Being a team member of Wildwood Grilling makes me a welcomed target for grilling questions on a daily basis. Most of the questions or concerns are about basic use of grilling planks. I always tell people how simple and fun it is to use planks to infuse that smoky flavor into their favorite foods. However, I have been thinking lately that the fact that I grill this way so often had jaded my perception of how others view the process.
I figured I would share some tricks that I have learned from my experiences on the grill, so you can jump right into the comfort zone on your first try!
One of the biggest upsides to planking is how convenient it can make grilling. But just like anything else, it is not without its occasional issues.
These three tips are ways that I have learned to combat possible issues, and make grilling with planks even easier.
Planking Tip #1: Keep It on Ice
First Possible Issue:
Remembering to soak your plank for 1-2 hours, or having space to soak multiple planks while prepping other things.
When you are planning a meal with planked entrees, sides, or desserts, it is easy to forget your first step. Soaking the planks. I have done this on multiple occasions, and it can really increase issues with flare-ups on the grill. Having a properly soaked plank allows it to smolder, instead of burn up. Smolder equals smoke that truly infuses the natural flavors of the wood into your food. If you are planning to use multiple planks in one meal, finding the available space and soaking receptacles can also be a hassle.
Well, my friends, I have the answer to both issues for you!
Soak and freeze your planks ahead of time.
At this very moment, I have a bunch of frozen, pre-soaked planks in my freezer. Take a night when you are ordering in pizza, and soak those planks while waiting for the doorbell to ring. It is super easy to make space when all you’re doing is prepping planks. Once they are fully submerged for 1-2 hours, place your planks into a large freezer bag (a couple per bag) to protect from bacteria, and pop them in your freezer.
Next time you feel the need to grill up some smoky goodness, grab a plank from the freezer. Let it sit out at room temperature for 5 minutes, and BOOM! Good to grill!
Planking Tip #2: Fighting the Flare-Up
Second Possible Issue:
Even though you have soaked the plank properly, you are still having issues with flare-ups.
You might think that I am going to say keeping a spray bottle around will help you take care of any possible flare-ups. You are correct, because it does! Use the spray bottle lightly so the plank keeps smoldering.
However, this is not tip/trick #2!
Keeping a spray bottle handy will help put flare-ups in their place, but total plank coverage will almost completely stop them from occurring at all. Making sure that the whole plank is covered with your choice of protein, veggies, fruits, etc. will all but permanently boot flare-ups from your grilling party.
With run of the mill grilling, leaving space in between what you are cooking is the norm. When planking, load those boards to the gills (especially if it is salmon) and say goodbye to Mr. Flare! This will allow you to keep the grill lid closed for the majority of the cooking time. Keeping the temp where you want it, and the smoke flavor strong!
Planking Tip #3: Keep It Simple!
Third Possible Issue:
You have planked a super complicated dish, and it hasn’t come out the way you anticipated.
This one is pretty self-explanatory. I love planking new things! The more my initial reaction is, “should I really plank that?” the more fun it is to try. Not only can a little R&D be a whole lot of fun, it has produced some crazy delicious dishes. You can try planking just about anything if the idea pops into your head.
The one thing you want to keep in mind, is simplicity works best! Limiting your ingredients will help to make sure you are highlighting the natural essence of your food along with the rich flavors of the wood. That’s the whole point of using a grilling plank, right? Using too many strong flavors will overpower those aspects that make your taste buds dance in the first place!
Not only will using a large amount of ingredients muddy the flavors, but it will drown your process in prep. One of the biggest benefits of planking is the ease it provides while grilling. Not having to worry about a 15 step recipe will free you up to enjoy your surroundings, family, friends, and just grilling in general!
By keeping these three things in mind, you will be planking your way into the stomachs and hearts of your loved ones every time!
Hello Everybody! Nate Adam here again to talk about three tips to make sure every planking experience is as easy and enjoyable as possible.