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How to Grill with a Cedar Plank

Created January 10, 2017
Discover how to spice up your barbecue by grilling on a cedar plank. Add woodsy flavor to fish, pork, chicken and even appetizer brie cheese!
plank grilling

Summertime means backyard barbecues and great tasting meals, hot off the grill. This year, add a cedar plank to your collection of grilling accessories.

Plank Grilling FAQ

  • Plank grilling is the time-honored technique of grilling food on wood planks. Steam and smoke from the heated plank infuses what’s cooked with a subtle smoky flavor, depending on the wood used.
  • Fish, poultry and meats grilled on wood planks stay moist and tender. And, there’s no need to flip over what’s cooked, sometimes tricky with fish!
  • Salmon cooked on cedar is the most popular plank grilling specialty. Our Planked Salmon with Peach Mango Salsa recipe contains step photos that will help you have success the very first time.
  • Look for grilling planks wherever grilling supplies are sold or with a “grilling planks” search at the Betty Crocker® Store or other online retailer. Those made from cedar are easiest to find, but alder, oak, maple, cherry, hickory or apple wood ones are also available.
  • Also check local lumber suppliers; there's a good chance of finding wood for planks in the "odds and ends" bin. Just make sure the wood you use is “untreated” because of its direct contact with the food and so there are no unpleasant odors.

Prepping Your Cedar Plank

  • Directions vary, but all involve soaking the plank in water for hours to overnight. It’s what makes plank less likely to burn or split when it’s on the grill and creates steam that infuses what’s cooked.
  • Use a baking pan or large food storage bag to hold the plank; use a heavy object to keep the plank submerged.
  • Hot water will speed the soaking process.
  • Step up the flavor by adding white wine, beer, apple cider, fruit juice or fresh herbs to the water.
  • After soaking the plank, dry it off and lightly coat the surface with olive or vegetable oil.
  • If you like, rub fresh herbs, garlic or flavored oil on the plank for even more flavor.

Plank Grilling

  • Typically, plank grill recipes instruct you to preheat your grill.
  • Place the plank with your food on the grill—either gas or charcoal works— and close the lid. The plank should give off light to medium smoke within a few minutes.
  • Keep a spray bottle on hand in the event of flare-ups.
  • Resist the urge to peek often. Keeping the lid closed retains the smoke and heat!
  • You can serve the food directly from the wood plank, placing it on heatproof platter or tray, or remembering to protect the table surface.