Barbecuing on a Wooden Plank

Article by: Allrecipes staff  |  Picture by: Kevin
Barbecuing on a Wooden Plank
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Learn how to barbecue foods on a wooden plank - called plank grilling or plank barbecuing - and enjoy the subtle smoky flavour the wood imparts. While salmon is the original choice, you can try plank grilling with other types of fish, as well as seafood, meats and vegetables. Best of all - it is super easy to barbecue on a wooden plank, and offers a great presentation when entertaining guests.

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Salmon, the king of the plank

Salmon is the original partner for the plank. It's a pairing that dates back to the native people of the Pacific Northwest in North America, who barbecued salmon over open fires on planks of cedar and alder. Salmon is still the champion. Here are some top-rated planked salmon recipes.
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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.
After barbecuing
  • Remove the plank from the BBQ and place into a container of water.
  • Rinse a used plank with soap and water and let it dry. Re-soaking for another use is optional. Store plank in a dry, clean place.
  • Reuse planks about two or three times. If there's wood left, you can use the plank.
  • Crumble up charred planks over coals to use as smoking chips.
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