Cedar Plank–Grilled Salmon

Cedar plank-grilled salmon. All you need is a cedar plank, salmon, salt, pepper, soy, ginger, and a grill. So little fuss. So much magnificence.

Half of a whole salmon on a cedar plank over glowing coals.

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.)  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.)

Cedar Plank-Grilled Salmon

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 15 M
  • 40 M
  • Serves 4
5/5 - 4 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the The Japanese Grill cookbook

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



Soak the cedar planks in water to cover for 12 or so hours.

Blot the planks dry with paper towels. Soak a new paper towel in olive oil and brush it along one side of each plank.

Season the salmon with salt to taste and let it rest at room temperature for 15 minutes.

Mix together the oil, wasabi, sugar, soy sauce, and ginger in a small bowl.

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.

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.

Discard the planks after dinner, once they’ve cooled completely.

Print RecipeBuy the The Japanese Grill cookbook

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

The recipe, as written, is spot on and resulted in a delicious piece of fish with a very complex flavor that belied the simple preparation and quick cooking time. This recipe will literally turn your run-of-the-mill salmon into a rockstar, basking in all the adoration and adulation it deserves. I kid you not when I say my seven-year-old son, while solemnly placing a hand on his chest, stated, “This salmon has married my heart.” That alone warrants a 10 in my book.

My Primal Grilling cedar planks were 7/16 inch thick and came with a suggested soaking time of 1 to 2 hours. We chose 2 hours. This worked just fine as the planks did not catch fire and only smoldered around the edges. I would like to caution against tasting the marinade prior to cooking—I almost blew out my sinuses (if there was a “laughing hysterically at self” emoji, it would go here). But do not panic! Although I don’t understand the science behind it, the heat from the grill tempers wasabi’s hostile set-your-face-on-fire kick.

Two golden fillet of cedar plank–grilled salmon on wood

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.


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  1. Very good. I forgot to add the sugar before we put it on the grill. It needs a little sweet but it was fine without it. Would definitely make this again. When I make it next time I will use a little honey instead of sugar.

    1. Thanks for letting us know, Arlene. We’re so happy you enjoyed it. We can’t wait to hear what you try next!

  2. This looks great and I’ve already prepared the dressing. Just wondering if I use skinned salmon fillets and place them directly on the cedar plank ?

  3. 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.

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