Planking Salmon

For the tastiest grilled salmon you’ve ever had - get some planks! 

This post is brought to you by our very own Roscoe from the Calgary North Store. It's best to pretend he is reading this to you. Roscoe loves to grill stuff. In particular he loves planking salmon.

He's the expert so listen up: This technique is sound and delivers a fun cooking experience and unmatched flavour. It's easy and we can provide help to 'go where no fish has gone before.'



Filets Only

Steaks don’t work for some reason. Don’t be scared of a little bit of fire curling up around the edges of the plank – that’s all part of the game.  As long as the fish itself isn’t being scorched you’re fine.  

Soak Your Plank

Soaking your plank prior to use is important.  Overnight is ideal but you need to soak it for at least two hours.More soaking = more flavour. I like to soak my planks in wine (red or white) after the water for about an hour. After soaking I like to rub on some crushed garlic for even more flavour just because I like to think I know what I'm doing.  Otherwise the board will burn instead of smoke and the cedar flavour in the fish will be slightly more bitter.

The Seasoning and the Fish Fillet

I use a seafood seasoning rub (that you can purchase from Barbecues Galore's Spice Section). Sprinkle on some onion salt, seasoned pepper and lemon because it sounds good. Feel free to use whatever spices you like. Cut slices in the top of the fillet this will help with spice penetration. Cut some slices right to the bottom to allow the flavour of the cedar and garlic to be pushed up into the fillet from the plank. 

Salmon Filet on a Cedar Plank

The Cooking Technique

I like to place the planked fillet directly over the burner first to get it hot and steaming so the flavours start getting into the fish - with the lid closed and temperature at about 325 degrees. Leave it long enough until the plank is steaming, then begin indirect cooking mode.

Indirect cooking mode means turn off the burner under the plank and turn on the burners on either side of the plank, keeping the temperature at 325 degrees. Naturally this will depend on how many burners you have, just ensure there is no heat generation directly beneath the salmon. To get even more outdoor cooking flavour I like to add Hickory wood chips which are placed over the burner that's on.

How long to cook will depend on how big your fish fillet is, how long the plank soaked, direct or indirect cooking times, and temperature. The one in this photo took approximately an hour.

Salmon Filet on a Cedar Plank

Cooking Instructions:

Soak the cedar plank for a minimum of 2-3 hours.

Preheat Grill on high.

Lightly sprinkle plank with seasoning as instructed above, or simply coarse sea salt.

Heat plank with cover down for 2-3 minutes.

Place salmon fillets on smooth side of plank.

Cook salmon with cover down for 10-12 minutes, at approx. 450 F until fish flakes easily.

Squeeze fresh lemon over salmon & serve.



If you’re super thrifty you can re-use your planks two or three times. The key is to extinguish the planks as soon as you’re finished grilling your fish.  If you allow the plank to continue to smolder after your fish is cooked, there will be nothing left. Obviously, the fish always goes on the same side of the plank – the charred side would add its own meaning to ‘blackened.’ 

And no matter how big your fish, try if you can to leave gaps between the planks on the grill, so some heat can escape and the barbecue doesn’t get exceedingly hot.

How many planks will this guy need?

A man holding Salmon on a Dock 

Same guy, different fish…

Man with a really big fish!

Here are some other recipes using cedar planks!

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