This was our first time making Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon. It was so delicious and pretty (and easy to do!) that I thought I’d share it with you.
Since this posting we’ve made Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon many times, and it’s the best way to prepare salon, in my opinion!
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Moist and delicious salmon
We got a huge piece of King Salmon. I’m not really sure how big it was. But, it was delicious! We never really had salmon until some friends had us over for dinner at their house (thanks Mike & Mary!), and they grilled salmon like this. So, really, this is their recipe, I’m just tagging onto their tasty food!
The fish turns out moist and delicious with a smokey flavor from the cedar plank. The herbs and spices in the seasoning rub really kick up the flavor. And this is a great quick way to get dinner on the table.
Soak the cedar planks
The fish was frozen and in a plastic bag, so I soaked it along with the cedar plank in a sink full of water for an hour.Keep the salmon in the plastic bag during this 1 hour soaking.
You’ll need to soak the cedar planks so they smoke rather than burn (which is actually kind of funny when you read the story below!). You can buy Cedar Grilling Planks on Amazon or I’ve also found them at my grocery store.
Soak the salmon
Then I took the salmon out of the plastic and soaked it in a salt water brine for 10 minutes. This helps get any blood off the fish, and helps it to stay moist. After brining, pat the fish dry with a paper towel.
Such an amazing piece of fish. The colors and flavors of salmon are just great.
Random Salmon fact of the day… Trout are part of the salmon family. And, a rainbow trout is a freshwater fish that if he swims to the ocean he becomes a Steelhead, which is a Salmon.
Second random fact of the day… We were told once by a fishmonger that all seafood is frozen once it’s caught (just think about how far it has to come from the ocean to the store, and how that shipping would go if they didn’t freeze it). So, if you’re buying the stuff from the “fresh” counter, the only things you don’t know are how long it’s been defrosted, or even how many times it’s been defrosted and refrozen. His suggestion, always buy frozen seafood.
There you go, you learned something new today.
Seasoning the salmon
Williams-Sonoma Potlatch Seasoning This is a great flavorful spice rub. It was delish on the salmon, which it’s meant for. I also tried it on Swordfish, and it was great on that too. It has some salt, paprika, chile pepper, oregano, basil, and more. Just the right spices for fish.
Place the salmon on the soaked cedar plank, skin side down, sprinkle the spice rub all over the salmon, and rub it in a little to coat the fish.
Grilling the salmon
Preheat the grill to medium-high, and when the grill is hot, place the cedar plank with the salmon on it, onto the grill grates, and close the grill lid. There’s no need to turn or flip the salmon either; with the cedar plank under it, the fish is protected from direct heat. And, since there’s an oven effect with the lid down, the salmon gets a nice even cooking. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.
This piece was very large, and I think it’s better to know how to test for doneness in fish rather than going strictly by time. You want the fish to be tender and cooked through when pierced with a knife. You can also test for doneness by pressing on the fish with your finger; it should break into clean flakes when fully cooked.
Sometimes we will use two forks to look in between the flakes of fish and make sure the fish is fully cooked, uniform in color, and still moist. Remove the fish from the grill. Cover with aluminum foil or parchment paper for 5 minutes, and let rest.
Now, in our case, this piece of salmon was so large that the cedar plank did catch on fire. You can see it start to catch in the picture above. And, if you go back and look at the picture at the top, you’ll see what was left of the plank after it burned all around the fish. Some quick thinking on my husband’s part to turn off the grill and spray a little water around the fire put it out lickedy split!
We took the salmon and the plank off the grill (using large grill spatulas), and to our delight, only the plank that wasn’t touching anything burned. The plank right under the fish was just fine, and the fish was done perfectly! Our joke after that was, “once the plank catches fire, the fish is done”.
Freshly grilled salmon for dinner
The Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon, perfectly cooked, moist and tender with all those yummy spices. Yum!
Dinner of Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon with grilled onion slices, a big salad with lots of veggies, and a glass of wine for me (a beer for the husband). Oh, it was good! Have you ever tried doing your own Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon? I found it to be fresh and yummy.
Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon Recipe
Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon
- 1 large salmon fillet
- Cedar planks
- Potlatch seasoning or other fish seasoning rub of choice
Place the cedar planks in a large tub or sink filled with cool water. If your salmon is frozen, place the frozen salmon, still in the plastic bag, in the sink along with the cedar planks. Soak 1 hour.
- Add 1-2 teaspoons of salt to the tub full of water. Remove the salmon from the plastic bag, and soak the salmon in the salted water, or brine, for 10 minutes.
- After brining, remove the fish and the cedar planks from the water, and pat dry with a paper towel or clean cotton towel.
- Place the salmon on the soaked cedar plank, skin side down, sprinkle the spice rub all over the salmon, and rub it in a little to coat the fish.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high, and when the grill is hot, place the cedar plank with the salmon on it, onto the grill grates, and close the grill lid. There’s no need to turn or flip the salmon either; with the cedar plank under it, the fish is protected from direct heat. And, since there’s an oven effect with the lid down, the salmon gets a nice even cooking. The cooking time will depend on the thickness of the fish.
- It’s better to know how to test for doneness in fish rather than going strictly by time. You want the fish to be tender and cooked through when pierced with a knife or opened a little with two forks. You can also test for doneness by pressing on the fish with your finger; it should be break into clean flakes, and be uniform in color when fully cooked.
- Remove the fish from the grill. Cover with aluminum foil or parchment paper for 5 minutes, and let rest.