Using flavored wood smoke for your foods is way easier than you think. If you can soak a piece of wood in water, beer, wine or fruit juice…you can smoke anything on virtually any kind of grilling contraption.
Using a cedar plank may be one of the easiest methods, ever. It’s particularly great for delicate food like fish. But can be equally as tasty using shellfish, beef or poultry. It’s simple, effective, makes presentation rustic and clean up easy, too. My other favorites are scallops and London broil/flank steak on the plank.
You can find grill planks at pretty much any hardware store or big box store, as well as online. And the easy part is all you need to do is soak it in a liquid for prep. About a half to full hour is all you need and you can use anything you like from water to beer to apple juice. Since some of the grilling planks can be a little long, a cookie sheet is probably your best best to use as vessel to soak the plank in. You can weigh it down with a glass or bowl of water. Then just set aside after soaking and the cool thing is you can use it as a prep dish and go right to the grill!
Set up your grill for indirect heat. It doesn’t matter if you use a charcoal grill, gas grill or smoker with this…with the exception of time and temperature. As long as your plank isn’t over a direct flame, you’re all set.
I used wild caught sockeye salmon, as it marries perfectly with the cedar smoke for a distinctly Pacific Northwest inspired flavor profile. I washed the filets and patted dry with a paper towel and placed on the soaked plank. For me, I think it is easier to leave the skin on the filet. I think it may be a personal choice, but for me it holds in the juice and helps the filet stay intact. I keep it real simple; grass fed butter (ie Kerrygold), fresh lemon zest and juice, fresh rosemary sprig, (I used thyme in the pics) sea salt and cracked pepper.
I used my ceramic egg for this…but like I said, it’s a versatile dish, so just pay attention to your temperature. I was able to have this a perfect medium rare in no time at all. The planks will get a little char on them, but won’t go ablaze. You can serve this directly on the planks for a rustic buffet style. Otherwise, they will slide right off intact for a plate presentation. It all depends on how many filets you’re doing.
This also provides an excellent leftover opportunity, if you lucky enough to have some left! I mixed a small dollop of some olive oil mayo and diced dill pickle into my left over salmon to make a smoked salmon salad roll. I spread the mix on a whole wheat tortilla, rolled it up, and cut it sushi style to make an appetizer roll which I topped with some hot pepper sauce served with sliced dill pickles. Truly a bonus left over dish that’s really simple and quite amazing.