When 22-year-old motocross star Ryan Dungey isn't tearing up the track, or making yet another walk to the podium to claim yet another title in his sport, you'll likely find him in his Tallahassee backyard, cooking with his girlfriend. "We grill every night," he says with a smile. This 4th of July, Dungey will be breaking out his Traeger Smoker. He says the wood-pellet burning grill adds a nice cedar flavor to foods, and is therefore a perfect complement to his specialty: grilled salmon.
"I like to buy wild salmon as obviously the more nutrients you can get, the better," Dungey says. As anyone who has tried to grill fish knows, though, it can be a tricky affair. Go too hot for an instant, and the fish withers and dries out. Overcook it even at low heat, and it can fall apart into mush. Dungey insists his Traeger takes the guess-work out of the equation and delivers consistently great fish. "It's a sweet deal. It really cooks it from the inside out," he says.
Here's his dead-simple recipe for grilled salmon, Dungey-style:
Coat your grill grate with vegetable oil. Preheat your grill to 400 degrees. Lay a thick salmon filet on the grate, skin side down. Don't heavily season the filet. "I'll put just a little chili pepper or cayenne pepper on there too, while it's grilling," he says.
Close lid and let it cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filet is pink throughout. '"I never flip it," he says "I let the skin burn because I don't it eat it – it takes a little longer to cook that way." It's ready to serve, with a squirt of lemon on top.
You can tune in on July 6th to NBC at 1:30 p.m. ET to catch Ryan race at The Red Bull RedBud National, taking place in Buchanan, MI.