Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Barbecuing with Cedar Planks

I received this question today -
Could you please give me some tips on how and when
to use a cedar plank when barbequing.

Thanks, "Novice

So here are a few things to note.

1. Cedar planks can usually be found in the fresh fish section in your supermarket or local fish monger. William Sonoma , Sur La Table and other specialty shops also sells them.

2. Planks are usually sold a few in a package. Some are thicker than others, so require more/less time to smoke.

3. Most important: You must soak planks for at least 30 minutes before putting them on an already heated BBQ to "smoke" for 10-15 minutes before actually putting any fish on them to cook. And only use each plank once.

4. Remember that the cedar is quite a pungent scent. I like to cook salmon or other fish quite simply - just season with a little lemon juice and maybe sit the fish on a bed of dill or cilantro on the cedar.

5. The purpose of the plank is to "Smoke" the fish, so you need to cook it covered. If you don't have a BBQ with a cover, just use a double layer of foil. Smoke at medium heat for about 15 minutes or so for fillets that are about 1" thick. Because it always varies depending on the thickness and number of fillets (whole fish is great too) - check for doneness after 10 minutes, but don't leave the lid open for too long.

If there's anyone out there with other ideas, please share them in the comments.

Please email me any of your questions, and if I don't have the answer, I'll certainly try find it for you.
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