Cedar Planked Sockeye Salmon
Cedar Plank Sockeye Salmon
It is said that cooking salmon on wood planks such as cedar and alder originated with Native American tribes in the Pacific Northwest. After securing the salmon to a piece of wood, they would position the planked fish close enough to an open fire to cook it without it burning up in the direct flames. We value this historical tradition and have adopted it with another inspired salmon dish, Cedar Planked Copper River Sockeye. Although cedar is an uncommon tree here in South Central Alaska, we interchangeably use both cedar and alder planks because we like these flavors. There are many planks available, and we encourage you to try many to see what becomes your family and friend’s best choice. You can buy our cedar planks here, and you can also visit our friends at Wildwood Grilling for a great selection.
- 4 Copper River salmon steaks, cut to desired portion size (can substitute fillets or portions)
- olive oil
- fresh rosemary
- 1 cedar grilling plank
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
Instructions (read directions thoroughly before cooking)
Preheat your grill to 350°F or build a nice campfire and let it build a base of coals.
In addition to the ingredients, for this recipe you need a wood grilling plank or planks that fit the amount of salmon steaks or whatever size fillet you are working with, a small bowl or ramekin, a clean grill and your favorite grill tools.
Soak the plank for several hours prior to grilling. We do this by filling a 9x13 baking dish with water and placing the planks in it. Weigh them down with a can of tomatoes or anything with weight that will keep the planks submerged in the water. Soak for several hours even up to overnight. This soaking prevents the planks from completely burning up and threatening your dinner plans.
Brush both flesh sides of the steaks or both the skin and flesh side of the fillet with olive oil, whichever cut you are working with. Lay several sprigs of rosemary on the planks. Use as much or as little rosemary as you like. Rosemary is a powerful and distinct herb and we love it in this preparation. Arrange the salmon on your planks, if you’re working with steaks or portions give them just a bit of space between each piece to allow the heat to circulate between them.
In a small bowl or ramekin, mix salt, pepper, brown sugar, and chili powder. Spread this spice rub on the top side of your planked salmon.
Carefully place your planked salmon directly on the grill or campfire grate while avoiding cooking over open and direct flames. If you close your grill cover keep a close eye on your salmon. You know your grill better than we do. If you are cooking over an open camp fire, patience is required, watch the flames, and enjoy the beautiful day. Your salmon is done when the flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork. Carefully remove from grill or campfire and serve immediately.
Additional cook’s notes: This method is flexible can even be done in an oven at home. Follow the method describe above and roast in a 350°F oven for 12-16 minutes or until flesh is opaque and separates easily with a fork.
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