Being in the grilling plank business, we’ve tried cooking everything from a Twinkie to lamb chops on grilling planks. We definitely encourage experimentation, but we do have some recommendations for food that pairs really well with the delicious smoky flavor that Cedar planks impart.
Technically, anything edible can be cooked on a Cedar plank. Some ingredients produce better results than others, let’s identify some of our favorites:
Salmon is without a doubt the most common and well-known item cooked on Cedar planks. Prior to cooking, the Cedar plank should be soaked in warm water for 15 minutes. As the Cedar plank is heated the moisture pulls wood flavor out of the wood and gently cooks the salmon. Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest have been cooking salmon on Western Red Cedar for thousands of years.
Fish and Shellfish
Most fish and shellfish cooked on a plank will produce the same delicious results you’ve come to love with salmon.
Chicken and Pork
White meat also works very well on Cedar planks as it takes on the fresh wood flavors well and the chances of losing natural juices are lessened. This particularly applies to pork and chicken, which can dry out easily.
Vegetables like asparagus, bell peppers, carrots, zucchini and mushrooms work very well on Cedar planks as they really benefit from the gentle cooking process. The aromatic Cedar flavor is a healthy way to season vegetables without adding calories.
Fruit like pineapple, apples and most stone fruits pair very well with the flavor of Cedar. A great example of this is our Cedar Planked Pears with Bourbon & Dried Fruit Compote and Cedar Planked Peaches.
Steaks take on the flavor of Cedar well, and although the taste is there it is very difficult to get a good sear on the meat, wood just does not get that hot. Don’t rule out beef altogether, large cuts like prime rib can be seared and then roasted on the plank for delicious results.
Lamb is another meat that tends to dry out easily, but cooking it on a Cedar plank will keep the meat juicy and add a delicious smokiness. Our Cedar Planked Herb-Stuffed Lamb is a great recipe for a special occasion.
Semi soft cheeses with a rind like brie and camembert work beautifully on Cedar planks. Softer cheeses also work with the support of a Cedar grilling wrap, like our Cedar Wrapped Boursin with Walnuts, Cranberries and Rosemary.
Harder cheeses work great as a stuffing but can melt too much and lose their shape as a stand-alone ingredient.
Just about anything
So, to answer our original question, “what can you cook on a Cedar plank?” You can cook just about anything. Fish, particularly salmon, vegetables, fruit, pork, chicken and some cheeses just do better than others.
Matt worked his first kitchen job in the country of Malta at the age of 15. He has worked as a restaurant Chef in Arizona, Maine, Spain, the UK, Oregon and finally North Idaho. Now the Executive Chef at Wildwood Grilling, he thoroughly enjoys his day job.