There are numerous ways to cook salmon including grilling, baking, or pan frying. However, the popular method of making salmon using a cedar plank provides a unique flavor. Using a cedar plank allows the fish to gently steam and the cedar flavor to infuse into the salmon. You can make cedar plank salmon in the oven or on the grill. It is an easy and healthy way to prepare salmon while keeping it flavorful and moist.
How To Cook Cedar Plank Salmon
It’s important to make sure your cedar plank does not have any splinters before you begin cooking.
The first step when cooking salmon with a cedar plank is to soak the cedar plank in water. You want to let it soak for at least one hour, but 2 or 3 is better. This is an important step in order to make sure that the cedar plank does not catch fire when cooking the salmon. It also helps to keep the salmon moist and flavorful because the moisture from the plank creates steam when cooking. Once it has thoroughly soaked, let the plank drain.
Next, prepare your salmon. Remove the skin and any remaining bones from the salmon filet. Rinse the salmon under cold running water, then pat dry using paper towels. Season the fish with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the salmon on the cedar plank.
At this point, you would add whatever other seasonings, marinades, or rubs you desire. Popular marinade ingredients include dijon mustard, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, garlic, and/or soy sauce. Coat your fish evenly with your marinade of choice.
Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon
If you are choosing to cook your salmon on the cedar plank using a grill, you will want to preheat the grill while the cedar plank is soaking. Either charcoal or gas grills will work. Get the grill up to temperature (about 400 degrees Fahrenheit).
An optional step if you want even more smoky flavor is to char the cedar plank on the grill until it is blackened, then flip it over so the charred side comes in contact with the fish.
Move the cedar plank salmon grill so that it is no longer over direct heat, and place the salmon on the plank. Close the lid of the grill and let the salmon cook. Cooking times will vary depending on the thickness of the filet, but usually about 5 minutes per half inch of thickness is a good rule of thumb.
Check the temperature of the fish with a meat thermometer. It is done when the thickest part reaches 125 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. The flesh should be an opaque light pink. You can transfer the salmon and plank onto a platter, and serve straight from the cedar plank.
Cedar Plank Salmon in the Oven
It is perfectly safe to place cedar planks into the oven. Cooking salmon in the oven using cedar planks is a great option if the weather is not great for outdoor grilling. You will get that same smoky flavor and flaky fish.
The first step once again is to soak the cedar plank in water for at least 1 hour. Then allow it to drain.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Prepare your salmon as mentioned above. Rinse under cold water, pat dry, and season the fish.
Line a baking sheet with foil (this makes for easy clean up) and place a flat rack on the baking sheet. Next, place the soaked plank onto the rack. Put the baking sheet with the rack and plank into the oven to heat up for about 5 minutes.
Remove the baking sheet, rack, and plank from the oven. Place the salmon filet on top of the cedar plank and then place into the oven. Cook for about 20-25 minutes, or until done. The salmon should have an internal temperature of 125 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Another easy way to determine if salmon is done is to check it with a fork. If the salmon easily flakes off, it is finished cooking.
Here are a few simple and delicious marinade ideas for your cedar plank salmon.
- 1 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbsp butter (melted), 1 tbps olive oil, 1tbsp honey, 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 finely chopped garlic clove
- 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup honey, 1/4 cup orange juice, 4 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup water, 2 tbsp sesame oil, 2 tbsp brown sugar, 1 tbs garlic, 1 tbsp ginger
Tips to Remember for Making Cedar Plank Salmon
- When soaking your cedar plank, you can use something heavy like a bowl to weigh it down and keep it completely submerged in the water.
- Do not use oil on the plank. Adding oil will cause excess heat and flames.
- Make sure to preheat the grill. Do not place the salmon on the grill until it is up to the correct temperature.
- You can check for doneness by temperature (12 to 135 degrees Fahrenheit), color (opaque light pink), and/or texture (flakes off easily with a fork).
- Only place one salmon filet on the cedar plank at a time.
- Cedar planks can be reused if they are in good condition after the first use. However, if you chose to char the cedar plank, it should not be reused.
- Fresh herbs and lemon slices are a great way to garnish your finished salmon.
Salmon is a wonderful and delicious fish. It can be cooked in so many different ways. Whether you decide to bake, pan fry, or grill it, it is sure to be a tasty and healthy meal. Using a cedar plank is a great option for those who want a smoky, woody flavor to their fish. Since the moisture from the cedar plank helps to steam the salmon, it ensures that the fish will stay moist and tender. Try out some different spices, marinades, or rubs next time you cook up some salmon, and don’t forget the tips above for making a delicious cedar plank salmon! Enjoy!