Grilling Salmon on Cedar Plank
When you grill salmon on cedar plank it becomes subtly smoky with a delicious hit of citrus. Serve with a simple side dish for a light and summery dinner!
Soak your cedar plank in water for 2 hours prior to cooking. You can also soak in a mixture of water and wine for an extra infused flavor!
Grilling salmon on a cedar plank is one of the easiest ways to infuse it with a delicate smoky flavor. The warm cedar plank gently steams the salmon, resulting in a tender center with a grilled texture on the outside.
You can buy cedar planks specifically made for grilling, but you can also use a baking sheet or large piece of wood cut into a plank shape. The key is to soak the plank for an hour before grilling to help prevent it from catching fire on the grill.
While the plank is soaking, make the salmon marinade by combining olive oil, lemon zest, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper in a shallow dish big enough to hold the fish. Season the salmon generously on both sides and place it skin-side down on the soaked plank. Grill over medium heat with the lid closed until the salmon flakes easily and is lightly browned, about 15 minutes per pound.
If you have an oven but no grill, cooking your salmon on cedar planks in the oven is a great alternative. Make sure your planks are completely soaked, just as you would for the grill. Soaking prevents the plank from catching fire on contact with an open flame, as well as infusing it with more wood flavor.
You can also soak your cedar planks in other liquids, such as bourbon for a smoky flavor or apple cider vinegar for a tangy kick. Just be sure to rinse them after soaking and pat dry before using.
Place the salmon skin side down on a soaked cedar plank and brush with the honey mixture. Cook the salmon until it flakes easily with a fork and the skin is crispy. Serve this grilled salmon with rice, roasted vegetables, or a salad. Leftovers can be reheated gently on a baking sheet in the oven or microwave. Enjoy!
While it may seem counterintuitive to put a piece of wood on your grill, plank grilling offers a host of benefits. Not only does it add flavor and a wow factor to your meal, but it also prevents salmon from sticking to the grates or overcooking in direct heat.
You can purchase cedar planks at cooking stores or from your local hardware store. But if you’re shopping at the latter, make sure to purchase untreated wood so you don’t inhale toxic chemicals used to treat the wood.
Soak the plank in water before grilling. While the plank soaks, prep the salmon. Season the fish with salt, black pepper and mustard. Once the plank is soaked, grill the salmon on the hot grate away from the flame until the fish is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 135 degrees F. The warm plank will gently steam the salmon and infuse it with cedar flavor.
Best Cedar Planks
If you love salmon, or a light smoky flavor, grilling it on a cedar plank is one of the best ways to get that smoky flavor without overpowering the fish. It’s also very easy to do.
Just soak your planks in water before you start grilling. Soaking your planks prevents them from burning on the grill grate and helps the food cook faster.
Toss your salmon with a simple salt and pepper, lemon zest, or even a smoky BBQ rub or glaze. Whatever you use, the cedar will amplify the flavors of your seasonings.
You can buy pre-soaked cedar planks that are ready to grill, but it’s a lot cheaper to buy them raw and soak them yourself. Just make sure you are using kiln-dried planks, and not recycled ones. The recycled ones tend to absorb bacteria, spices and other foods that you are cooking on them. Also, you want to ensure the planks are the same size as your salmon.
Grilling Salmon on Cedar Plank Step By Step
Grilling salmon on a cedar plank is a fantastic way to infuse the fish with a smoky, woodsy flavor while keeping it moist and tender. The cedar plank also adds a lovely aroma to the dish. Here’s how to grill salmon on a cedar plank:
- 1 cedar plank (food-grade, untreated, and soaked in water for at least 1 hour)
- Salmon fillets or a whole salmon side
- Olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Lemon slices (optional, for garnish)
- Fresh herbs, such as dill or thyme (optional, for garnish)
- Additional seasonings or marinades of your choice (optional)
- Soak the Cedar Plank:
- Place the cedar plank in a large container or a clean sink and cover it with water. Allow it to soak for at least 1 hour, ensuring it’s fully submerged. This step helps prevent the wood from catching fire on the grill.
- Preheat the Grill:
- Preheat your grill to medium-high heat (around 350-400°F or 175-200°C).
- Prepare the Salmon:
- While the cedar plank is soaking and the grill is preheating, prepare the salmon. Rinse and pat the salmon fillets dry with paper towels. Season the salmon with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and freshly ground black pepper. You can also add additional seasonings or marinades if you like.
- Place the Cedar Plank on the Grill:
- Remove the cedar plank from the water and pat it dry. Place it on the grill for a few minutes to preheat and allow the wood to start releasing its aroma.
- Arrange the Salmon on the Plank:
- Once the cedar plank is preheated, place the seasoned salmon fillets or the whole salmon side directly on the plank, skin side down.
- Grill the Salmon:
- Cover the grill and cook the salmon on the cedar plank for approximately 12-20 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets and your desired level of doneness. The internal temperature of the salmon should reach 145°F (63°C) for safe consumption.
- You can baste the salmon with a bit of olive oil or your choice of marinade during grilling for added flavor.
- Garnish and Serve:
- Carefully remove the cedar plank with the salmon from the grill. It’s best to use oven mitts or tongs to handle it, as the plank will be hot.
- Garnish the grilled salmon with lemon slices and fresh herbs if desired.
Grilling salmon on a cedar plank is not only delicious but also adds a wonderful presentation to your meal. The cedar aroma and smoky flavor enhance the taste of the salmon, creating a memorable dining experience. Enjoy your cedar plank grilled salmon with your favorite sides for a complete and satisfying meal.