Have you ever used a wooden board to grill? These so called “planks” are wooden board that are soaked in water and set over direct heat on a grill and used as a means of cooking food. It’s known as plank grilling or planking.
Planking is a fun way to grill! The planks get a slight char to them that creates just a hint of smokey flavor that enhances the food. I typically buy the cedar plank because I like the taste the plank gives off, and also enjoy the smell. Cedar planks are the most common, but you can also buy cherry, hickory, maple, and more.
You can grill fish, protein, or vegetables on planks. Fish tends to be the most common and is a great form of grilling fish because it doesn’t stick to the grates. Salmon is my favorite fish to cook on a cedar plank. If you are cooking multiple meats, or meat and vegetables, make sure to use separate planks for each to avoid contamination.
You can play around with flavor combinations as well. Try maple plank with some bacon or a hickory plank with pork chops, etc. I bet you’ll be surprised what flavors pair well together and enjoy trying new things in the process!
As I mentioned previously, salmon is my favorite fish to cook on a plank and I think it pairs really well with cedar. The recipe I want to share with you today is for Cedar Plank Lemon Pepper Salmon.
The recipe can be found here.
Soak the cedar plank according to package instructions. I typically let mine soak for at least 6 hours for good measure but that’s mostly because I soak it in the morning before I forget to do it, so it sits all day 🙂 One technique is to fill a baking sheet with water, set the plank in the water and place the drinking glass on top. The plank will float in the water, so the glass helps hold it down, so the water covers the entire plank.
Preheat the grill to 350 degrees F. I like to heat the grill using all of the burners but then I turn the middle burner(s) off and use the outside burners to cook the salmon. Every grill is different, but this helps maintain the correct temperature on my grill.
Prepare the salmon by removing the skin. I always ask the employee at the seafood counter to do this when I purchase fish but sometimes, I forget and always make sure to do so before cooking.
Place the salmon on a baking sheet or plate – something that fits the entire piece of salmon and can be easily transported and transferred to the grill. Sprinkle the lemon pepper seasoning over the top of the salmon. Then, place lemon slices across the top of the salmon.
Place the plank on the grill and let it heat for about 3 minutes. Then, flip it over and let it heat for another 3 minutes. I recommend keeping a spray bottle with water next to the grill or a glass of water just in case. If the plank doesn’t soak long enough or the grill is too hot, the plank may catch on fire on the side. A little spritz of water will rectify this so no need to worry!
Place the salmon on the cedar plank and grill for about 18-20 minutes or until cooked through. You want the internal temperature to be 145 degrees F and the fish should easily flake apart with a fork.
Remove the salmon from the grill to serve. I recommend turning off the heat and removing the salmon and plank as one piece. You can set the plank on hot pads and use it as a serving board or transfer the salmon to a serving platter if you want to re-use the plank.
I like to serve the salmon warm with additional lemon wedges to squeeze over the top. This is completely optional!
The salmon pairs well with rice, grilled veggies, corn on the cob, salad, you name it! It’s a light and delicious summer dish!
The recipe can be found here.
If your plank doesn’t have a lot of char, you can easily reuse it another time. If there is a lot of char, you can try to scrape it off and reuse the plank but if you aren’t able to restore a decent portion of the plank, I would throw it away and start fresh next time.