Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon

As the weather finally, finally, starts to improve, my thoughts run to sunny days. Throw together meals. Hours spent barbecuing and eating outdoors. I’m a bit premature in my thinking; there’s still a chill in the air, but the sun is out and all the snow has melted. We’re on our way …

I’m a cedar plank hoarder. I started using them several years ago to grill fish and instantly became a fan! The burning wood imparts a delicious smokiness to the food and, depending on your wood choice and food flavorings, a smooth sweetness.  A few summers back they became difficult to find, subsequently I bought them when ever I saw them resulting in many years worth of wood planks sitting on my garage shelf!!  Of course, they are now readily available almost anywhere you buy fish — at least during the warmer months.

_DSC0012I’ve used them as a vehicle for whole red snapper, halibut fillet, cod, tilapia, just about any fish you can think to grill. But my all time favorite is salmon!! You can do very little to it or marinate it for hours, as long as you don’t cook for too long and dry the fish out, it’s always a winner when barbecued on a piece of wood!


I’ve been preparing salmon this way since I first discovered the art of plank grilling. Over time I’ve shared this recipe with family and friends, both as a grilling recipe and as an oven roasting recipe. It’s always a hit, and equally delicious the next day if there’s any leftovers (not usually!).


2 lbs Salmon fillet, preferably inside cut (no tail), if skin is on make sure the scales are removed. You can leave the salmon as one large piece or cut it into individual servings. If it’s in smaller pieces reduce your cooking time.


3 tbsp Olive Oil

1½ tbsp Soy Sauce (gluten-free is available)

4 tbsp Bourbon (substitutions: whiskey, white wine, cranberry juice or apple juice)

1 tsp ground Ginger

1½ tbsp dark Brown Sugar

2” piece fresh Ginger, grated

2 large garlic cloves, grated or finely minced

1 tbsp coarse or whole Grain Mustard (Grainy Dijon)

½ tsp Kosher Salt

1 tsp ground black Pepper

Finishing Sauce

¼-½ cup Vegetable Broth or Apple Juice (may substitute with extra water)

¼ cup Water

1 tsp grainy Mustard

1-2 tsp Maple Syrup


_DSC9978Soak cedar plank in water for 2 hours, or according to the package instructions.

Heat barbecue with lid closed.

_DSC9970Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl. Pour into a ziplock bag. Add salmon and marinate for at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

Remove cedar from water bath.

_DSC9992Take salmon out of marinade and put on cedar plank, skin side down. Spoon a bit extra marinade on top of salmon.

_DSC0001Place the wood with the prepared salmon onto barbecue. Close the lid — leave it closed for the duration of the grilling — cook 9-11 minutes, depending on fillet thickness: whether you have left the salmon as one large piece (11 minutes), or cut into individual servings (9 minutes), and how you prefer your salmon to be cooked. Remember, it continues to cook even after removing from the grill!

_DSC0023While your salmon grills/smokes, pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan. Add veggie broth or apple juice (or a bit of both!), grainy mustard, maple syrup (optional), and water. Bring to a boil, reduce temperature just enough to keep sauce at a strong simmer for 4 minutes. Do not let it boil over — conversely, if it starts to evaporate too much add more broth or water.

_DSC0058Plate your salmon. Pour extra sauce onto the salmon, serve the salmon sitting in a pool of sauce, or offer it in a separate dish on the side.

One thought on “Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *