a fillet (24oz will serve 4 people; go for 2 lbs if you’ve got people with large appetites.) I found 6 oz individual fillets at Whole Foods, so I bought four. You can also just get one large fillet and cut it after grilling.

In a small saucepan, heat the following ingredients over medium heat:

  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes


Once the butter melts, take the saucepan off the heat and let cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse the salmon fillet and place it in a baking dish (I like the Pyrex ones with the covers.) Then pour the sauce over the fillet. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1-2 hours.

If using a gas grill, heat the grill on high and place the salmon flesh side down for 1 minute to sear. Then flip it over, turn the heat to low, close the grill and cook for about 15 minutes.During the 15 minute cooking time, spoon some of the marinade over the salmon once or twice for extra flavor. If using a charcoal grill, do the same thing, just be mindful of how hot your coals are. (This recipe can also be cooked using a grill pan, but it produces a lot of smoke, so it always sets off my smoke alarm when I try to cook it indoors.)


When you take the fillets off the grill, put the spatula between the skin and meat to leave the skin on the grill. Then you can either just scrape the skin off, or use Rusty’s favorite method of turning up the grill on high so the skin burns off. Just don’t forget to turn off the grill!

Voila! The finished salmon is delicious—the perfect combination of sweet, smoky and spicy.

Recommended sides:

  • Simple mixed green salad with cherry tomatoes and vinaigrette of your choice (sesame ginger dressing tastes nice)
  • Grilled or roasted asparagus
  • Steamed broccoli or cauliflower
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Rice pilaf

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