After your guests have whet their appetites on your spicy appetizers — maybe some fresh guacamole with jalapenos or peppery, Greek yogurt veggie dips — you’re going to want to give them an entree that really wows them. So, why not serve cedar planked salmon? Cooking the fish over a cedar plank lends an intense, aromatic flavor to salmon, which your guests will die for.
Here’s how you make it.
Prep the plank. You can’t make cedar planked salmon by grilling salmon on a cedar plank, though the name may lead you to believe otherwise. You’re going to want to rinse your plank off to get rid of any dust that might be on it, and then let it soak in a water-filled sink for about one to four hours. You can also season the water with salt, berry juice, or vinegar if you want to add some flavor.
Prep the salmon. While your plank is soaking, cut your salmon filet into serving-size portions. If you want to flavor the fish, add an herb mixture, or marinade to it two hours ahead of cooking it.
Prep the grill. Assuming you’re using a charcoal grill, you’re going to want to let the coals soak in lighter fluid for about 15 minutes before lighting them. Let the coals get coated with gray ash first, and then arrange them evenly on the grill. You want to cover an area that’s about three inches larger on all sides of the cedar plank you’ll be cooking on.
Cooking the cedar planked salmon. Once you’ve finally taken care of all the prep work, set the plank on the grill about eight inches away from the heat so it can warm up for about five minutes. When it’s ready, it’ll start smoking and crackling. Lay the salmon on the plank, cover the grill, and let it cook for 20 minutes, give or take a couple minutes depending on how thick or thin you cut it. When you think it’s ready, stick a fork into the thinnest part. It’s done if it flakes easily.
If you have any questions about making a cedar planked salmon, feel free to share in the comments.