Cedar Plank Seafood Cooking Guide
Cedar plank cooking is a great grilling tradition, imparting a sweet smoky flavor to your seafood. This style of seafood cooking has been a culinary practice for centuries, specifically with the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. Since the Pacific Northwest is flush with salmon, this was the primary seafood of choice for the locals. In the mid 90’s, restaurant chefs started playing around with alternative seafood choices, besides salmon, and the results are absolutely fabulous!
Here we’ll give you all the tips, tricks and a few flavor combos needed to pull off cedar plank cooking like a pro.
Tips for Cooking on Cedar…
- Picking your Plank- Be sure to pick a plank that is long and wide enough to comfortably house your seafood, without any overhang.
- Soak- Soaking the plank will allow the plank to lightly smoke (good) instead of burning (bad). Soak for a minimum of 2 hours before grilling.
- Preheat-Preheating your grill is a necessity for any pro-grilling. Preheat your grill (or prep charcoals) to medium high heat or approx. 400°F.
- Grill the Plank- Your going to grill the plank before adding your seafood. This way the maximum flavor will infuse. Grill the plank for 5-10 minutes just until it’s lightly charred and smoking slightly.
- Plank your Seafood- Place your seafood on the charred side of your plank-again maximum flavor.
Best Seafood for Planking
Fresh Shrimp: cooking time: 10-12 minutes
Scallops: cooking time: 10-12 minutes
Salmon and trout are the most common cedar planked seafood while fresh shrimp and scallops are some newcomers to the trend. Each of these planking suggestions work exceptionally well and take on the flavor fabulously. Feel free to experiment outside of these suggestions if you want to flex your culinary chops (these are my most favorite).
Brush with Flavor…
The following suggestions are my favorite cedar plank basting options. Of course, BBQ sauce, the natural partner for anything smoked or grilled but you might find exceptional results with teriyaki sauce, honey mustard dressing or melted garlic butter.
Each of these suggestions wont turn bitter from grilling or smoking and pairs very well with the sweet smoke of the cedar.
Feel free to use your favorite store bought sauces or make your own concoction. My tip for basting is to start off with a generous costing before placing your seafood on the plank and halfway through the cooking process baste again. I always add a little fresh brush of the sauce, right before serving, for good measure.
- Garlic Butter
- BBQ Sauce
- Teriyaki Sauce
- Honey Mustard Dressing
Marinate on This…
Marinate your seafood at least 2 hours before planking. This way the marinade flavor has enough time to seep in and result in a flavorful end product. Here are just a couple of my hand picked marinade favorites. Like the basting sauces, feel free to pick your favorite store bought brands or homemade recipes.
- Balsamic Dressing
- Caesar Dressing
- Italian Dressing
- Peanut Sauce
- Pesto Sauce
Serving your Seafood
There really is no wrong way to serve your cedar planked seafood. Usually, if I’m manning the fire, I like to grill up some veggies as my accompaniment; asparagus, peppers, corn on the cob, zucchini and squash. I’ll toss the veggies in the same marinade or basting sauce as the seafood for a pop of flavor (and, lets face it…ease).
Alternatively, you can serve your cedar plank seafood over salads, pasta, rice, baked potatoes…you name it.
If you happen to have any seafood left over (unlikely, but just in case), it makes for incredible salads. A little mayonnaise, some dill, pickles and a touch of spicy mustard …yum!
Buy Seafood Online
All of the seafood listed in these cedar plank seafood cooking tips are available at our online store. As we say, ‘from shore to door, 3 days fresher than the grocery store’-all of our seafood is delivered right to your door when you schedule it, guaranteed! That’s convenience you need when meal planning and prepping.
About the author
Patterson Watkins is a professional chef with over 17 years of experience. With a robust career in restaurants, contract dining and catering (including 4 Summer Olympic posts preparing food for the athletes!) Patterson joined the Cameron's Seafood team at the end of 2018 to concoct some delicious recipes with our premium seafood items as the centerpiece.