Here's Why People Grill Salmon On Cedar Planks

A delicate and flavorful fish, salmon is the king of the sea when it comes to taste. From air frying to pan-searing, there is no wrong way to make this delicious cut of meat. Grilling is a prime example of cooking salmon to perfection, all with the help of a simple cedar plank. Whether you realize it or not, the plank can offer many benefits that are just not attainable with other methods.

By grilling salmon on top of the plank, the cut of fish becomes infused with the flavor of the cedar. This method gives your dish more of a smoky taste, which elevates it from your typical seafood fare. Using this device is also helpful when it comes to the practice of grilling. Cooking salmon on the grill can be tricky with the added risk of it sticking to the grate. The plank acts as a divider that keeps the composition of this delectable fish intact when it finally makes it to the plate and your waiting mouth.

Benefits of grilling on cedar planks

Grilling on a plank is not just an alternative method for cooking a favorite, but one that offers many benefits. For those who enjoy the luxury of smoked salmon, you don't need to buy a smoker. If you have a grill and cedar plank, you can get the same result without fancy and expensive equipment. The plank causes smoke to rise around the fish, creating delicious flavors. 

There is also no need to flip the salmon when cooking it this way because the heat and smoke are dispensed evenly. This technique also keeps the fish nice and moist as the plank infuses the meat with the essence of the wood.

Cedar planks also excel when it comes to presentation. Ditch your boring old sheet pan or air fryer and instead go with the grill. After cooking the salmon on the cedar plank, it can also double as a serving platter. You can maintain that rustic look by serving your guests right off the plank. Just make sure to take it off the coals or gas grill safely without burning yourself. Clean-up will also be a breeze. You don't have to scrape off the grill as all the fat is sequestered on the wooden board.

Tips for grilling on cedar planks

Grilling salmon on a cedar plank is one way for home cooks to elevate their protein-packed meals, but don't fire up the grill just yet. Grilling with cedar planks requires some safety precautions or you could risk setting your backyard on fire. Cedar planks are ultimately wood and need preparation before placing them over an open flame. 

Cookbook author, Amanda Haas, explained her process for using this method to Williams Sonoma. "I've been pre-soaking [the cedar planks] in water, but you just need to soak them for an hour or two before you use them," she revealed. 

However, the times for soaking the planks vary. Some experts recommend submerging cedar planks in water for anywhere between 20 minutes and four hours, depending on how you're cooking the meat. Taking this step also infuses the flavor from the wood into the meat, making it more delicious as it grills. This fact is why these types of recipes don't need extensive seasonings.  

Haas also recommends grapeseed oil as a base because it has a high smoke point, which is ideal for cooking at high temperatures. Cedar planks can also be reused, so long as you complete this soaking step. It helps preserve the wood so home grillers can use the plank a few times as the mood for cedar-flavored salmon strikes.