One of the ultimate sandwiches of our childhood to be served in my house when there was no real plan for dinner. I’ve carried on the tradition for years with many variations of flavor, driven by whatever was found in my fridge. Tuna melts hold a warm spot in my heart so I wanted to share a way to elevate a food memory of mine that doesn’t take any additional time to make.

Total Time: 35 min
Servings: 4


  • Alder Grilling Planks
  • 12-14 oz canned tuna in water, 2-3 cans depending on the size
  • 1 ½ C spicy dill pickles, chopped
  • ½ C mayonnaise
  • ¼ C shallots, chopped fine
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped fine
  • 3 Tbsp flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp stone ground mustard, or dijon
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 thick slices of sharp cheddar, minimum
  • 4 slices of fresh sourdough bread
  • Olive oil

Chef's Tip

Don’t skimp on the fat in this recipe. Mayo is recommended but you can use greek yogurt, Mexican crema, crème fraîche, or whatever you prefer. If you skimp on the fat, this will come out drier than you’ll probably prefer. Also try to use the highest quality of canned tuna, it will make all the difference. I recommend the tuna in water from Kirkland as an accessible option.


  1. Soak the 2 Alder Planks in hot water for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Set up your grill for indirect grilling, aim for 400 degrees F.
  3. Chop the shallots, pickles, and celery about the same size – to your preference. Too large and the mixture won’t hold together well, I recommend no bigger than ¼” pieces.
  4. Drain the water from the canned tuna.
  5. Mix the chopped ingredients with the tuna, mayonnaise, and spices. Taste, adjust.
  6. Make 2 generous portions of the tuna mix for each plank, 4 portions in total.  Top with slices of cheese and place the planks in the smoker.
  7. Check after about 15 minutes to make sure the cheese is melted to your preference. It might take up to 25 minutes depending on how much cheese you put on.
  8. Lightly oil the bread, and place on the grates next to the planks. They will only take about 5 minutes to toast. Do not flip, only toast 1 side.
  9. To serve, use a spatula and transfer the tuna melt to the toasted side of the bread. Pro Tip: put a small dap of mayo on the bread before you place the tuna, it will help it stick and bring the flavors together.


*Keep a spray bottle of water handy in case of flare-ups.

Used in this recipe:

Alder Grilling Plank