I Cooked This! Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon


Many South Sound Foodies would say you’re not a true Northwesterner until you’ve cooked and eaten salmon.  I recently found a set of cedar grilling planks for $2 at a garage sale, so I vowed to myself I would try my hand at grilling salmon the moment I saw it on sale at the market. I tried the recipe that came with the cedar planks. It is the first time I cooked salon, so I am no longer a salmon virgin! The paprika and cracked black pepper give the rub a strong, robust, flavor. And the cedar planks infuse a wonderful aroma and delightfully smoky undertones.

Level: Moderate

Cook time: Prep: 4 hours 15 minutes. Cook time: 8-22 minutes



1. Prepare your cedar plank. In a flat container such as a roasting pan, submerge your cedar plank in water. Make sure to put a weight such as a brick on top of the plank to keep it submerged. If desired, mix in a few tablespoons of salt in the water. Some chefs say the salt enhances the flavor of the cedar when it comes time to cook the salmon.  Allow to soak in water for 4 hours

2. Prepare your Dry Rub Seasoning

Dry Rub Seasoning:

In a bowl Combine:

  • 1 TSP ground black pepper
  • 1 TSP granulated garlic
  • 1 TSP dried basil
  • 1 TBS paprika
  • 1 TBS Kosher Salt
  • 2 TBS light brown sugar
  1. De-bone your salmon filet. Video: How to filet a salmon. If you’ve gotten a pre-cut filet from your supermarket or fish monger, you may still need to remove some of the pin bones. To do this, feel along the upper part of the filet. You will feel some hard spots where the bones are located and will see little white spots where the bones may be protruding. Remove these with tweezers. At this point, you may remove the skin, but it is not necessary. During cooking the skin will add an extra layer of flavor and crisp up to add additional texture to the fish. It will slide off easily after the fish is cooked.


4. Place your salmon filet on a sheet of wax paper and coat both sides of the salon, pressing gently to make sure the rub sticks to the fish. Squeeze juice of one small lemon on fish. Keep in the fridge, uncovered, until ready to cook.

dry rub

  1. Preheat your grill.
  • To light a gas grill, open the lid. Turn the gas valve to “on” and ignite the grill as directed by the manufacturer. Turn the burners on high. Close the lid and preheat the grill for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium.

Tip: To test the level of heat, carefully place the palm of your hand at the level of the grill rack and count the number of seconds you can hold it in that position. If the heat is low, you should be able to hold your hand in the position for 6 seconds. If the heat is medium, you should be able to hold your hand in the position for about 4 seconds. If the heat is high, you should be able to hold your hand in the position for 2 seconds.

For charcoal grills,  arrange coals evenly across the bottom of the grill, covering an area 3 inches larger on all sides than the plank the coals are too hot, raise the grill rack, spread the coals apart, close the vents halfway, or remove some briquettes.

  • If the coals are too cool, use long-handled tongs to tap ashes off the burning coals, move coals together, add briquettes, lower the rack, or open the vents. MORE TIPS ON GRILLING
  1. Place your plank on the grill and allow it to heat for five minutes. You know you are ready to cook when you hear a crackling sound and the plank begins to smoke.
  1. Place salmon on the grill and close the lid. Allow to cook anywhere from 8-22 minutes, depending on size and thickness of your salmon. You know your filet is cooked when the meat begins to flake easily when you insert a fork into the thickest part of the filet.
  1. Serve garnished with lemon slices or topped with pesto sauce. Salmon can  be eaten alone or used in a variety of ways. You can top toast with it, use it as a protein in an omlet, add it to salads or pasta or substitute it for chicken in a quesadilla!

Note: This recipe used sockeye salmon, but any variety may be used.


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