How to Grill on a Cedar Plank

Cook, How-To, Learn

I was sipping a crisp Sauvignon Blanc in a tasting room up in Sonoma when conversation turned to food.


“You know what’s great with this wine?” said the tasting room employee pouring my wine (and thus, my new best friend). “Salmon grilled on a cedar plank.”


My first reaction was, huh?

It’s true, I’m a newbie when it comes to cedar-plank grilling. But I’ve learned that the flavor and texture produced by cedar are unparalleled — subtly smoky and unbelievably moist. Trust me, this cedar grilling plank will be mine before the weather truly heats up.


Salmon and cedar make a delicious combination, but shrimp, lobster and even chicken benefit from the wood. To get started, soak the plank in water for about an hour and then fire up the grill for direct-heat grilling. Place the plank on the grill, close the lid and let the plank heat up for about five minutes.


Lay the fish or meat on the untreated plank (for extra flavor, place herbs like fresh dill or fennel fronds between the food and the plank). Then set the plank directly on the grill rack, close the lid and cook until the fish or meat is done to your liking. Beware: the cedar will smoke! But it’s the smoke that infuses the food with rich, irresistible flavor.


And remember to open a bottle of refreshing white wine to pour alongside.


Check out these Williams-Sonoma recipes and get grilling:

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