BBQ Plank Salmon

READY IN: 1hr 40mins




  • Seriously, read this thoroughly first. Cooking planks is a fire hazard if handled carelessly. Your home is not worth the best salmon you'll ever have. Almost, though. Also important, farm raised salmon has been consistently found to be the MOST TOXIC meat produced for consumption. Don't trust me, Google it! This makes preserving wild salmon runs that much more important.
  • An hour and a half prior to cooking soak your plank in water for at least 45 minutes. hot water's best. This is important to keep it from catching fire in the BBQ.
  • After soaked, place rinsed salmon on plank skin down. No flesh should be hanging off the edges, this makes picking a fillet's size really important because it is easier to pick the size of fillet than find or cut a plank to fit the fish. I use planks packaged and marked for this. Don't waste your time with cedar BBQ envelopes/pockets. These products are crap.
  • Again, with the skin down, spread your mustard over the pink flesh to cover but not to smother.
  • Sprinkle paprika or cayenne pepper on fillet to your taste preference.
  • Let rest until cooking time. Meanwhile, prepare BBQ to a high heat and get together the tools/instruments you are going to use to remove the burnt plank from the grill. Keep these close by and ready. Also, consider where are you going to let the plank with an underside covered in red hot embers rest? Think this through thoroughly!
  • You're going to lay the plank directly on the grill to cook the fish. As the damp wood starts to burn it will smoke the fish. It creates a lot of smoke, so BBQ placement might have to be evaluated.
  • When your grill is ready place planked fish on grill and cover. Vent the BBQ medium, you want to retain as much smoke around the fish, but not suffocate your heat source. Cooking takes about 10 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of your fillet. If you know how to test steak for rareness, the fillet should feel medium. Remember to let the meat rest and allow for it to finish cooking off the grill, so pulling it a little early is a good thing.
  • Now, removing the plank is serious business! ITS UNDERSIDE WILL BE BURNING RED HOT AND WILL CATCH OTHER WOOD ON FIRE IF YOU LET THEM STAY IN CONTACT! I use a heavy duty spatula to support one end and a strong pair of cooking tongs that allow me to really grip the plank tightly for the other end. Your goal is to find something that will hold the plank so tightly WITHOUT DAMAGING FISH that you can hold it with one hand if necessary, and it will likely be necessary. Let the meat rest 5 minutes before serving. I put mine on the hot-plate burner cover of my gas grill. Its metal, making it safe.
  • Alternatively, you do not need to use mustard for a good plank salmon. It's better with it, even on premium king fillets. It just is. And, cedar planks are likely easier to find. I have used a 1X9X2' of cedar I bought at a local hardware store to cook this recipe and it worked beautifully. the guys at the store assured me that the processing of the wood did not include toxic chemicals.