Taking your grilling to the next level can be as easy as introducing a wooden grilling plank into your collection of grilling supplies. Grilling on a wooden plank will infuse your foods with smoky, aromatic flavors that are sure to leave your guests wanting more and inquiring about your grilling secrets. Here’s a few tips to get you on your way to grilling with a wooden plank and stepping up your flavor profile a few notches.
How to Choose a Plank:
Cedar Planks are of course the most popular type of grilling plank, and provide food with a robust smoky flavor. However, there’s a few other wood types that also are stellar on the grill. Alder wood planks tend to infuse the food with a mild smoky flavor and hints of vanilla. Hickory planks leave food with a deliciously robust smoky flavor. Maple and cherry wood can also be used and infuse more sweet and bright smoky tones to foods. Choose a plank that will compliment the flavors of your meat or fish. Salmon for instance is especially tasty on a cedar plank.
Preparing your Plank:
Remove your grilling plank from its packaging and note if it has any special instructions. Typically to prevent the plank from starting on fire you want to soak it for a substantial amount of time. Many planks will recommend an hour of soaking in water before grilling, however it is advisable to soak for a minimum of 2 hours, or up to overnight. Once you submerge your plank in water you’ll want to weigh it down with something so that it doesn’t float to the top, a dish or bowl filled with water and placed atop the plank would do just fine. After ample soaking, remove the plank from the water and dry the side that the fish will be placed on. Next brush the dried side with a bit of oil to prevent any food from sticking to it.
Prepare your Food:
If you are going to season your meat before grilling do that with an appropriate dry herb mixture or marinade and allow to sit for a couple hours or overnight in the refrigerator. If you’re using salmon or fish put the seasonings on an hour before you’re ready to grill.
Indirect Grilling With a Plank on a Gas Grill:
Turn all of the burners on high and ignite according to the instructions. Close the lid and allow the grill to preheat for up to 15 minutes. Then you’ll want to turn off the middle burners and place the wooden plank in the center of the grill over the unlit burners. Let the plank warm up for about 5-10 minutes until it is making some crackling sounds and giving off some smoke. Place the meat on the plank and close the lid allowing it to cook for 15-25 minutes at around 350-400 degrees. Test meat or fish for desired doneness at around 15 minutes to prevent overcooking.
Last Minute Tips:
Ensure that you don’t see an extreme amount of smoke rising from the grill while the meat is cooking. A little bit of smoke rising is normal, but a lot could mean that your food is on fire.
Keep it simple with the seasonings. The plank will be adding lots of flavor so try not to overdo it with the spices and marinades until you know how the flavors interact with your meats.