Smoky & Savory Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon

Cary, NC — This year for my birthday in August, I bought myself a grill for my back patio and I’ve been busy ever since.

Through the fall I added to my grilling resume, going beyond burgers and hot dogs to grilled corn in the husk, grilled veggies and eventually dabbled in using cedar planks with my favorite protein — salmon.

Each plank holds two, six-ounce filets comfortably and the fish never gets flipped. Instead, by leaving the lid closed, the salmon cooks from all sides with the smoke surrounding it. Here’s all you’ll need to give it a try for yourself.

Shopping List

  • Salmon Filets, one per person (I use farm-raised salmon over Alaskan and Atlantic, but to each their own!)
  • Cedar planks, one for every two filets of salmon (available at most grocery stores and at Lowe’s)
  • Seasoning or marinade of choice

A Little Prep Work

Soak the Planks

The only trick to working with cedar planks is making sure to soak them for the recommended time which is usually 30 minutes to an hour. This is to keep the planks of wood from burning and in turn, burning the awesome salmon. We can’t have that!

Season the Salmon

Salmon is super versatile when it comes to seasonings that pair well with it. A personal favorite of mine is a combination of three barbeque seasonings that pack a combination of smoky with a dash of sweet.

Other seasonings and marinades range from tangy lemon pepper to herbs and butter or soy sauce and orange juice. So pick your flavor and go for it!


  1. Soak cedar planks for about an hour
  2. Season salmon (or marinate it ahead of time)
  3. Start up your gas grill and do your best to keep the internal temp around 350 (The idea is low and slow since it’s cooking in the smoke. If it’s too hot, the outside overcooks while the inside stays raw.)
  4. Once it reaches temp, place the cedar plank(s) on the grate and grill only the plank for 3 minutes with a closed lid
  5. Flip planks on opposite side and place salmon on them with ample space in between them for even cooking
  6. Monitor the temperature and keep the lid closed as much as you can, should take approximately 15/20 minutes
  7. Remove the planks from the heat when the outer edges turn golden and internal temperature has reached 145 degrees
  8. Using a spatula, I usually separate the salmon, leaving the skin on the plank.

What have been your favorite foods to grill out this year? Let us know in the comments!

Recipe and photos by Ashley Kairis.

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