Oven BBQ Salmon

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Pinterest image for bbq salmon.
Pinterest image for bbq salmon.
Pinterest image for bbq salmon.

This Oven BBQ Salmon is baked in the oven to flaky, tender perfection with a thick, caramelized BBQ glaze on top with only TWO ingredients – salmon and barbecue sauce (plus a little oil, salt, and pepper). You’re going to love this easy 15 minute recipe, and since you use the broiler it’s even faster than regular baking!

Close up photo of oven BBQ salmon flaked apart with a fork.

You all LOVE my Oven BBQ Chicken recipe– it’s been one of my top posts for years and has over 200 five-star reviews. The trick lies in the basting technique, which I adapted for this oven-broiled BBQ salmon recipe.

But the thing I love about this BBQ salmon as opposed to chicken? It’s healthier, it’s less messy (since chicken grease gets everywhere), and it takes MUCH less time.

You only need about 10 minutes of cooking time and 5 minutes of prep for this BBQ salmon recipe. You’ll need to take it out of the oven to baste with BBQ sauce a couple of times, which results in a thick, sticky sweet, deliciously caramelized layer on top of the salmon.

And just like the BBQ chicken recipe, you only need TWO INGREDIENTS to make this! Just some BBQ sauce and salmon, along with oil, salt, and pepper. And no need to fire up the grill. Let’s get to it!

Ingredients Needed

  • Salmon – You can use a whole filet or cut up portions (I used the latter). The recipe calls for a pound, but you can easily scale up or down (you may need a little more or less time if it’s all in one piece). Wild or farm raised is fine, but wild cooks a bit faster and has a tendency to dry out easier, so just keep an eye on it for cooking time.
  • Barbecue Sauce – I used a homemade BBQ sauce for this, but you can use any store-bought favorite. My go-to is Salt Lick BBQ Sauce, which is an Austin staple. If you use a no-sugar or Whole30 BBQ sauce, be aware that the recipe will work, but the sauce will not caramelize very well (so you won’t get that sheen or as many charred parts).
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, kosher salt, and black pepper – you can also use another cooking oil of your choice.

How to make Oven Baked BBQ Salmon

  1. First, turn on your broiler and move an oven rack right up close to it. Technically, this isn’t baked- it’s broiled, and it will cook quickly with direct heat from above.
  2. Add some olive oil to the center of a rimmed baking sheet and spread it around.
  3. Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper and place on the oiled baking sheet skin-side down.Process collage showing seasoning salmon with salt and pepper on both sides.
  4. Brush the top of the salmon with BBQ sauce. You may need to “dollop” rather than “brush” to get the thickest layer. Broil for 3 minutes.
  5. Baste with BBQ sauce again. Broil for another 3 minutes.
  6. Baste with BBQ sauce one more time. Broil for another 4 minutes, or more, until salmon is fully cooked (it will flake apart easily with a fork).Process collage showing basting salmon filets with BBQ sauce and baking in the oven.

Recommended Equipment

  • Rimmed Baking Sheet – I recommend a Nordic Ware Half Bakers Sheet for almost everything from cookies to roast veggies to this BBQ salmon. It cooks evenly, cools down quickly once it’s removed from the oven, and is relatively easy to cook. And they’re cheap!
  • Basting Brush – I prefer a natural boar bristle basting brush rather than the kind with silicone bristles, because the sauce sticks to it better. But any kind will work.

How to get crispy salmon skin

Because this BBQ salmon is baked skin-side down the whole time in the oven, the skin won’t crisp up much.

If you like crispy salmon skin, I recommend searing it in a flaming hot oven-safe skillet (such as cast iron or stainless steel) for a minute or two. Then, brush the top of the salmon with BBQ sauce and place the skillet right under the broiler and proceed with the recipe as directed.

If you don’t have an oven-safe skillet, just transfer it to a baking sheet after searing.

Can I line the baking sheet with foil?

You can if you like, but I find it harder to remove stuck-on things from foil than the pan. With a pan, you can aggressively scrape it up, but foil has a tendency to tear. If you use foil, the salmon skin may stick, but you should be able to remove the fish itself and leave the skin behind if you don’t want to eat it.

But for what it’s worth, this recipe wasn’t too difficult to clean up from putting the salmon directly on the pan. Just let it soak for a little.

Just don’t use parchment paper, as it’s not broiler safe.

A plate of barbecue salmon with green beans and rice.

Other easy salmon recipes

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Oven BBQ Salmon

Square photo of oven bbq salmon flaked apart.

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Prep Time5 mins

Cook Time10 mins

Total Time15 mins

Course: Fish

Cuisine: American

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 233kcal

Author: Elizabeth Lindemann

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Arrange the top oven rack close to the top of the oven near the broiler and turn on the broiler. Spread the olive oil (1 tablespoon) on the center of a rimmed baking sheet (across enough surface area for the size of the salmon).

  • Place the salmon skin side up on a rimmed baking sheet on top of the oil. and season the skin side with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Flip over so the skin side is down. Season the top with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

  • Brush the top of the salmon with about a third, or 2 tablespoons, of the bbq sauce (don’t bother getting a measuring spoon dirty- just approximate this, and lay it on thick). Broil on the top oven rack for about 10 minutes, brushing the top with more bbq sauce after 3 minutes, and again after 3 more minutes (for a total of two more times). Continue broiling until salmon is fully cooked (you can check it by seeing if it flakes apart easily with a fork or the internal temperature is 145 degrees F).

  • Serve with more bbq sauce if desired.

Notes

  • BBQ sauce with sugar will result in a thick, sticky, caramelized layer. If you use a whole30 or no-sugar sauce, keep in mind the result may be different and not thicken or brown quite as much. I used homemade bbq sauce. For a low carb version, use a low carb or no sugar BBQ sauce.
  • For crispy skin, sear the salmon skin-side down in a very hot oiled skillet for 1-2 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. If you use an oven safe skillet, you can just proceed to broil and keep the salmon right in the same skillet for less clean-up and super crispy skin.
  • For a gluten-free version, be sure to use a gluten free BBQ sauce.
  • To get the thickest layer of BBQ sauce, “dollop” the sauce on rather than “brush,” otherwise you might brush off some of the existing layers of sauce.

Recommended Equipment

Nutrition

Calories: 233kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 876mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 99IU | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 1mg

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