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How to use Wood Planks to Infuse Flavor on the Grill

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Now that the Barbecue Season is in full swing why not try out some different cooking techniques on your grill?  Grilling planks and cedar wraps are widely available and have become a Barbecuers favorite method for added wood and smoke flavor.

Check out your local specialist BBQ shop or our Amazon Store for a broad array of options and quick delivery. View Pitmaster Cook Amazon Wood Planks for Barbecue.

These grilling planks have become very popular with both professional and home Pitmasters using them to infuse flavor into food naturally.

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Plank Grilling – What is it?

Commonly known as “Planking “. Place food on a wooden board that has been previously soaked and then set over indirect heat to grill. Planking is especially useful when cooking more delicate foods such as fish and vegetables which often break up on a grill grate.

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Advantages of Planking

Using a plank is a way that ensures that your food gets a deep wood-smoked flavor.

It is more consistent than using woodchips as the flesh of your fish, chicken or vegetables come into direct contact with the charred plank.

Using a plank allows a barrier against the flames. Food will cook slowly and evenly.

It is useful to cook delicate foods on the plank which prevents food from breaking up and falling through the open grates.

Adds great flavor to your food and zero additional calories!

What type of Wood are Planks made from?

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It is important that you select a wood that will complement the food you are grilling. Wood must be untreated and free from any stains or paint.

Cedar:- This is the most popular type of wood. It gives an intense aromatic flavor, in particular, to fish especially salmon’

Cherry:– Exposes foods to a rich woody flavor

Alder:– Adds a mild and mellow woody flavor

Hickory: -Strong and smokey flavors

Maple:– Mild and slightly sweet flavor.

Preparing your Plank

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Place your plank into a tub of water making sure it is completely immersed. Soak the wood for at least one hour before using, but preferably between 1-3 hours. This will stop the wood from catching fire.

If you are looking for a particular flavor, you can add wine, apple or citrus juice into the water to intensify the flavor.

Some cooks prefer to allow the plank to char slightly on the grill before adding the food. This will intensify the flavor but it is a personal choice.

A useful tip is to rub a light coating of oil on the board after soaking just to avoid fish, in particular, from sticking.

What Food can be Grilled on a Plank?

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The answer is any type! Not only will planking improve various meats and vegetables but serving up a wood-roasted whole Camembert Cheese with tortilla wedges is scrumptious! You can use a plank on your grill even to impart a smokey flavor to jalapeno poppers.

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Cooking with the Plank on the Grill

Charcoal Grill: -Allow the fire to burn until a light coating of gray ash covers the coals.  Spread the coals evenly across the bottom of the grill so that the ashes cover an area about 3 inches larger than the plank. This will create an indirect grilling method

Gas Grill:- Ignite the grill and turn the burners onto high. Close the lid and preheat the grill for fifteen mins. Turn the gas grill down to medium heat.

One of the popular dishes is to cook Salmon on planks.

Honey and Ginger Salmon Plank Recipe

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4 medium-sized lemons.

2 teaspoons crushed fresh ginger

1 large piece Salmon Fillet with skin-on (Approx 2 lbs)

¼ cup low salt soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoon honey

2 teaspoons Sriracha hot sauce/or substitute with mild tabasco if you like things cooler

1 crushed clove of garlic


Take a large Cedar plank and soak for 1-2 hours.

Prepare the seasoning for the Salmon. Mix a teaspoon of lemon zest, the ginger, and a little black pepper. Rub over the salmon flesh.

Place the Salmon on the plank skin side down and sprinkle with a little salt.

Place the plank with the fish directly on the grill. It will take up to 50% longer to cook than direct heat. (i.e. pan frying)Grill for about 20 minutes. There is no need to flip the fish.

Whilst it is cooking mix the soy sauce, honey, and Sriracha. Use half of this mixture to glaze the salmon whilst cooking.

When ready serve the salmon directly from the plank garnished with lemon slices.

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Can you Reuse the Planks?

If not too soiled – planks can be soaked and then reused. However, please remember that the flavor of the food will become ingrained in the wood. Therefore, it is best to note which boards were used for fish and which for chicken.

If you have used your board to cook vegetables or cheese, then it is likely you can reuse boards again as the cooking time is usually short.

Don’t use soap to scrub your used plank. Instead soak it for about 8 hours before wiping it off for future use.

Wood – Paper Grilling Wraps

Wrapping food in little ‘gift pouches” has been a long standing tradition in many cultures for centuries.

Why not wrap your food in wood paper? Check our Amazon Store for different varieties. View Wood Paper Grilling Wraps

These are wafer-thin strips of wood which wrap around individual foods. This is a very healthy option to cook seafood, meat and vegetables. The wraps will infuse a smokey flavor into the food.

They are not reusable. The most common wraps are Cedar and Alder. The Cedar is fragrant and spicy whilst the Alder has a more balanced smokiness that lends itself to delicate foods like white fish and shrimp.

Wrap Preparation and Grilling

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Soak the wraps in water first for about ten minutes.

Place the food face down into the center of the wrap in the same direction as the wood grain. Fold so that the edges overlap each other. Tie the wrap with Butcher’s string or even soaked scallions strips which enhance your presentation.

Place on the grate (indirect cooking on a charcoal grill) seam side to the top. Do not turn the wraps. This will allow the juices and steam to remain in the envelope. Cook for about 8-10 minutes depending on the food you are cooking. Note: Gas grillers do NOT close the lid.

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Cook whole chicken fillets on the BBQ grill in a cedar wrap. It is best to brown the exterior of the chicken briefly before stuffing them and then wrapping. The chicken will stay moist (which so often is not the case on an open grill) and maintains its flavor.

Barbecuers have learned that these two simple tools, Planks and Cedar Wraps, will elevate their grill food flavors. Even better – they are available at an attractive price!


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