Grilling salmon on a cedar plank is one of those things I was always impressed with, but totally intimidated by. When I eventually got around to trying it for the first time, I realized it was way easier than I thought! It just takes a bit of patience and planning. The reward, I promise you, is worth it: fish filets that are smoky, woodsy and full of flavor. Here’s how to do it!
To start, you’ll need a simple cedar plank. Cedar planks can be purchased from any home improvement store near the grilling gear, or sometimes at the grocery store near the fish counter. In addition to the plank, you’ll need a grill, of course, and a spray bottle for water. I had a tiny spray bottle (pictured below), but any size spray bottle that’s clean will do.
The first step is to soak the cedar plank in water in advance of grilling. You’ll want it to soak for a minimum of two hours. This part is easy and totally hands-off; it just takes a little bit of pre-planning on your part.
Once the cedar plank has been soaked, prepare the salmon filets. You can use whole filets (which would extend the cooking time a few minutes) or pre-portioned filets. Be sure to check the filets for any pin bones and remove those before seasoning and cooking.
Next, season your filets however you’d like. I cooked up three versions this time around: one filet seasoned with salt and pepper, one with a lemon dill marinade and the third with a Cajun rub. At this time, you’ll also want to start heating your grill, giving it about 10-15 minutes to warm up with the heat on high.
Place the seasoned filets on the plank skin-down. Space them apart a bit so they aren’t too crowded and cook evenly, placing heftier filets on the outside edges.
All that’s left is to grill! Place the plank onto the grill directly over the flames and cover. While your filets are grilling, be sure to check every few minutes for flare-ups. Spritz any flames with the spray bottle filled with water and continue cooking.
After about 10-15 minutes, the salmon will be perfectly cooked. You’ll know they’re done when you smell the subtle smoky aroma and when the filets are just firm and flake easily.
This salmon tastes great any way you dish it up. I like it with just a squeeze of lemon. No matter how you serve it, anyone who tries these filets will be totally impressed and you’ll feel like a serious grill master!
Don’t have a cedar plank? Here are four more delicious ways to enjoy grilled salmon this summer.