Summer is in full swing and that means grills are being fired across the country. While burgers, hotdogs and steaks tend to be the typical go-to, fish is also a great option for the grill. If you’ve got some freshly caught fish, celebrate success on the grill with one of these popular regional combinations.

Atlantic Seaboard: Striped Bass

Whether sea-run or caught in freshwater, the striper has a clean, almost sweet flavor that pairs nicely with garlic, peppercorns and basil. A seasoning blend like the McCormick® Grill Mates® Roasted Garlic & Herb Seasoning or Grill Mates Tomato, Garlic & Basil Marinade is a great match. Stripers have firm, meaty flesh, so it stands up well to the heat of a medium-hot grill, but be careful not to overcook it.

Great Lakes/Midwest: Walleye

Coming from the cold, clear waters of the North, walleye are among the cleanest of flavored fish, readily accepting nearly any taste pairing. Go easy though, as you don’t want to overpower it. Consider honoring its Northwoods heritage with earthy flavors such as celery salt, cumin, lemon pepper, paprika and onion.

Out West: Trout

The moist char that comes from grilling whole trout all but demands the herbed flavors of parsley, tarragon, thyme and even cilantro. Citrus, both lemon and orange, are also a must to add bright notes, but don’t be afraid to spice things up with some garlic or pepper.

For something different, try new McCormick® Grill Mates® Belgian- Style White Ale Seasoning, which delivers coriander, orange and a little smoky paprika.

South: Catfish

Although catfish swim in waters all across the country, it’s synonymous with the South, so play to its strengths with spicy notes of cayenne and red, white and black peppers. Paprika and onion powder, along with thyme or oregano are also good choices for flavoring catfish. To do it jerk style, try making a grilling salt using Grill Mates Island Woodfire Grill Marinade, coarse salt and lime zest. (Recipe below.)

Tips For Grilling Fish:

1. Cooking with Wooden Grill Planks

Special grilling planks are a fun and easy way to cook fish over hot coals. The wood not only protects the delicate flesh from the fire, it also adds smoky flavor as it smolders. Cedar is a popular choice, but you can also try alder, hickory and maple wood planks. Just be sure to soak them in water for at least an hour before using.

2. Create a Signature Grilling Salt

One great way to add maximum flavor to fresh-caught fish is seasoning with a homemade grilling salt made by adding ingredients such as smoked spices, citrus peel and even bacon to kosher salt. Added before and after grilling, the signature salts bring a unique texture and flavor to fish and other foods. This Island Woodfire Grilling Salt recipe, inspired by the Grilling Salts trend in this year’s Grilling Flavor Forecast report from McCormick, pairs well with catfish, sea bass and many other types of fish and seafood.

Caribbean Plank Catfish


1 package McCormick Grill Mates Island Woodfire Grill Marinade

1 tsp. kosher salt

½ tsp. McCormick Ground Turmeric

Zest of 1 lime

2 catfish fillets

2 tsp oil

2 wood grilling planks



1. Soak the wooden planks in cool water for 1 hour.

2. For the Island Woodfire Grilling Salt, mix the Grill Mates Marinade, kosher salt, turmeric and lime zest together in a small bowl.

3. Brush both sides of the catfish fillets with oil and sprinkle each with two teaspoons of Island Woodfire Grilling Salt. Place the fillets on the wood grilling planks and grill over a medium fire for 8-10 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork. Serve with additional Grilling Salt as table seasoning.