Hi all, Katie here again. We’re almost half way through our 30-Day Planking Challenge. I thought it made sense to check in with you guys and highlight some of your questions, comments, or concerns.

Questions about the 30-Day Planking Challenge

Here are the key questions we’ve gotten so far:

Why do you have to soak the planks first? Does it have to be for one hour? And how do I keep them under water? Sometimes they float.

You’re right. All of our planking recipes tell you to soak the planks for at least 1 hour. Soaking planks is where the magic happens. The water helps release the fragrant flavor of the wood into your food. Also, it helps with flare-ups – direct flame on dry wood is only good if you want to set it ablaze. For our purposes, we don’t want the wood to catch fire, so soaking the planks helps with that as well. Though occasionally, flare-ups do still happen!

An easy way to soak the planks is to put them in your kitchen sink or in a large baking pan/cookie sheet. You can use lots of different things straight from your kitchen to weigh them down – for me, that’s normally a Mason jar full of beans or lentils that I grab from my cupboard.

What do you mean when you say, “Have a spray bottle of water handy for flare-ups”? You have those instructions in every recipe.

Once again, this is a standard recommended procedure for using our products. Planks – even after being soaked – can dry out (especially on the edges) during cooking. If they dry out they may catch fire. The spray bottle of water is a precaution in case this happens.

I grill with charcoal. Do I need to make modifications to your recipes?

I’m a charcoal griller too and I can tell you that there are no modifications needed. The only challenge you need to overcome is to confirm that your grill has achieved the needed temperature to cook (gas grills often have built in thermometers or temperature controls).

Charcoal grills with thermometers often are measuring the dome temperature and not the grill temperature. I confirm that the grill is hot enough by using a grill thermometer that I purchased at a big box store for under $20.

Can the recipes be used in my oven? If so, how do I do that?

Jule in our office is an oven planker too, so I asked her for any tips. Here’s what she said,

I plank in the oven all the time, so I’m all for oven-planking! My 2 cents’ worth:

I place the plank on the top rack and place an aluminum-lined cookie sheet on the rack beneath to catch any drippings. Easy clean-up!

If it’s meat and I want it a little “crispy,” I may still throw it on the George Foreman (yeah, I use one of those…) for a couple minutes after planking it. Or you can always throw it on the grill for the last couple minutes, of course.

Although flare-ups are unusual in an oven, keep your eye on the recipe to be safe.

Winners and Losers – so far – in the 30-Day Planking Challenge

When I helped develop the recipes for the 30-Day Planking Challenge, I had my favorites, which I was sure would strike a chord with you folks. Well, I’m here to tell you that some of my favorite recipes were big winners, while others – surprise, surprise – missed the mark.

Here’s the lowdown.

Favorite Recipe so far: Cedar Planked Salmon

The original, the quintessential plank recipe still is coming out on top as the favorite so far. Combine its simplicity with its familiarity and you’re sure to have a winner. Here’s the recipe for our Cedar Planked Salmon.

Not the Winner I thought it would be: Cedar Planked Oysters

I love me some oysters and really love me some planked oysters. Many of you do not agree. Maybe it’s the intimidation factor of shucking the oysters. Or maybe y’all are not the oyster aficionados that I am. It’s fair to say this recipe was not considered a pearl. If you’re up for the challenge, here is our Cedar planked oysters with herbed lemon butter recipe.

The Surprise: Maple Planked Olives

Who would’ve thought that Maple Planked Mixed Olives would receive a big thumbs up? I’m guessing that many folks had never tried to plank a food that wasn’t a protein and certainly never thought of ever planking something like olives. So – for pure innovation – this recipe has captured the imagination of many readers.

Well, we’re only about halfway through our 30-Day Planking Challenge. Keep those questions, comments, and photos coming. We hope you are enjoying this event as much as we all are.