Grilled Mussels With Chili and Garlic (In 5 Easy Steps)

Serving a large bowl of mussels with a side of crusty bread is a real show-stopper.

It’s one of my favorite seafood recipes alongside cold smoked salmon

But want to know the best thing?

Mussels are cheap, easy to cook, and damn tasty! In this post. I’m going to clear up some of the most common questions about mussels. 

You’ll also learn my delicious recipe for grilled mussels, using nothing but your traditional grill! 

Hungry Now? Jump straight to my grilled mussels recipe.

Grilled Mussels Recipe
How to grill mussels on the BBQ

Are You Wondering How Many Mussels Per Person You Need?

If you’re planning 1 or 2 other appetizers before dinner, you need about 1/4 pound of mussels per person, that’s 4-6 medium mussels.

If you are only having mussels as the appetizer aim for around 12 mussels per guest with two thick slices of crusty bread. 

How to Choose and Clean Mussels

  1. Choose only tightly closed, full shells; remove any broken, chipped, damaged, or open shells.
  2. Soak for 20 minutes in fresh water. The sand and salt will fall away as the mussels breathe.
  3. Some of the mussels may have byssal threads, or “beards,” that show up after being soaked. Pull the beards towards the hinge (not towards the opening) and pull out any hanging threads.

How Long Does it Take to Grill Mussels?

Cooking will take 5 to 10 minutes on a medium-high temperature grill.

I highly recommend closing the lid on your grill or finding a cover to cover the mussels. This will help steam the mussels and cook them faster. 

How to Set Your Grill to Medium-High

You should be able to hold your hand about an inch over the cooking rack for 2 to 3 seconds before pulling it away from the heat.

Or if you are using a gas or electric grill set the knobs to halfway. 

How Can You Tell When Mussels are Done?

Always wait until the mussel opens. This should take anywhere between 5 and 10 minutes.

Discard the ones that do not open. 

Some people like their mussels just barely cooked, they’re still soft and tender.

Whereas others prefer grilled mussels until they’re almost smoked, with the flesh slightly tougher and almost crunchy on the edges. If you want to get my smoked mussels recipe you can get it here.

Different people enjoy different doneness and cooking times, however, you must cook them at least until their shells open. 

How to Make Grilled Mussels on the Grill

grilled mussels in a bowl
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5 from 1 vote

Grilled Mussels Recipe

A simply yet delicious grilled mussels recipe using a traditional gas or charcoal grill. This grilled muscle recipe is a simple recipe that you can easily elevate to suit your own pallet and style. This recipe calls for around 12 mussels for each guest as a starter. For a main course I would advice 20 – 25 mussels per guest.
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Appetizer, main
Cuisine: Barbecue, seafood
Servings: 4 appertizers
Calories: 125kcal
Author: Charlie
Cost: 10


  • Gas or charcoal bbq
  • Large pot or sink with a plug


  • 48 Fresh mussels
  • Parsley
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • Fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 whole Birdseye chili
  • 3 cloves garlic


  • Choose only tightly closed, full shells in good condition. Remove any broken, chipped, damaged, or open shells before cooking.
    mussels in a pot
  • Preheat your gas or coal barbecue to medium-high heat.
    mussels in a pot
  • While your grill preheats, soak the mussels for 20 minutes in fresh water. The sand grit and salt will fall away as the mussels breathe and filter the freshwater. Some of the mussels may have byssal threads, or "beards," that show up after being soaked. Pull the beards towards the hinge and pull out any hanging threads.
    mussels in a pot
  • Put the cleaned mussels on the hot grill and cover. Try not to open the cover for at least 5 minutes. At 5 minutes open to check how they are cooking. Remove any mussels with tongs that have opened.
    mussels on the bbq
  • Continue this process for the next 5 or so minutes or until all mussels have opened. After 10 minutes discard any mussels that have not opened.
    grilled mussels on bbq
  • Garnish with fresh lemon wedges, parsley, cilantro, garlic, fresh-cut chili, sea salt, and freshly cracked black pepper. Serve with a side of grilled crusty fresh bread. Serve and enjoy
    Grilled Mussels Recipe

What is a Black Mussel?

A Black mussel is a common name for several mussels.

However, most commonly people are usually referring to Choromytilus meridionalis, a species of mussel only found along the southern African coast. Most common from central Namibia to Port Elizabeth.

What are The Hairs on the Mussels? 

If you use wild mussels, these may have hairy growths, commonly called ‘beards’ that need to be removed. 

The beards are harmless but have a strange taste and texture. To remove the beard simply hold the mussel and pull the beard towards the hinge of the mussel

Where is The Best Place to Buy Mussels?

You can buy mussels frozen, fresh, or marinated. I highly recommend fresh or marinated. 

Most fishmongers and good supermarkets will have fresh mussels. 

When buying mussels the fresher the better. 

Smoke On!


Author: Charlie Reeves
Hi, I’m Charlie, I am head taste tester at Simply Meat Smoking! I love it grilling, smoking, and getting out in the yard with the kids! The family also love to test all my recipes (especially my EXTRA CRISPY pulled pork, smoky pork loin, and ANY SEAFOOD I grill)

You will usually find me playing with the kids, perfecting my brisket bark, or sipping beers with boys around the fire. Can’t wait to share all my delicious smoking and grilling adventures with you!

You can read more on our About Us page.

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