Eat This Blog & Recipe: Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon


Salmon grilled on a cedar plank. I’ve never done this before, but man is it good!
(Click on any of these three images for a larger version.)

I’ve been meaning to try this for almost a year now. Mary had bought me these cedar planks for grilling fish and such, but as she doesn’t really like fish I’ve held off using them.

Until this evening.

I happened to have this two-pound slab of salmon and decided it was time to go ahead and do this. I’ll tell you what, this is about the easiest grilled fish there is. The fish ends up tender, flaky, moist and flavorful … just right to make for someone like Mary who’s never really liked fish even though she’s grown up right here in a fishing community.

The planks come with instructions, which I promptly read through. There are basic concepts about the plank that are simple. I only modified the seasoning for the fish but it seems the rest is rather straightforward …

Soak the plank in cold water for about 90 minutes. Preheat the closed grill to a temp of 350 degrees F. On my gas grill this was rather close to the lowest-possible setting on all four burners. Don’t go hot just to get it done! You want it to cook slow. Place the oiled-and-seasoned fish skin-side down on the wet plank, put it on the grill and close the lid.

Get some water and place it on standby. If that plank dries out and catches fire, you’ll be ready.

Let the fish cook. Really, don’t open the lid for at least 15 minutes. Start checking the flakiness of the fish at that point. You’ll get a feel for how much longer it will take after a while, so keep an eye on both the fish and the temperature of the closed grill.

Once the fish is able to flake apart easily across the entire filet, use a couple metal spatulas to remove the board and the fish together from the grill. Don’t you dare remove it with your hands … you’ll burn off your fingerprints! Metal … spatulas … get some …

This fish was brushed with olive oil (another part of the basic concepts), then seasoned with Kosher salt, fresh ground pepper, granulated garlic, fresh chopped parsley and dill weed. That’s all … nothing else. Use your imagination and you’ll come up with your own combination.

I served this salmon with a pile of cooked brown and wild rices. I’m sure some grilled asparagus with some salt and pepper would have gone well with it as well. Too bad I didn’t have any asparagus or I’d have done just that.

11 Comments

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  1. Dave just a few blogs ago I touched on doing this very thing when I was in Oregon. Probably the best tasting fish I’ve ever eaten. I know your “hooked” on cedar now!

  2. There are so many great ways to cook fish, Mike, I never imagined this one would taste as good as it did. Fortunately, I’ve got plenty of other fish to fr … er … grill!

  3. Just so it’s out there Costco has a fantastic deal on a package of cedar planks for grilling. And Dave, where the heck was my invitation!!! That sounds spectacular 🙂

  4. We’re not members of Costco … sombody’d have to take us. And as far an “invitation” … since when do you need one??? 😉

  5. Hey Dave!
    That salmon looks AMAZING! I’ve gotten hooked on the fresh lemon dill marinaded salmon from the Andersons. I know its not completely homemade, but its close enough for a busy college student. I miss you guys too! Have you had brazilian food before? I have some close friends in boston that are from Brazil and there parents make us WONDERFUL food whenever we go out to visit (which is often), and i think i finally have some of the recipes and methods down. We should do another one of those dinner nights!

  6. Hiya Em! Hey, premarinated is fine! If you got it at The Anderson’s it was probably pretty good, right? I sometimes get pre-marinated meats at House of Meats, and they have a satelite location in there anyway. Nope, never had Brazilian food … you offering?? 😉 Yes, we need to get together for dinner again sometime! Mary’s schedule is crazy, but we should still work something out.

  7. yes i am offering! Just let me know when mary is out of school and/or things die down a little. I love eating with people who love food!

  8. how many times can i use a plank of cedar?

  9. @Rob, those are definitely single-use. They’re downright black when dinner’s done and would be totally useless a second time.

  10. Great posting, it is amazing at how easy it is to get great tasting salmon on a cedar grilling planks. I have been using the planks for years and sell them on my website ( for great prices on all different types of grilling planks http://www.barandgrillman.com).

    If you looking to get a little bit more of the cedar flavor you should soak your planks for longer than 90 minutes. I try to soak my for 18 hours, I have found this will lead to a more moist smoky flavor in your salmon. Keep up the good work!

    Also, I agree that they are for a single use, if you soak it in water for a longer period you may be able to use it twice. I just wrote a posting on this at blog.barandgrillman.com

  11. James, I’ll have to try that sometime. Thanks!

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