This easy and delicious Cedar Plank salmon recipe belongs in a restaurant. Fresh salmon topped with a brown sugar dijon glaze and cooked on cedar planks on the grill or in the oven.
What I LOVE about this recipe:
- Restaurant quality flavor without the price tag.
- That glaze: The combination of mustard and brown sugar flavors in the salmon is amazing, especially combined with the woodsy and smoke flavors from the grilled cedar plank.
- Easy: Soak the cedar boards and then you only have 5 minutes of prep and 20 minutes of cook time!
Buying Cedar Planks:
You can buy cedar planks at most grocery stores, kitchen supply stores, or you can buy them on Amazon. I love cooking with cedar planks because they are an affordable and non threatening solution to creating that yummy wood smoked flavor without fancy equipment.
Cedar planks boards work by essentially steaming the fish during cooking with the woodsy flavors from the soaked cedar plank board. The smoky flavors from the grill along with the cedar flavor from the wood plank combine for an amazing tasting fish.
Reusing the Cedar planks: This is not something we recommend, although it is possible, especially if cooked over indirect eat. Keep in mind the board will soak up the flavors of whatever was cooked on it. And, if you grilled with direct heat, the board may be charred and difficult to handle or clean. If you really want to reuse the board, you can scrape off any leftover food, clean it with hot water (no soap) and let it re-soak in water before re-using.
How to cook Cedar Plank Salmon:
1. Soak the Cedar Planks: Soaking the cedar planks helps to bring out the wonderful flavor of the cedar, and will help keep them from catching fire when on the grill.
Cedar Plank Salmon in the oven:
If you don’t have a grill, no problem; cedar plank salmon is delicious cooked in the oven as well. You wont achieve the same smoky flavor you get from the grill but it will take up the woodsy flavor of the cedar plank. The preparation is the same (soak the planks in water…etc) but instead of using your grill, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and cook the salmon for about 15-25 minutes (depending on thickness) or until it easily flakes with a fork.
How to tell if salmon is cooked:
If you have ever order salmon at a nice restaurant, chances are they either asked you how “done” you like your salmon, or they simply brought it to you medium or medium rare. Great chefs feel that salmon is cooked perfectly when the salmon is flaky on the outside and has a soft and moist center (medium or medium rare).
- Watch the color of the fish: It will change from red, raw and translucent looking, to a light opaque pink.
- See if it’s flaky: Use a fork to gently test if the layers will flake away easily, or not. If they do, it’s ready. It’s better to take it out too early, and have to return it to the oven for a minute or too, then to overcook it!
- Let it rest: Remove it from the heat to rest when it’s nearly finished cooking, keeping in mind it will continue to a cook a little as it rests on the hot cedar plank.
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Cedar Plank Salmon
- Soak cedar plank in water for at least 2 hours, or up to 24 hours, prior to grilling.
- Stir the brown sugar and Dijon mustard together until smooth.
- Turn grill to medium-high heat. When ready to cook, place the pre-soaked cedar plank on the hot grate and close the lid. Leave it there until there is a smoky smell, about 4-5 minutes.
- Turn the plank over and place the salmon, skin side down, on top. Spread a spoonful of mustard mixture on top of each filet and add a thin slice of lemon, if desired.
- For indirect heat grilling: Heat grill to medium-high heat. Cook salmon in the center of hot grate, away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook salmon for about 15 to 25 minutes (depending on thickness), or until cooked through (135 degrees F) and flakes easily with a fork. Be careful not to overcook it.
- You can cook the salmon over direct heat, but be careful to check the cedar plank occasionally. If the edges start to catch fire, mist with water and move the plank to a cooler part of the grill.
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I originally shared this recipe June 2018 . Updated May 2020 with process photos and additional tips and information for buying cedar planks.
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