Sobeys Recipe Corner: The Essential Guide to Cooking with Planks

Cedar-planked salmon is a summer classic, but did you know you can plank an array of barbecued dishes? These smooth, thin boards of untreated hardwood char on the bottom and infuse any food arranged on the surface with smoke. By cooking meat, seafood, veggies, fruit or even S’mores on a plank, you can add subtle smoky and woodsy flavours and lock in extra moisture.

Not only is plank cooking versatile, but it also makes cleanup fast – just wash and store for next time, or toss it on the bonfire when you’re done.

Pick Your Plank

To every food its plank! Different foods respond better to different woods. At Sobeys, you can buy maple or cedar planks. Maple lends a sweet tang to foods, while cedar gives sharper, more aromatic smoky notes. Find out more about these and other specialty woods in our guide below.

Here are some excellent matches:

  • Vegetables + Alder

    The subtle smoky flavour of this wood won’t overpower grilled veggies.

  • Cheese + Maple or Cedar

    Soft cheeses with a rind, such as Brie or Camembert, work especially well with the sweet and smoky notes of maple and cedar.

  • Seafood + Cedar or Alder

    Both of these woods impart flavours that bring out the best in delicate fish and shellfish. Cedar is sweet and spicy; alder is subtle with a hint of vanilla.

  • Chicken and Pork + Apple, Maple, Mesquite or Pecan

    There’s no harm in using a lighter wood plank, but these options pack a little extra punch to help boost the meat’s more robust flavours.

  • Beef and Game Meats + Oak or Hickory

    Red and intensely flavoured meats call for these bolder woods.

  • Fruit and desserts + Maple or Cedar 

    These traditional woods bring complementary sweet notes.

How to Plank

Be sure to soak the plank for at least an hour before grilling. Immerse it in a sink or basin of warm water, with something heavy on top to hold it down; flip it halfway through to ensure even absorption. (Experiment with adding a splash of wine, beer or cider vinegar to the water to infuse the plank with extra flavour.)

After drying the surface with a dishtowel, lightly brush oil on the cooking side of the plank with vegetable or olive oil to prevent food from sticking.

Preheat the grill to medium heat.

Assemble your ingredients on the plank, and then place it on the preheated grill to cook. Lower the lid to keep in the smoke and heat.

Check for flare-ups every five minutes. If the plank catches fire, use a spray bottle of water to extinguish the flames.

When the food is cooked to your desired doneness, remove it — plank and all — from the barbecueand transfer the food to a serving dish. Spray the plank well with water and discard it, away from flammable items.

Plank Care and Storage

You can wash and reuse planks to cook the same kind of food, as long as they’re not too charred. Scrub them well in warm, soapy water — don’t wash in the dishwasher, or they’ll warp — then let them air-dry thoroughly before putting them away in a cool, dry place. Remove any scorched areas with fine sandpaper.

Recipes

Try these recipes to get you started — there’s everything from appetizers to main dishes to a sweet treat to satisfy your appetite.

Smoky Appetizers

Delicious Mains

Tempting Dessert