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Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon: Salmon 4-ways

by Troy on September 27, 2011

Here is the finished salmon - grilled on a cedar plank

Grilling salmon on a cedar plank is something I’ve been itching to do ever since my friend Mike made it for us when he invited us over for dinner (many many years ago).

There were several times that I had the initiative, but not the supplies.

This week, however, it all came together; and tonight, in the cold, dark, windy, pissing rain – I grilled my cedar planked salmon.

Since cedar planks that are packaged for cooking are often obnoxiously expensive and typically thin and small, I took the DIY / frugal route. I hit up Home Depot and bought an 8-foot 1×8″ of cedar. It cost me $11.

cedar plank fo rhte grill

I have my cedar plank soaking in a pan made of foil. Held down with my secret sauce.

I had Frank the friendly guy wearing the orange apron to cut it into 18″ sections for me. (Home Depot does it for free) One 8-foot board gave me four big sections. Which means i’ll be grilling cedar planked salmon at LEAST 3 more times :)

I used a wild caught frozen salmon. It’s cheap and decent quality. It pales in comparison to fresh salmon – but for a whole side of salmon for $11 it’s really hard to complain.

The one I bought came as a whole side, but portioned into 4 servings. Inspired by the recent season of Master Chef – I decided this would be Salmon 4-ways (grilled on a cedar plank of course).

partially seasoned salmon

Looks kinda like a salmon flag. Each section looks different here.

I prepped the board by rinsing it off and soaking it in water for 1 hour. This way it only smokes and doesn’t catch fire on the grill.

For section 1, I sprinkled some lemon zest and drizzled some lemon juice. I then sprinkled some McMormicks Lemon Pepper seasoning (with garlic and onion).
Section 2 started with a layer of honey, and then a paste of brown sugar, paprika, dry Italian seasoning, salt, and EVOO.
Section 3 used dijon mustard and the same paste from above. I was going to drizzle some Jack Daniels whiskey on this piece, but I missed and it went in my mouth.
The 4th section I used Penzey’s Fox Point seasoning. It’s a favorite at our house.

fully seasoned salmon - ready for the cedar plank

Here's how the salmon looked before I put it on the cedar plank on the grill.


I sliced the lemon and arranged the slices over the salmon.

When grilling cedar plank salmon, the plank of cedar goes on the grill FIRST. That way it can heat up and begin to smoke before you add the salmon. Since I was also grilling sweet corn and asparagus, I needed the real estate of Big Red – my newly rehabbed, 1958 Red 26″ weber charcoal grill.
I loaded big red up with one chimney of coshell briquettes. I burned my hand a bit arranging the coals because this stuff burns CRAZY HOT.

When the coals stopped flaming, I added the cedar plank. It started smoking after about 5 minutes, so I added the salmon. I estimated that it would take 30 minutes, so after 10 minutes I added the corn. Corn cooks fast over direct heat, a few minutes per side and it’s done. This gave me some time to peel the husks and brush the corn with some garlic basil infused butter.

cedar plank salmon on the grill

It was dark, cold, and rainy. But here's the action shot.


When the salmon was ready, I tossed on the asparagus. Since it was still raining like hell, and it was dark already, I couldn’t really see how the asparagus was doing. Eventually I lifted a piece with the tongs and bit the stalk end. It wasn’t quite done, so I let it go for another 2 minutes. Apparently the one I bit was in a cold spot – all the asparagus was overdone :(

The salmon was great though, as was the corn. I served the salmon right on the cedar plank that it was grilled on. The bottom of the plank was burnt and nasty, so I set it on an upside-down cake pan.
The family favorites were:
section 2 – the honey and brown sugar. And section 4 – the fox point.
All of them were good though.

grilled corn

The corn was beautiful, and delicious. It went really well with the salmon.

Recipe for the paste:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry italian seasoning
1 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 pinches of kosher salt

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Kay July 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

This was a common sense recipe…thank you

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