Now Reading
Grilled Salmon Easier than Swimming Upstream

Grilled Salmon Easier than Swimming Upstream

  • "Grilled Salmon Easier than Swimming Upstream" originally appeared in the June 2024 "Animal" issue of COMO Magazine
Grilled Southwest Salmon with Avocado Relish

The great migration has started! No, not the exodus of college students from our lovely town, although that is great cause to celebrate. Nor is it the return of the hummingbirds and other wonderful summer inhabitants of mid-Missouri, which make our gardens and backyards more interesting throughout the warm weather months. The reason we Epicureans are excited is because of the return of the regal inhabitants of North Pacific estuaries — the salmon.

Why, you may ask, is this occurrence so momentous? One reason is simply the amazing life cycle of the salmon. Most salmon in the world are anadromous, which means that they begin their lives in freshwater rivers, venture out to saltwater oceans, live there for years until they get the urge to reproduce, then return to fresh water — almost 90 percent of them to the same river they came from — to reproduce and die! I hope it’s good for them!

The other reason, and for those of us in the culinary world the most important reason, is that the Alaskan fisheries are about to open. This means that we are about to see the wild Alaskan salmon — Kings, Cohos, and Sockeyes. For those of you who like salmon and have never had any of the preceding, the difference between wild and farm raised is like the difference between round steak and T-Bone. The wild salmon have stored up plenty of the good Omega-3 that we all need, and their natural diet, combined with the frigid waters they live in, contribute to a much richer, more intense flavor.  

The first salmon of the season are just coming in but are outrageously expensive. As supply increases, and the initial exclusivity decreases, prices will moderate somewhat. Premium catches to look for, which will be available in limited quantities, are those from the Copper River, American River, and Yukon River. Although these exceptional catches command a pretty penny, you should splurge at least once, just to see what you’ve been missing. Look for these at your favorite specialty food market!  

Salmon can be grilled, broiled, baked, sautéed, and even fried. Try it smoked or cured as gravlax (with an ice cold shot of aquavit!). Or mix some leftovers up with some onions, breadcrumbs, and spices for croquettes — the possibilities are numerous. Here’s a good one to try on a nice spring or summer day. 

Grilled Southwest Salmon with Avocado Relish 


  • 4 – 8 oz. wild salmon fillets, skin on  
  • 1/2  c. soy sauce  
  • 1/8 c. fresh lime juice  
  • 2 tbsp. Hoss’s
    Southwest spice  
  • 1-2 ripe Haas avocados, cubed  
  • 2 tbsp. roughly chopped cilantro leaves  
  • 1 clove garlic, minced  
  • 1/4 c. seeded and
    chopped fresh tomatoes  
  • 1/2 lime, juiced  
  • Jalapeño, to taste  
  • Salt and pepper  


  • Combine marinade ingredients and marinate the salmon fillets in this mixture for 1-2 hours. 
  • Mix ingredients together.  
  • Once marinated, grill the salmon over a charcoal fire until medium, about 150 degrees. 
  • Spoon the relish on the salmon. Enjoy. 

Jim "Hoss" Koetting

Jim “Hoss” Koetting is a retired restaurateur/chef who enjoys gardening, good food, good bourbon, and good friends.

What's Your Reaction?
Not Sure

404 Portland St, Ste C | Columbia, MO 65201 | 573-499-1830
© 2023 COMO Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
Website Design by Columbia Marketing Group

Scroll To Top