Cedar Plank–Grilled Salmon

Cedar plank-grilled salmon. So few ingredients. So little fuss. So much magnificence.

Cedar Plank-Grilled Salmon Recipe

Knowing how to make cedar plank-grilled salmon means yes, you can ensure your pricey catch won’t stick to the grill grate or slip through it while while you imbue it with a subtle smokiness. (As the authors of this recipe note, the skin will stick to the plank during grilling, but that’s okay. Just leave it on the plank and revel in the rest of the fish.) This recipe has been updated. Originally published June 20, 2011.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Buy Salmon

We know it can be intimidating when confronted by all those terms scribbled on those maddeningly teensy signs alongside fish at the seafood counter. You know, like “Atlantic” and “farmed” and “organic” and so on. But instead of launching into the merits of wild versus farm-raised or deciphering what, if anything, “organic” means when it comes to anything pulled from the sea, we’ll simply state that in the Pacific Northwest, late spring and early summer still constitutes wild salmon season. So all you really need to look for are signs that state “wild” and “Pacific” and “salmon.” If you want to take things a little more complicated, know that “King” referring to a mild, idyllic, fatty fat fat variety of salmon and “sockeye” an über-rich, more robustly colored–and flavored–variety. (We’re partial to King. But that’s just us.)

Special Equipment: Four 1/8-inch-thick cedar planks, 8 to 10 inches long

Cedar Plank-Grilled Salmon Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 40 M
  • Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the plank
  • Four 6- to 8-ounce skin-on salmon fillets (or substitute arctic char or trout)
  • 2 tablespoons prepared wasabi (that is wasabi paste from a jar or a tube)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or tamari for a gluten-free option)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • Salt

Directions

  • 1. Soak the cedar planks in water to cover for 12 or so hours.
  • 2. Blot the planks dry with paper towels. Soak a new paper towel in olive oil and brush it along one side of each plank.
  • 3. Season the salmon with salt to taste and let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.
  • 4. Mix together the oil, wasabi, sugar, soy sauce, and ginger in a small bowl.
  • 5. Using paper towels, wipe off any moisture that accumulates on the surface of the salmon. Place each fillet, skin side down, on the oiled side of a cedar plank and generously brush the top of each fillet with some of the marinade.
  • 6. Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium-hot. Place the planks on the grill, cover, and cook until the salmon fillets begin to split on top, the marinade bubbles, and the salmon is cooked to the desired doneness, about 8 minutes, depending on the thickness. (The planks may smolder a little, but that’s okay.) Let the salmon rest a few minutes before wiggling a metal spatula between the salmon skin and the fillet and easing the fillet portion of the salmon from the skin, which will remain attached to the planks. Serve the salmon immediately.
  • 7. Discard the planks after dinner, once they’ve cooled completely.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Kim Graham

Aug 26, 2017

We loved this salmon. The cedar imparted an undertone of sweet smokiness, and the marinade mirrored the sweetness without overwhelming the fish. It tasted fantastic and was also quick and easy to make. We found it needed an additional 15 minutes (beyond the eight stated in the recipe) on our grill before the marinade started to bubble, and at that point our salmon was done perfectly and still was very moist. We served it with very simple sides: steamed rice and sautéed broccoli florets.

Rita C.

Aug 26, 2017

If you’re afraid to grill fish because of it sticking to the grill or falling apart, then this cedar plank-grilled salmon recipe is for you! It's a great weeknight grilling dish—as long as you remember to soak the planks ahead of time. Easy to prepare, with delicious Asian flavors. The wasabi amount was a lot, so adjust it to your taste. The bite is a nice offset to the fattiness of the salmon. Delicious.

Dan Kraan

Aug 26, 2017

The grilled salmon came off of the cedar plank very easily. It was really moist and tender! Despite the amount of wasabi, the glaze wasn’t harsh at all. In fact, the Asian flavours have quite an addictive quality, and I’m glad to have had a bit of the glaze left over. I brushed a little over the salmon at the table to heighten the flavour experience. Notes: 1. Soaking time may vary. My cedar plank was a tad thinner than 1/8-inch, and cooking only took about 30 minutes. 2. The skin remained on the plank when I removed the salmon, which was rather nice, as a lot of people don’t like the texture of it.

Eydie Desser

Aug 26, 2017

This Asian-style cedar plank-grilled salmon recipe is easy and delicious. The recipe suggests soaking the cedar plank overnight. I’ve used cedar planks on many occasions, and have found that you only need to soak it for 4 hours or so. The one tip I learned from this recipe is to oil the cedar plank. I don’t know why I never thought of this before, but it sure helps in removing the fish. The marinade comes together very quickly, and the wasabi gives it a nice tang. I used Wild Copper River Salmon and California sea bass. They both turned out wonderful. I might try, next time, adding less sugar. It wasn’t too sweet, but I think I’d have liked more of the wasabi heat and tang to shine through.

Amy C.

Aug 26, 2017

This cedar plank-grilled salmon recipe was super delicious and very easy. Soaking the cedar planks should be in bold at the top of the recipe because I almost forgot that step! As long as you follow the recipe exactly as stated, you’ll have a very yummy dinner.

Caroline Chang

Aug 26, 2017

This recipe offers a lot of flavor for being so quick and easy. The only prep to do is to soak the cedar planks in the morning or night before. I used a charcoal grill, so the salmon took about 4 minutes longer to cook. I’d gauge that my temperature was more of a medium than medium-hot. The fish still turned out incredibly moist. If I could change anything about the recipe, it would be the glaze—I found it to be a little on the sweet side. I might dial back the sugar or add more wasabi or soy next time.

Ellen Fuss

Aug 26, 2017

This cedar plank-grilled salmon recipe is a delicious way to grill salmon, but it comes with a few precautions. My gas grill cooks very hot, so I chose to use the indirect grill method. Even with that, my cedar plank charred and burned. I sprayed it with water during cooking, but the board couldn’t possibly be used again (is it supposed to be?) with this technique. It took about 25 minutes to cook my salmon to an internal temperature of 135°F. I wonder if we can substitute for powdered wasabi, as each tube of wasabi costs $2.49—and a full tube is needed for this recipe. Overall, though, the fish was moist, flavorful and a bit smoky—a winner. The recipe is perfect, but the technique needs to be refined for different grills.

Comments

  1. This sounds amazing. I have been wanting to get some cedar planks to try something like this. The japanese flavorings really add something.  I want some badly!

  2. I’ve done something very similar at the campsite and home, but changed the base for sliced leeks and spring onions in the base of a covered pan. Added a smokey tang by using a touch of a BBQ sauce in the marinade, then baked on top of a wood grill for the first 10 minutes, then lifted the lid for the last piece. Served on top of massed potato which had a sour cream / seed mustard/ horseradish mixture blended through.

    Always a hit with the team – especially when the salmon is line caught that morning at the local salmon farm down the road

  3. Two tips:

    1. Cedar planks can be re-used if not too charred.
    2. A soaked plank can be stored in the freezer – ready for use at the last minute.

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