Cedar planked salmon

Wandering through the Sebastopol Whole Foods the other day, I discovered packs of Sautee Cedar planks, ostensibly for grilling salmon. I’ve heard of cedar planked salmon before—it’s the kind of description that would instantly pique my interest on a good menu—but I’ve always imagined the planks being thinner. These ones were at least 1/2″ thick. As Stephanie recently purchased a small gas grill, I thought it’d be fun to give them a try.

Tonight she set one of the planks soaking in some water and white wine (they advise doing so for at least an hour) and we went off to G&G’s in search of some salmon fillets. The packaging had a simple marinade recipe for Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon, so we didn’t need to pick up much else.

First thing I learned: the board burns. More precisely: it smokes, which with the cover over the grill, creates a pretty nice smokey cooking environment. The guy at Whole Foods thought you could reuse a plank 3-4 times, but from the looks of the charring on the underside, this plank will probably only be good for one more grilling opportunity. But the best part was the smokey sweet crust that formed around the outside of the salmon, and the perfectly moist inside. It looked kind of like this:

Salmon on a cedar plank

We also had some zucchini slices on the wood. They cooked up nicely but tasted a little too much like eating soggy cedar furniture. In any event, here’s the highly recommended marinade recipe from Fire and Flavor Grilling Company (nee Sautee Cedar Company).

Maple Mustard Glazed Salmon

Combine first four ingredients in a zip plastic bag and add salmon. Marinate for 15 minutes.

Heat grill to 350-400 degrees. Place soaked plank on hot grill, close lid and allow to heat for 3 minutes. Flip plank, close lid and continue heating second side for an additional 3 minutes. Place salmon, skin side down, on hot plank and close lid. Allow to cook for approximately 10-15 minutes (cooking times depend on thickness of fish) or until medium rare. Remove fish and plank from grill and serve. Remember fish will continue to cook after removing from the grill.


Cedar plank salmon is awesome. Another nice finish for it can be found in Mario Batali’s Babbo cookbook.


we made the mistake of buying cedar planks and then trying to cook salmon in the oven. for a dinner party. with people we had never had over before. everything tasted like furniture and no one could finish their dinner. perhaps we shall try them on the grill after your nice review.

Jean, hello!

Well, I’m surprised your house didn’t also fill with smoke. I have to say that the strong cedar flavor was well paired with the strong flavor of salmon. I imagine it would also be good with pork and beef, but probably not chicken…

However the zucchini was just yucky. The cedar just overpowered its mild vegetable flavor. Asparagus might have been a better fit.


For vegetables and lighter foods like poultry and white fish I use maple or alder grilling planks. They have a subtle smokey flavor that does not overpower the foods. I think Fire & Flavor makes these as well.


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