Plank Grilling Article -
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Plank Grilling

Grill on fragrant wood planks for subtle, smoky flavors.

Try plank grilling with fish, meats, and vegetables. There's nothing to it!

King of the Plank

Salmon is the original partner for the plank. It's a pairing that dates back to the native people of the Pacific Northwest, who grilled salmon over open fires on planks of cedar and alder. Salmon's still the champion. Here are some top-rated planked salmon recipes.

How to Plank Grill

In choosing a plank, pick only untreated cedar, alder, hickory, or maple. Here are a few other tips to ensure plank-grilling success:

  • Prepare the plank by soaking it at least one hour in a bucket or cooler filled with water. This adds moisture to the wood and prevents it from burning on the grill.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of salt or 1 cup of white wine, apple juice, citrus, or berry juice to the soaking water to accent wood aromas.
  • If a plank is being used for the first time, season it by placing it on a preheated grill for 2 minutes, turning once. Lightly toasting the plank on both sides will intensify its smoky flavor and prevent warping. When the plank starts crackling, it's ready for cooking.
  • Place marinated or ready-to-cook foods directly on the plank. Keep the grill's lid closed as much as possible to maintain temperatures and maximize smoking. Note: planked food does not have to be turned during grilling.
  • Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy so flames can be extinguished if the plank starts to burn.

After Grilling

  • Remove the plank from the grill and place into a container of water.
  • Rinse a used plank with soap and water and let it dry. Re-soaking for another use is optional. Store plank in a dry, clean place.
  • Reuse grilling planks about two or three times. If there's wood left, you can use the plank.
  • Crumble up charred planks over coals to use as smoking chips.

More Top Plank Recipes:

Jul. 13, 2009 11:46 am
I really need to try this method. Thanks for sharing! Another great resource is Weber's new video series “Weber Grill Master”. Grilling experts Jamie Purviance and Steven Raichlen compare notes on grilling techniques, what inspired these classically trained chefs to pursue the art of cooking with live fire, and find out what led to their biggest grilling mistakes.
Jul. 25, 2009 7:58 am
I have wanted to try plank grilling, but was not sure how to do it. Thank You, now I know how to start. Does any one have any other receipes for different foods to plank grill.
Jul. 30, 2009 7:03 am
We're not big fish eaters so I've been looking for other recipes too. We've had good luck with pork loins and chicken (whole or halves) that you'd normally cook over indirect heat. Marinate or season as you normally would. Usually I cut off center burner, but with a plank leave it on low and adjust so temp of closed grill is about 325. Look forward to others' ideas and recipes.
Aug. 5, 2009 4:25 pm
I am more of a swordfish person rather than salmon and was wondering if I can use a plank for grilling this kind of fish in this manner
Feb. 17, 2010 10:31 am
Nothing i´ve read says how thick the planks should be. Does it make a diference? Are the different woods all the same thickness? I´m living in Spain and don´t know if all these different woods are available or there qualities.
Mar. 2, 2010 8:25 am
alberto, I have a cedar plank here and it is about 1/2 inck thick. A touch thicker than a cedar shingle, which would also work well as long as it it well-soaked. I don't know what type of woods you have there but any hardwood that has a pleasant sweet fragrance when cut should work. I've used apple wood for smoking, I think I'll try it for planking!
May 4, 2010 7:08 pm
Any kind of fruitwood works well. As far as food for Planking. Poultry,Fish,pork,beef and vegetables
May 7, 2010 10:00 am
Been dying to try this. Great article. Off to the grill!!!
Jun. 23, 2010 10:26 am
Can you do this on a gas grill or is strictly for charcoal grilling?
Jun. 23, 2010 11:50 am
yes, you can do this on a gas grill!
Jun. 24, 2010 2:30 pm
An untreated 1x6 cedar fence board cut to length is an inexpensive plank.
Joe C 
Jul. 23, 2010 9:01 am
I am about to start cedar plank grilling and I find this article most comprehensive where as all the others I have read or viewed had left some steps out.
Jul. 23, 2010 5:25 pm
I always read to grill at medium heat. I grill with a big green egg charcoal grill so I assume that medium heat is 300-325. Is this accurate?
luv to cook 
Jul. 25, 2010 11:33 am
Hubby and I just made cod on a cedar plank.Very good, we seasoned it with dill and lemon zest.
Aug. 3, 2010 2:17 pm
OK, the indians invented this... then why we have to close the grill ? Did the indians have Weber grils ? In my opinion, a closed grill, is not a grill... is an oven. I've been to the best BBQs in the world in Argentina and Brazil, and they never cover anything Will this work w/out cover ?
Sep. 30, 2010 6:51 pm
This is a great method for any level of skill on the grill. If the food isn't next to the heat source, it's almost impossible to screw up. Some people want to flip their fish, and I never understand why. That would be like trying to flip a loaf of bread baking in your oven!
Jan. 7, 2011 12:17 pm
Plank grilling is terrific! I soak my plank in or add to the water, fruit juice, beer,wine,hot sauce, anything be creative. I cook everything from fish to veggies. I even do tri tip. But I would stay away from ground meats. I tried hamburger once and burned up the plank. The juices dripped over the plank and ignited, thats why you ALWAYS have a squirt bottle of water near the grill. The only problem I have is my grill has only 1 burner so there is no "cool" side. I bought a heavy duty, commercial baking sheet just a little bigger than the plank. I put it upside down on the grill and then put the plank on it. Now the flames are not directly hitting the plank and it does not flame up and burn like it did before. The baking sheet gets really black on the flame side so I only use it on the grill. The plank is supposed to smoke, not catch on fire. You can really have a lot of fun with plank cooking, but it does take some planning and extra cooking time. Enjoy your new best grilling tool!
Feb. 1, 2011 9:56 pm
I have done pork chops, chicken, and especially salmon in my gas grill on cedar planks. Yum! I found a place that has great planks, a bunch of recipes, and great tips for grilling with cedar planks.
Mar. 21, 2011 4:42 am
The cedar plank added little flavor to my salmon. I kept the lid closed to smoke the fish and the smoke turned my stainless steel grill very black. I will not do this on my gas grill again.
John S 
Apr. 3, 2011 8:58 pm
And just what the heck does the smoke, as for the black, get our your cleaner. I bet the salmon tasted good. Remember maybe soak the plank a lot longer. I put Jack Daniels & Captain Morgan Dark rum, and Illy coffee in the soak mix. Very good
Apr. 5, 2011 9:22 am
Hope I can get my son, the griller to try this. sounds great.
May 23, 2011 7:51 am
it says for the first use to season the plank by putting it on the grill for 2 minutes on each side first - is that before or after soaking the plank?
Jul. 12, 2011 1:49 pm
I would think buying a cedar fence post or shingle might run the risk of having other chemicals within the wood. Think I'll try the site previously suggested
Mark Bergman 
Jul. 13, 2011 5:20 am
I've been cooking Salmon on cedar shingles or planks for several years. For the person who asked about thickness, this should answer your question. One may use wood as thin as a Cedar shingle or as thick as 3/4". Shingles are good for one use. I have easy access to scrap Cedar so I never re-use regardless of thickness. I like to start with fresh wood. Find a carpenter and ask him to save scrap plans used for siding or shingles. I like to serve individual portions of Salmon fillet right on the shingle.
Aug. 8, 2011 6:38 pm
There is nothing I love to grill more than Salmon
Sep. 3, 2011 9:41 pm
I ought an alder wood cedar plank in Alaska. It is to be used more than once and has to be treated each time. What is the difference in this plank and other planks to be used only one time?
Jan. 29, 2012 9:37 am
works better on charcoal than gas. use untreated cedar and lump charcoal, not briquets. I use a use a sauce made from dijon mustard and butter pecan syrup to drizzle on the fish before closing the cover on my Weber kettle grill. Putting the lid on keeps the flames down and allows the fish to steam from the moisture in the wood, while absorbing some of the smoke from the bottom of the plank as it smolders. No better way to do salmon. works well with Amberjack, swordfish and tuna too.
Mar. 27, 2012 6:52 pm
can i use it in the oven and at what temperature?
Apr. 5, 2012 7:35 pm
How do you tell if the cedar is treated?
May 25, 2012 12:39 pm
The planks I get are from the supermarket. They are sold specifically for grilling so they are safe.
Jun. 29, 2012 10:44 am
Try this w/ a nice hunk of cheddar cheese - it's delicious served w/ fresh (or grilled) grapes and crackers. 
Sep. 17, 2012 10:51 am
I've tried grilling using cedar planks three times and never get any smoke. I soak the planks at least 4 hours and use a gas grill at around 400 degrees. The boards simply dry out. Any helpful hints out there for creating smoke in the process?
Mar. 31, 2013 7:12 am
A must try is a pecan plank. The taste is so much different than cedar or hickory especially if adding vegetables a/o fruits.
Jun. 14, 2013 12:57 am
Sounds delicious gotta try this soon
Aug. 22, 2013 9:28 am
Care planks be used on a slow wood fire?
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