Planked Fish

M D Baldwin

TVWBB Super Fan
This is really good.
Get a plank of ceder or alderwood, most kitchen stores have these. They are about the size of a shingle. soak in water for a couple of hours.
Take your fish-wild salmon(not farm raised), trout or any other relatively flat filet; put some soy sauce or white wine, kosher salt, fresh pepper, fresh dill and let sit for an hour or two.
Fire up the kettle and cook by direct heat. Put the plank on the fire for about 5 minutes, brush the up side w/ oilve oil and let sit for a minute, add a second brush of oil and put the fish on it. Cover the kettle and cook for about 15-20 min depending on the thickness of the fish. Flip and cook another 5-15 minutes, again depending on the thickness. Serve and enjoy.


Have been wondering about this technique. This is probably a stupid question, but is the plank good for only one cook, i.e. is it burned up in the process of cooking the fish? thanks.

K Kruger

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
The planks char. Depending on how direct you're cooking and the thickness of the plank they can be re-used many times.

M D Baldwin

TVWBB Super Fan
I can usually get about 3 or 4 cooks out of a plank before they are no good. They are easy to find at most cooking stores and impart a wonderful taste and moistness to the fish.


TVWBB Member
I get just as good results using cedar chips. Much cheaper too.

Also, check out Wolke's recent article in the Washington Post food section on this topic. Basic conclusion is that planking makes a nice presentation but is an expensive way to add flavor

Bill Hays

TVWBB Platinum Member
Was at HD today and they had the twin packs of cedar planks on sale for $1.99, down from 5.99. Still alot to pay but from where I live, it was a deal! Bought 3 of them...

Mark Silver

I use untreated cedar roof shingles. They're cheap and come in various widths which is useful because we get some big salmon that overlap the regular planks. Buy 'em by the bundle. (BTW, this is the only way I cook fish on the grill so it won't smell or taste like fish for the next cook.)

Chris Wagg

New member
I have been hearing about how great salmon and trout are this way for years. I tried it and found the cedar to be way too overpowering.

I have been using a chunk of maple, and it works great. Put the fish on a piece of foil, cook indirect for maybe 15 minutes. I have converted my wife into a fish lover with this recipe.
I saw an episode of Cooks Illustrated where they made a rub of sugar, salt and pepper and rubbed the salmon after drizzling with EVOO. Then the fired up the gasser. Then make a small boat out of aluminum foil (about 4"x8" or so). With a sharp knife, poke a number of holes in the bottom of the aluminum foil boat. Fill the aluminum foil boat with a handfull of wood chips (I use Hickory). I think you should soak, but not 100% sure. Then place the fish skin side down on the chips and throw the boat on the grill on high heat for 10 min. I made this last night and it was excellent. The sugar carmelized nicely and the fish had a nice sweet flavor from the smoke wood.
Here is the recipe from America's Test Kitchen (hopefully ok to post since it is offered for free on their web site):

From the episode: Surefire Seafood

Aromatic woods such as cedar and alder give the most authentic flavor.

Serves 4.

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 skin-on salmon fillets (each 6 to 8 ounces and 1 1/4 inches thick)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups wood chips , soaked for 15 minutes

1. Combine sugar, salt, and pepper in small bowl. Pat salmon dry with paper towels. Brush flesh side of salmon with oil and sprinkle with sugar mixture. Following photos 1 and 2, use heavy-duty aluminum foil to make four 7- by 5-inch trays. Using tip of knife, perforate bottom of each tray. Divide wood chips among trays and place salmon skin-side down on top of wood chips.

2. Place trays with salmon over hot fire and grill, covered, until center of each fillet is still just translucent, about 10 minutes. Remove trays from grill. Following photo 3, slide metal spatula between skin and flesh of fish and transfer to platter. Serve.


I was just about to post the question, plank or not plank. I love salmon and have soo many recipes that say to plank. I didn't know what to do. So I came here and sure enough, here is this discussion. I was just wondering if anyone else has any input on this subject? Would love to hear from you.

Kim H.

TVWBB Member
I don't like cedar planks because I found them too overpowering. I prefer alder wood planks.
I get about 4 to 5 grills before they are used up. Then I can break them into chips for the final cook.

As for cost, I purchased 30 alder planks (5 in x 11 in) and 50 alder planks (4 in x 7 in) for $39.00 including shipping. outdoorgourmet dot com
That works out to less than 50 cents per plank, or about 10 cents per each cook.