Planking fish for the grill is intimidating to many. It shouldn’t be. Here’s how to maximize your cedar-planked flavor, from The Total Grilling Manual: 264 Essentials for Cooking with Fire.
Beer as needed for soaking (optional)
1 large or 4 small untreated cedar planks
Olive oil for brushing
½ cup (4 oz/125 g) unsalted butter
¼ cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 lb (1 kg) skin-on center-cut salmon fillet (either 1 large fillet or 4 small fillets), about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick, pin bones removed
½ cup (4 oz/125 g) honey mustard
¼ cup (1/3 oz/10 g) chopped fresh dill
SOAK Soak cedar plank in water or beer to cover for at least 1 hour. (No matter what size you use, make sure your planks are big enough to hold your fillets.)
PREHEAT Prepare a charcoal or gas grill for direct grilling over high heat. Brush and oil grill grate. Remove plank from water. Brush one side with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on grill directly over the fire, cover, and heat until it begins to crackle and smoke, about 5 minutes.
PREP In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Whisk in lemon juice, parsley, and soy sauce. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
GRILL Uncover grill and place salmon fillet on plank. Brush salmon generously with butter mixture. Cover again and cook, without turning fillet, until fish flakes when prodded gently with a fork, 10–12 minutes. Fillet should be cooked to medium. Check plank frequently to make sure it doesn’t catch on fire, and have a spray bottle filled with water handy to extinguish any flames (but be careful—steam created from water can cause burns).
SERVE Using heavy-duty potholders, transfer plank to a heatproof work surface. Transfer salmon fillet to a warmed platter with a spatula. In a small bowl, stir together mustard and dill. Serve salmon with mustard sauce on side.
Photo by Ray Kachatorian. Copyright 2016 by Weldon Owen, Inc.