If you read my blog about grilled salmon kabobs, you know one of the things I love about the skewer is the ease it brings to grilling fish. Cedar plank salmon is even easier, plus some added benefits that I’ll get into. Learning how to grill plank salmon is easy, and after reading this blog you’ll be off to the races.
The flavor profile I’m going with for this cedar plank salmon recipe is sweet heat, so I’ll be using my honey sriracha & ginger glaze. This glaze is great for seafood, chicken and even pork. If sweet heat isn’t your jam, feel free to use whatever glaze you like, or no glaze at all.
A simple salt and pepper, some lemon zest, or a smokey BBQ rub is also excellent on salmon. Whatever seasoning or glaze you use, the cedar plank will amplify the flavor of your salmon, and make it easy to grill and serve.Jump to Recipe
What Does a Cedar Plank Do for Salmon?
The benefits of grilling salmon with a cedar plank run deep. First, the plank acts as a barrier between the fish and hot coals or gas burner. This prevents burning or sticking to the grill grate when you put the salmon on the grill.
Next, and more importantly, as the plank smolders it infuses a mild, almost sweet smoky flavor into the salmon as it cooks. The cedar will smell amazing as it smolders and that smell, you’ll actually taste it in the fish. For that reason alone, it’s worth it to use a cedar plank for fish.
Another fun benefit of grilling on a cedar plank is the presentation. After removing the planks from the grill, use them as a serving vessel. Flaking the freshly grilled salmon right off the cedar plank adds a rustic element to the meal.
Do You Need To Soak a Cedar Plank for Salmon?
Yes, absolutely. I recommend soaking the planks in water for at least an hour; longer if you can. Placing a dry cedar plank on a hot grill is a recipe for disaster.
The dry plank will smolder for a short time before catching fire, burning your fish to a crispy mess. Sadly, I know this from experience. Grilled salmon circa 1993 (ish) that went up in flames on the small grill I had on base housing while I was in the Marines.
Do You Flip Fish on a Cedar Plank?
Using a cedar plank removes any need for flipping the fish while it’s on the grill. Because the plank gets hot, but doesn’t combust, it will gently cook the bottom of the fish as the convection heat from the grill cooks the top.
It just makes the whole grilling experience easier, and less messy.
Can You Reuse a Cedar Plank for Salmon?
There’s a difference between “can” and “should” with regard to reusing a cedar plank. So long as it’s not too charred up, you “can” reuse them. The issue is flavoring.
Just like the salmon takes on the flavor of the cedar while it’s cooking, the cedar also takes on the flavor of the salmon. So, keep that in mind and definitely don’t use a cedar plank that’s cooked salmon to cook something different.
Additionally, the flavor infused from a used piece of cedar isn’t as nice as that from a fresh piece. The bottom line, I don’t recommend it.
Tips For Making Planked Salmon On The Grill
The Planks: Think outside the box. Sure you can buy the planks made for grilling, but they get expensive. Check the scrap lumber bin at the big box stores and you can often find cedar boards that can be cut into planks for next to nothing.
The Grill: This cedar plank salmon recipe can be done on a charcoal or gas grill. if you have a gas grill with a rotisserie burner, even better.
Soaking: Be sure to soak the plank for at least an hour, two is even better if you have the time.
How To Make Cedar Plank Salmon on The Grill
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10-12 minutes | Serves: 4
2-3 lbs wild-caught salmon, 2 filets cut into 4 portions
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup honey sriracha sauce
½ cup light brown sugar
½ cup green onions, sliced
Step 1: Soak the cedar planks in water for at least one hour. While the planks are soaking, set your grill up for direct heat cooking and preheat to 400°F.
Step 2: Place the salmon skin side down on the soaked planks. Season the fish with kosher salt.
Step 3: Glaze the salmon fillets with half of the honey sriracha sauce, or your favorite glaze or seasoning.
Step 4: Top the honey sriracha sauce evenly with brown sugar.
Then, place the planks with salmon on the grill. For a gas grill, reduce the heat to low and turn on the rotisserie burner if available. If you don’t have a rotisserie burner, leave the burners on medium.
For a charcoal grill, place the planks on the grill grate directly over the hot coals, and close the lid.
Let the salmon cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 120°F as indicated with a reliable quick read thermometer. This will result in a medium rare fish, if you prefer a more well done fish; cook to 125° – 130°F.
Step 5: Glaze the salmon with remaining glaze and top with green onions. Serve alone or on a bed of fresh greens.
- 2-3 lbs wild caught salmon cut into four pieces
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 cup honey sriracha sauce
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup green onions sliced
- Soak the cedar planks in water for at least one hour. While the planks are soaking, set your grill up for direct heat cooking and preheat to 400°F.
- Place the salmon skin side down on the soaked planks. Season the fish with kosher salt.
- Glaze the salmon fillets with half of the honey sriracha sauce, or your favorite glaze or seasoning.
- Top the glaze evenly with brown sugar. Then, place the planks with salmon on the grill.
- Glaze the salmon with remaining glaze and top with green onions. Serve alone or on a bed of fresh greens.