How to barbecue on a plank
In choosing a plank, pick only untreated cedar, alder, hickory or maple. Untreated wood planks for cooking are available online and in speciality shops. Here are a few other tips to ensure success:
- Prepare the plank by soaking it in water for at least one hour. This adds moisture to the wood and prevents it from burning on the BBQ.
- Add 1 tablespoon of salt or 250ml of white wine, apple juice, citrus or berry juice to the soaking water to accent wood aromas.
- If a plank is being used for the first time, season it by placing it on a preheated barbecue for 2 minutes, turning once. Lightly toasting the plank on both sides will intensify its smoky flavour and prevent warping. When the plank starts crackling, it's ready for cooking.
- Place marinated or ready-to-cook foods directly on the plank. Keep the barbecue lid closed as much as possible to maintain temperatures and maximise smoking. Note that planked food does not have to be turned during cooking.
- Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy so flames can be extinguished if the plank starts to burn.