Roasting fish and game on fragrant cedar or alder planks produces exceptionally moist meat that is subtly flavored by the wood's essential oils. Excellent for salmon, lobster, trout and chicken, the technique is simple to replicate on a home grill by using natural wood planks.
First, immerse the plank completely in a large bin or strong plastic bag filled with water, and soak for 20 minutes to 4 hours. Prepare a medium fire in a grill. Keep a spray bottle of water handy to extinguish any flare-ups on the plank. Place the plank on the grill, close the lid, and heat until the plank begins to smoke and crackle. Arrange the food on the plank, close the lid and cook to desired doneness. The plank will smoke lightly, infusing the food with its distinctive sweet, woodsy flavor.
To add moisture and herbal notes, place a bed of fresh dill, fennel fronds, bay leaves or rosemary sprigs between the food and the plank before cooking.
For more information about grilling with a cedar plank, see the manufacturer's instructions.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma, Essentials of Grilling, by Denis Kelly, Melanie Barnard, Barbara Grunes & Michael McLaughlin (Oxmoor House, 2003).
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