Grilling salmon on a cedar plank is an easy technique that produces a subtle smoke flavor and juicy fillets that will melt in your mouth.

Two grilled salmon fillets on a cedar plank with grilling tongs.

Grilling salmon on a cedar plank is a sure-fire way to produce moist, tender fish with a subtle smoke flavor. All that’s needed are a few guidelines for cedar plank grilling and a simple brown sugar rub for your fish.

How To Grill On Cedar Planks

Here are five easy steps to follow for successful cedar plank grilling:

  1. Get a clean, untreated piece of hardwood large enough to hold your food with a little room to spare.
  2. Soak the plank for at least one hour prior to grilling.
  3. Preheat your grill for cooking over medium heat (350 to 400°F)
  4. Place the empty plank on the grill until it begins to smoke and char before adding your food.
  5. Close the grill and cook your food to desired doneness – no turning required!
A side view of two salmon fillets that have been seasoned and grilled on a cedar plank.

Shopping For Grilling Planks

Grilling on planks has become so popular you can usually find them near the fish and meat counters of most well-stocked grocery stores.

They’re available in a variety of shapes and sizes, but most often you’ll find them in a 2-pack with approximate dimensions of about 11 x 5-inches. That’s the size we’ve used for this recipe.

If you search online, you can find other varieties of wood like oak, hickory, and maple. We think the mild flavor imparted by cedar is best for fish, but you might want to experiment if you decide to try the technique with some other meats.

How To Soak Your Grilling Planks

Roasting pans and plastic coolers make good soaking vessels for grilling planks. Find something to weigh the plank down so it remains totally submerged in the water and turn it over midway through the time to be sure it’s evenly and completely soaked.

We recommend that you allow one full hour for soaking time. This not only helps prevent flare-ups, but the plank will produce more steam, infusing a richer, wood-smoked flavor to the fish.

Cedar Planked Salmon

Cedar Planked Salmon

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Center-cut salmon fillets rubbed with brown sugar, salt and pepper and grilled on a cedar plank are deliciously moist and have a mild smoke flavor.


  • 4 5 to 6 ounce salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cedar grilling plank large enough to hold your fillets


  • Soak your grilling plank in cool water for a minimum of 1 hour (see notes below for how-tos).
  • Preheat a gas or charcoal grill to medium heat (350 to 400°F).
  • Combine the brown sugar with 1 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper in a small bowl. Arrange the salmon fillets with the side where the skin was removed facing up.
  • Rub a bit of olive oil over the surface of the salmon, then sprinkle with half of the brown sugar mixture. Using the back of a spoon, rub it into the salmon so it adheres well.
  • Turn and season the other side with the brown sugar mixture (no need to oil this side).
  • Drain the cedar plank and blot dry. Place it on the grill and heat until you begin to smell smoke and the side facing the flame has begun to char.
  • Using tongs, flip the plank over and place the salmon, oiled side down, on the plank.
  • Cover the grill and cook for 8 to 12 minutes, just until the fish is cooked through. There is no need to turn the fillets.
  • Allow the salmon to rest on the plank for 5 minutes before serving.

Tips for Making This Recipe

Calories: 412kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 38g, Fat: 24g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 18g, Cholesterol: 107mg, Sodium: 180mg, Sugar: 8g
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