COOK

Four Tips to a Successful Smoky Cedar-Plank Salmon

June 08, 2017 | PHOTOGRAPHY BY SCOTT HUNTER

Impress your guests with this woodsy, maple backyard BBQ hit.

 
The technique of using a cedar plank on a backyard grill yields delightfully delicious results, perfect for a casual dinner on the deck with friends. The salmon soaks up a light, woodsy, smoky taste from the cedar while the maple-mustard glaze adds a subtle sweetness. What better way to celebrate Canada than with some traditional flavours and ingredients of our great nation?

 

CEDAR PLANK SALMON: (Serves 4)

  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 1-1/2 lb centre-cut salmon fillet
  • salt and pepper

 

 

 

TO PREPARE:

  • Mix together maple syrup, mustard, lemon zest and thyme; set them aside.
  • Trim any skinny edges from the salmon. Place skin side down on soaked cedar plank. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Brush all over with maple syrup mixture.
  • Place plank on grill over medium-high heat. Close lid and grill until salmon flakes easily, 15 to 18 minutes depending on thickness. Transfer plank to cooling rack. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

 

TIPS FOR SUCCESS:

  • Soak cedar plank for at least two hours before using. While the wood will burn on the bottom and around the edges, soaking slows this and prevents the plank from going up in flames entirely.
  • Choose thick (at least one-inch) centre-cut salmon fillets for best results. The uniform thickness of centre-cut fillets from end to end means even cooking and moist tender salmon with every bite. If you can't find a centre-cut fillet, fold the skinny end (the tail end) under itself to match the thickness at the other end.
  • Because the salmon is not directly on the heat source it takes a little longer to cook, about 10 to 12 minutes per inch of flesh. Salmon is done to perfection when the flesh yields at little to gentle pressure or flakes easily.
  • Have a cooling rack ready to transfer the fish to when done. The bottom of the plank is red-hot and likely still smoking. Let the salmon cool on the plank for five minutes (outside, unless you want the smoke detector blaring!) before serving. 

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