My wife, Karen, is a big fan of Salmon. I, myself, enjoy it once in a while. Then I watched BBQU and saw the BBQ Hero smoke a salmon on a cedar plank and I thought I would like to try that, so I did.
I decided that I would kick it up a couple of notches and add the flavors that we like to grill with at our house. Along with the Cedar Plank soaking in an oblong baking pan large enough to fit the plank in, I also soaked some apple wood chunks in a bowl. I place the soaking apple chunks on top of the cedar plank to keep it under the water for a couple of hours beforehand.
If you are new to smoking then reason for soaking your wood is, first of all, wet wood produces smoke better and, second, the soaked plank is less likely to catch fire and burn up before your salmon is smoked. Smoking adds a wonderful flavor to nearly any food whether it be meat, fish, vegetables or even desserts.
With Karen’s Honey-Dill glaze, the flavor of the smoked salmon is very tasty and you almost didn’t know you are eating fish. Karen enjoys it so that much she said it is better than any salmon she has eaten even in a restaurant (but of course).
Here is what you will need to make the Cedar Plank Smoked Salmon:
1 cedar plank about 12-15” long by 6” wide (should be able to hold one “whole” salmon steak or 2 or 3 cut salmon steaks).
Apple wood chunks, or chips, for smoking (only about a handful that will last for about 30 minutes).
If you have an very long salmon steak then you can cut the salmon steak in half use two cedar planks side-by-side to smoke the salmon steaks. You can also cut the salmon into smaller salmon steaks and smoke them on one or two cedar planks, however is more convenient for you.
Soak the Cedar plank(s) in an oblong baking pan long enough for the plank to fit in for about 2 hours. Also be soaking the Apple chunks in a bowl for about 2 hours. Reminder: you can put the bowl of apple chunks on top of the Cedar plank to keep it submerged in the water while it is soaking.
FOR THE SALMON:
1 long salmon steak, cut in half if needed or in multiple steaks if desired.
Fresh ground pepper
1/8 cup clover honey
1 Tbsp. light butter
1 tsp. dill weed
1/8 tsp. salt
Heat honey in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for 15 seconds then add the butter and stir then heat for another 15 seconds. Stir in the dill weed and salt and heat once more in the microwave for 15 seconds. Then it will be ready to spread on the salmon steaks.
Check the Salmon for bones and remove with tweezers. Rinse the Salmon under cold water and blot dry with paper towels.
Place the Salmon flesh side down on a large flat cookie sheet and generously brush the skin with olive oil then salt and pepper. Starting with the skin side first allows you to wash any scales out of your brush before preparing the flesh side of the Salmon. Flip the Salmon over on to the skin side and generously brush with olive oil then salt and pepper that side as well. If using skinless Salmon, brush one side of the fish with a little more olive oil before seasoning both sides with salt and pepper. The salt and pepper should adhere nicely to the olive oil.
Set up the grill for indirect grilling and Pre-heat to near medium-high, or about 300 to 350 degrees. Put the soaked apple chunks on the coals or in a smoker box, depending on your grill. Put the Cedar plank in the center of the grate between the hot spots. When the plank begins to smoke the grill is ready for the Salmon. Place the Salmon on the plank, skin side down, if it has one; extra oiled side down if not.
Cover the grill and let the Salmon smoke for about 15 minutes, about the Half-way point, then spread the glaze mixture evenly and generously over the top and sides of the Salmon. Let the Salmon continue smoking for another 10 to 15 minutes until cooked through and the glaze is a golden brown. About 20 to 30 minutes total cooking time is all you should need. Test for doneness by inserting a meat thermometer (an instant-read works best) through the meatiest side of the Salmon: The internal temperature should be around 135 degrees F. When you extract the thermometer the end should be hot to the touch.
Take the Salmon off the grill while still on the cedar plank and serve with your favorite salad or potato dish.
NOTE: Cedar planks are available at grill and cookware shops. If you purchase them from a lumberyard or hardware store, make sure they are untreated or specifically say “Grilling Planks”.
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