OK, so the name of the post is really “Walk the Plank”, but for some reason, I’m feeling a bit “Q-ish” today. Maybe that’s “Q” as in “Bar-B-Que”, or maybe its just coincidental. Anyway, I want to share with you about “planking”. If you haven’t heard of it, you’re possibly missing out on one of the coolest fads in grilling in recent years. (Not to take away from gas grills with electric starters–I just think this is cooler!)
So I saw a program on TV recently (no matter the program) that covered the idea of planking–that is, taking planks or thin boards of aromatic woods (cedar for instance) and using them as the cooking surface for meats, fish, etc., inside of your grill. The wood will smoke flavor into the food while providing a relatively easy cooking surface for your food. The food does not need turning and if done right and done well, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it all along.
Here’s a plank plan for you, from soak to wash. Enjoy!
- Purchase your planks based on how much food you will prepare. WalMart sells cedar planks in the $5-$6 range. Check around… I also found some planks at Lowe’s. The planks may be shorter or longer, broader or thinner. Find what suits you and will fit on your grill.
- Soak the planks in water for 60-90 minutes before use. The idea is to get them pretty wet so that they don’t scorch or flare up as much.
- Get your grill to the right temparature for your food. I’m going to use salmon in this example and I use a charcoal grill. Once the charcoals are ready–good enough for me!
- Place the planks on the grill for a minute… turn them after 1 minute. This gets both sides warmed but not so much as to cause problems later.
- Place your food on the planks and cook until done. You’ll know when it’s done if you’ve grilled before. Besides, everyone has their own idea of “done”. You define yours, I’ll help with the planks.
- Do not turn the food.
- Keep the lid on the grill as much as possible to avoid losing smoke and to avoid flare-ups.
- When taking the food off the grill, take the entire plank off. Use a glove or oven mitt as it will be hot!
- You can wash and reuse planks.
- Use heavilly charred pieces for future smoking. Simply break them up and add them to other grills/fires.
- Use the instructions on the package of planks as a guide.
- Salmon: Prepare a mix of soy sauce and white wine (I used Chardonnay) at 1:3 consistency. (Use a California Chardonnay so that you don’t feel guilty pouring out the rest of what you don’t use.)
- I used a single fillet and cut it into pieces no more than 2″ wide. Plan on 2-3 pieces per person as you’re sure to love it and want more.
- Brush all pieces with this mixture a few minutes before grilling. Brush both sides. PLEASE DO NOT MARINADE in it… I have no idea how that will turn out!
- When placing the food on the planks, provide some spacing but not a lot is needed.
Well, that’s all I can help with. Try it, you’ll like it!