The Best Cedar Plank Salmon Recipe

Updated on August 26, 2017
Kaili Bisson profile image

Kaili loves to cook—from comfort food to fine cuisine—and was the recipient of a silver medal in a food and wine matching competition.

Perfect bbq salmon on a plank...delicious!

Moist and juicy salmon cooked on a plank
Moist and juicy salmon cooked on a plank | Source

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4.1 stars from 7 ratings of Cedar Plank Salmon

Using planks to cook meat has been around forever

Man has been cooking with and over fire since the beginning of time. Originally, food was placed directly in the fire or on top of hot coals. As humans evolved and became more creative in the kitchen, we began doing things like placing food on branches, planks, and spits to roast over the fire—meaning at least your meat wasn’t covered with ash. Around the globe, different methods of roasting and smoking emerged, including hanging fish or meat over the top of wood fires in order to dry and flavor it. Smokehouses were ultimately built so that greater quantities of food could be smoked at once and the smoky flavor imparted to the food could be controlled.

This is among my favorite salmon recipes. This particular salmon recipe uses a cedar plank because I find that cedar just works well with salmon. Don’t be afraid to try another type of plank. Maple or oak also work well with salmon, though the flavor is noticeably different.

The prep time noted below does not include the time required to soak the plank. Pre-soaking the plank is absolutely a must so that it won't catch fire on the grill. Please refer to Tips for Perfect Planking below.

Ready? Let's get cooking...

The Fannie Farmer cookbook, which has been around for over 100 years (my copy came from my Grandmother) has a recipe for planked steak. The recipe suggests that the “board for planked fish or steak should be of oak, one inch thick. It should be a little longer and wider than the meat or fish to be arranged on it.”

Time required for preparing and cooking the salmon

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 15 min
Ready in: 30 min
Yields: Serves two people 6-7 ounces of salmon each

Cedar Plank Salmon Recipe

  • 2 salmon fillets, 6 or 7 ounces each, skin removed
  • 2 Tbsp your favorite dry rub for fish
  • 1 plank (cedar, oak or maple)


  1. For best results, remove the skin from the salmon fillets. This allows the dry rub flavors to permeate the fish. Your friendly fish monger may be able to skin the fish for you – no charge. If you are skinning the salmon yourself, start at the “fatty” end (see photo) as it is easier to pull skin away from that end. You can use a small paring knife to help. If you don’t get it all off, don’t worry; you can always scrape the dark fat and any remaining skin from the salmon before serving.
  2. Apply the dry rub. Lay the salmon fillets on a plate or some waxed paper. Sprinkle 1 tsp. of the rub back and forth over the top of each of the pieces of salmon. Press the rub into the fish to make it stick, and then roll the fish over. Sprinkle another ½ tsp. on the bottom of each piece and press. Roll the salmon over on its sides to catch the remaining rub. Place the salmon in the fridge uncovered while the plank is soaking – overnight if you can.
  3. Get you grill ready!
  4. About 30 minutes before dinner (or longer for charcoal) get your grill started. If using gas, preheat the grill to 500°F then reduce the heat to medium. If grilling with charcoal, wait until the coals turn gray.
  5. Cook with the lid down to catch the smoke; the trick is to 'smoke' the fish, not simply cook it. I like to set the pre-soaked plank on the grill for about 5-10 minutes by itself, then carefully (it’s VERY hot) place the salmon on the plank. This means the plank has a chance to get smoking a little before the fish is placed on it. ALWAYS have a spray bottle of water nearby and NEVER leave planked food unattended on the bbq.

Remove skin starting at the fatty end of the fillet


Apply the dry rub seasoning in preparation for grilling


Perfectly planked salmon


Tips for perfect planking

  1. You can prepare everything ahead of time. In fact, that is best for both the plank and the fish.
  2. Soak the plank. Soak the plank in water for a good 5 or 6 hours; overnight is even better. I use an old square roasting pan to soak my planks. Place the plank in the pan (or clean pail, or kitchen sink…) and cover with water. You may need to weight it down so it remains submerged. I use a small mixing bowl filled with water to do that, but any heavy (clean) object will do.

Cook time

Because the fish is on a plank and not directly on the grill, cook time is a little higher than usual for grilling salmon. There will be some smoke; don't worry....this is a good thing! If the plank happens to catch fire at the edges, simply spray it with your handy bottle of water. The fish should cook in 10-15 minutes, but this will vary depending on the temperature of your grill and the thickness of the fish; I have seen it take as long as 17 minutes.


I usually use the same pan I soaked the plank in to bring the fish, plank and all, into the kitchen to move it to plates. You can also take the fish off the plank right from the bbq if you prefer (this will also prevent a smoky smell in your house).

Ted Reader shows you how to do it!

Wine pairings

As with salmon dishes generally, a Pinot Noir goes very well with this cedar plank salmon rub. Try to find an earthier, more robust Pinot - think California or Oregon - rather than a light fruit-forward one like the ones from New Zealand.

The earthy nose and concentrated fruit in a Pinot works well with cedar grilled salmon. Try wines from California's Carneros or Russian River. For something a little bolder, Carabella Vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains in Oregon makes a particularly nice Pinot.

Nutrition figures using wild Atlantic salmon (other types of salmon vary)

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 6 ounces
Calories 250
Calories from Fat90
% Daily Value *
Fat 10 g15%
Protein 33 g66%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Questions & Answers


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      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 5 years ago from Canada

        Hi Phyllis, you are so welcome. We made this again last night, even though the temperature was hovering around 0 degrees. Never tire of this dish. PLease let me know what you think once you have had a chance to try it yourself.

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 5 years ago from Canada

        Hi Eddy. Thank you for reading; sorry to be so late responding, but I was on vacation and am still getting caught up. I have another salmon recipe that I will be doing a Hub on in the near future :-)

      • Phyllis Doyle profile image

        Phyllis Doyle Burns 5 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

        Kaili, this is a wonderful recipe that I am very anxious to try. I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and salmon was always one of our favorite meals. I bookmarked this hub so I can easily find it again when I try your recipe.

        Thank you for sharing this.

      • Eiddwen profile image

        Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

        I loved this hub and have to save .

        I now look forward to so many more by you.


      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 5 years ago from Canada

        Hi bridalletter and thank you. Plank cooking is great, and once you try it you will be hooked. Your smoked salmon sounds amazing too...maybe you can write a Hub about it :-)

      • bridalletter profile image

        Brenda Kyle 5 years ago from Blue Springs, Missouri, USA

        Looks like a wonderful rub. I have not tried plank cooking it, that may be a new adventure in fooding. I am smoking a salmon in an electric smoker on Saturday for the first time. Can't wait to taste and smell that dish. I will come back for those cook books listed with your hub, thank you for sharing.

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Thank you em!

      • em_saenz profile image

        em_saenz 6 years ago from Europe

        Very good, original recipe

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Hi ktrapp. You can find them at some grocery stores and at hardware stores that have a good barbeque section. I just looked at and they have a good assortment there, though they seem a little pricier but I think that is because the planks advertized are the really long ones for doing a whole fish. My local fish store carries them in the summer. I have been able to safely get three uses out of a plank. Give it a try and let me know what you think!

      • ktrapp profile image

        Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

        I have to admit, I'm not much of a seafood eater, but I would certainly give this salmon a try. I know it would at least be a hit with my husband and son who love fish. This may seem like a really silly question, but where do you get a plank for this purpose?

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Thank you cardelean...give it a try at your next bbq and please let me know what you think :-)

      • cardelean profile image

        cardelean 6 years ago from Michigan

        I've eaten Salmon cooked on a cedar plank but have never made it before. Your recipe sounds delicious!

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Thanks TToombs08!

      • TToombs08 profile image

        Terrye Toombs 6 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

        Yum. Nothing better than salmon cooked on a cedar plank. :) Great recipe and hub!

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Please do leahlefler and let me know how you like it :-)

      • leahlefler profile image

        Leah Lefler 6 years ago from Western New York

        This looks delicious! I have to try this some day - yum!

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Hi pennylu. Please give this a try and let me know what you think.

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Hi teaches...salmon is my favorite fish too. It is fantastic done on a plank.

      • pennylu profile image

        Penny Lulich 6 years ago from Indiana

        I love salmon! I just bought some plank wood, so I'm really glad you entered this recipe. Yum!

      • teaches12345 profile image

        Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

        Salmon is one of my favorite fish and you have made me salivate at the sight of it! The cedar plank would make it very tasty.

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Thanks DD :-)

      • Daffy Duck profile image

        Daffy Duck 6 years ago from Cornelius, Oregon

        Delicious. Mouth watering. :)

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Thanks Vanderleelie. I love barbecue is too short here.

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Thanks Letitia!

      • profile image

        Vanderleelie 6 years ago

        Good description of an old technique for cooking fish. This method was used by Northwest Coast natives, who had cedar planks and Pacific salmon readily available. Great idea for a summer barbecue!

      • LetitiaFT profile image

        LetitiaFT 6 years ago from Paris via California

        Looks so good I can smell it!

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Hi toomuchmint. Yes, the plank can be reused. I have been able to safely get 3 uses out of most planks. You just need to scrub them under hot water after use (no soap needed) and allow them to dry. Once the wood starts to crack they are no good as planks, but can still be broken up and used as chips.

      • toomuchmint profile image

        toomuchmint 6 years ago

        Great hub! I'm not much of a bbq'er, and I'd never heard of planking (except the weird Internet meme).

        It seems much easier than wood chip smoking methods.

        Can you reuse the plank?

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Thank you lindacee. Maybe you can talk a friend into hosting a bbq party :-)

      • lindacee profile image

        lindacee 6 years ago from Arizona

        OMG, my mouth is watering. I haven't done cedar plank salmon in a long time. Now I live in an apartment that doesn't allow grilling. Sniff! I'm bookmarking this Hub for future reference and will try your recipe as soon as humanly possible. Sounds delish! Voted up and useful.

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Hi aviannovice...give it a try, you will be hooked. I have been experimenting with different rubs and planks, and it is addictive.

      • aviannovice profile image

        Deb Hirt 6 years ago from Stillwater, OK

        Sounds like a good recipe. I never did anything on planks before...

      • Kaili Bisson profile image

        Kaili Bisson 6 years ago from Canada

        Hi glad you enjoyed this recipe. The aroma when this is cooking will make you even hungrier :-)

      • billybuc profile image

        Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

        My stomach is growling as I finish reading this hub! Thanks a lot for making me hungry! :) Great hub!


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