Cedar Planks

Discussion in 'Grilling Fish' started by cajunsmoke13, May 3, 2009.

  1. cajunsmoke13

    cajunsmoke13 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Anyone ever grill fish on cedar planks? I've seen it, always wanted to do it. Any advice would be helpful, types of fish, grill temp, marinades, etc. Thanks
  2. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    I've done the cedar plank thing a few times. It's OK but I wasn't enamored of it; it takes over rather than accompanies the food.
  3. richp692

    richp692 Smoke Blower

    I did slamon on it a couple weeks ago. It came out great.
    Glazed it with equal parts of burbon and maple syrup. a pinch of salt and pepper and topped with a sprig of tyme. Cooked in over hot lump on my weber ketle. It took about 15 min.
    Everyone went nuts over it.
  4. meatball

    meatball Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I had the same problem the one time I used the plank, but I know plenty of people (and I have eaten some of the salmon) who have had success with them. I'm going to follow that how-to and try again - I still have unused planks. Also, I have seen these cedar "sheets" in the store that you can wrap the salmon with - anybody ever use them? Curious if they're easier, more difficult or no different?
  5. hhookk

    hhookk Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I'm a big cedar plank fan for my salmon. Heres what I do:

    Soak the planks for a couple hours in warm water.

    Marinate my salmon fillet in "Soy Vay-Very Very Teriyaki" sauce. The best bottled teriyaki on the planet.

    I like to do this on my Weber gas grill for temp control. Charcoal will work fine if it's all you have. Pre heat the grill on high for 15 mins. to get super hot.

    Just before you put the fish on turn the heat down to about 80%.

    Place fish, skin side down on the plank.

    Usually takes about 10-12 mins. Usually near the end the plank has dried out to the piont of almost catching on fire. Lots of wonderfull smelling smoke. This is normal and desired. I Keep a spray bottle of water in case of the corners bursting into flames, but I've never needed it.

    Squeeze fresh lemon juice on fish in the last couple mins.

    Serve with rice pilaf and some grilled peppers and onions and enjoy.
  6. slanted88

    slanted88 Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Yeah Man...get the fire hotter than....ya know! Plank on.....then me & Louie flip it, blisterin hot & smolderin....fish on then wait with a cold glass of her wine & monitor the fish. We do brine usin Tip's gig, with some ginger in it!
  7. cajunsmoke13

    cajunsmoke13 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Sounds good. Thanks. Those planks have been sitting up there for years...Time to use them up
  8. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    So why do none of us seem to use cedar when smoking our meats?
    Or do some of you use it? There are some really nice cedar trees near here that I could lop off a branch or two if they would smoke well.

    Why bother with a plank if you could use chunks or chips in your smoker instead?

  9. smokinrick

    smokinrick Newbie

    Cedar planks are traditionally used for salmon. Here is a recipe I worked up for tuna, yellowtail or any white meaty fish.

    Cut fish fillets into medallions 3/4 to 1" thick, trimmed of all dark portions. sprinkle with a coating of tarragon, salt, pepper, dill to evenly coat the fish on one side. Drizzle with fresh lemon juice, then EVOO. Allow to marinate at least a half hour while soaking the cedar slats of 1/4 to 3/8 thickness.

    Start a grill fire and get to top heat ala steak heat. Gas or charcoal is fine.

    Place fish on plank, put plank on grill and cover. Plank will smoke heavily, warp and may even catch fire. No problem. Cook 4-5 minutes on one side only. Remove and enjoy. Some of the best fish ever!
  10. squirrel

    squirrel Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Cedar can be very overpowering. I don't think I would want to smoke with it, maybe a couple of chunks in with another wood might be okay. I don't know this, but it could be one of those woods that takes on a completely different flavor if it's burned versus just getting good and warmed? Just a thought. Looking forward to other folks' experience with this. Great question by the way.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  11. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Cedar is a soft wood like pine. If you tried to smoke with it like we typically do, you'd run the risk of really overpowering the meat. It isn't resinous like pine or other evergreens, so I think that maybe a few chunks near the beginning of a smoke may work.
  12. smokinrick

    smokinrick Newbie

    Actually, the cedar plank flavor is not from the smoke. It is from the steam the plank generates that penetrates the fish. Cedar would be a terribly overpowering wood to use and would also burn hot and resinous.
  13. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do not use Cedar or any conifer wood in a smoker.  Smoking and grilling are two different animals.  Grilling is a much higher heat and most importantly is done in a realitive oxygen rich invironment. 

    In a smoker O2 levels are much lower and airflow restricted comparatively.  All conifers are resinous woods with heavy antigen levels.

    You sometimes see a trained Chef using green mesquit on a hot open fire grill for steaks and such but he would never put the green mesquite in a inclosed low oxygen invironment for the same reason. 

    Antigens in Cedar and other soft woods especially conifers can be toxic and there have been reports of folks deathly ill showing up at emergency rooms because of not understanding the different techniques and using contraindicated woods in smokers. 
    smokinrick likes this.
  14. I have read all of the posts in this section and have a question....Can you hot smoke salmon in your smoker at a slightly higher temperature (maybe 300) on a cedar plank without having any problems?
  15. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    For most planks the minimum safe temp is 350° with a high end temp of 400°. Keep in mind that for long cooks 1 1/2 hour+) plank thickness is also a factor. I have used my cedar and alder planks in my smoker. Cedar always above 350°. The alder planks I have used at lower temps. I prefer to soak my planks for a minimum of 4 hours. If I'm on the ball I'll soak them overnight. If you wanted to use apple, peach, cherry or any other smoke wood planks, you could certainly get away with lower temps.
  16. Thank you for the information. That is very helpful and will keep me out of trouble.
  17.   Around here people cook carp on a cedar plank, then throw away the carp and eat the plank.

  18. Cedar planks and trout are our favorite! All I do is soak the planks I get from Walmart in water for about four hours, season the fish with some salt and lemon pepper and off to the gas grill. I cook them without turning them until they are done the way we like them, which is over done for most people.

    I take the fish off the plank and serve. The planks go into the trash or fireplace depending on time of year.


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