Honeyed Rhubarb Grilled Salmon


When you grow up in the desert and your dad doesn't fish, it's not highly unlikely to see the absence of fish at the table.  Maybe that's why my older brother never liked fish.  Still to this day he has a hard time with the smell of fish.  But, I think it has more to do with our car than anything else.   


There was one time in particular, which stands out.  It so happens it was a very hot summer day encroaching on the teens in the 100s.  It also happens we had this old Chevrolet car half brown and half avocado green, which dubbly named the 'crap car.'  Oh the joys of being a comical elementary school aged child! 


My dad was given a large, freshly caught fish on a Monday morning from one of his employees.  So naturally, my dad put it in the car upon leaving the shop for the day.  He came home, where we ate dinner, watched some baseball and avoided bedtime as much as possible.  The next day, my mom would trade cars with my dad noticing a peculiar smell lingering through the interior.   

The day after that the smell got worse and it became hard to not want to vomit from stepping foot into the car.  My brother & I would roll down the window with our heads sticking out gagging from the smell.  "What is that smell coming from?," we groaned.  "It smells like DEATH!," Willy cried.

On a mad search, my mom began looking through the car.  Searching, searching, searching, until she landed upon a sunken eye, heat penetrated, dull looking fish under the driver seat side of the car.  It's blood had leached out and cooked into the carpet floor of the car.  My mom enraged, "Bill, what is this fish from?"  

Count it on my dad to be completely oblivious as he had a record of running over his guitar on a few occasions, as he forgot he left in leaning against the trunk.  "Oh, I forgot all about that.  Manuel gave it to me on Monday.  I put it under the seat," he replied nonchalantly.   

It took my mom buckets of soapy water, bleach, and everything else under the kitchen sink, along with fully, ripped from the plastic pine tree car fresheners all around the car to get the smell out.  And still, all that work couldn't remove the residual scent of fish.  Forever forward, we dubbed a new name for the car as "The Fish Mobile," which left a permanent scar on Willy to reinforce why he doesn't eat fish.  


But, maybe if the story was rewritten.  My dad was given a Copper River Salmon and he brought it inside the house where rhubarb & a lemon were in desperation to be used.  Meanwhile, the grill was hot for cooking.  Maybe then, my brother would change his mind about fish.  So, I hope I can reinforce why, if you're not allergic to salmon, eating grilled, quality salmon with honeyed rhubarb will solidify your love for this fish.

Honeyed Rhubarb Grilled Salmon (printable recipe

I so happen to have some rhubarb and lemon about to go over to the dark side if I didn't cook with them soon.  This is a very forgiving recipe, so it's important to stay near the grill while cooking the salmon.  Use your eye as your guide and have some tongs ready to move around the rhubarb to ensure cooking.   


2-3 lbs Salmon, I used Copper River Salmon

Juice of 2 lemons

1-2 Tb coconut oil

1-2 Tb raw honey

1 large shallot, chopped

1/3 cup chopped rhubarb, or 1 rhubarb stalk

freshly ground pepper & salt


Place a large piece of aluminum foil on a sheet pan.  Put the salmon on the foil.  Lightly sprinkle salt & freshly ground pepper on the salmon.  Set aside.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine lemon juice, coconut oil, honey, shallots & rhubarb.  Mix and pour on top of salmon.  

Heat the grill, I use a gas grill, over high heat.   Once you put the salmon on, lower the heat to medium.  Transfer the salmon with the foil directly on the grates.  Keep the lid open and stay nearby to monitor the salmon.  Loosely cover the salmon with the foil like you're creating it's own little oven. Allow it to cook like this for about 3 minutes, then check it. If the rhubarb is directly on the salmon, you will want to transfer it to directly on the foil.   

You will notice the liquids bubbling and salmon beginning to turn a bit opaque.  The end and thinner parts will cook much more quickly than the middle.  If you notice this, then turn the foil, so the flames are hitting the middle part of the salmon more than the ends.  It should take about 10-13 minutes to cook. 

The rhubarb should be easily pierced with a fork.  You can insert a thermometer and it should come out 90-110 for medium rare, or 125 for done.  Remember that the salmon will continue to cook for 1-2 minutes after removing from the grill.  I try to keep an eye on the salmon, in order to not overcook.  Nothing more sad than overcooking a salmon.