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This cedar plank salmon recipe is the ultimate way to prepare salmon on the barbecue. It's cooked low and slow and results in fish that's moist, smoky, and full of flavor. We top it with an avocado peach salsa for an easy summer meal that's ready in just 35 minutes!
This recipe was originally published in 2013. We've updated the post with some new photos and more information, but we've left the delicious recipe exactly the same.
If you love fish that's moist and full of flavor, nothing can top this cedar planked grilled salmon. Not only is it one of the healthiest foods you can eat, but planked salmon is also easy-to-make and versatile, too. With a delicious avocado peach salsa, it's a recipe that just screams summer!
If this is your first time cooking with a cedar plank, you'll be surprised at how easy they are to use. Simply soak them in water before using, place the fish on the plank, season it, and cook it on low. Slowly cooking it makes the fish really tender and juicy.
Why use cedar planks to grill salmon
Cedar plank cooking is an indirect barbecue cooking technique used mainly for fish and meat. It's a traditional cooking method used by several cultures including the Coast Salish people to cook pacific species of salmon.
Planks can be placed directly over an open flame, and food becomes infused with both moisture and a wonderful smoky flavor. Using a plank means the fish won't stick to the grill and results in delicious, juicy fish every time!
Cedar plank salmon ingredients
Here's everything you'll need to make juicy and flavorful grilled cedar plank salmon:
- Salmon fillets – there are quite a few types of salmon out there so use what's fresh and available to you. For this recipe, we use a 1 ½ lb fillet of fresh wild salmon, and ideally with the skin removed.
- Olive oil – for coating the salmon and locking in moisture.
- Seasonings – paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, sea salt, and black pepper.
Here's what you'll need for the avocado peach salsa:
- Peaches – this is a great recipe to make in summer when fresh peaches are in season.
- Avocado – a ripe avocado with a bit of firmness will hold its shape and work perfectly in this salsa.
- Red bell pepper
- Red onion
- Lime – freshly squeezed, for a bit of tang.
- Jalapeño – for flavor and a bit of kick!
- Sea salt + pepper
How to make cedar plank salmon
If you've ever wondered how to grill salmon on a cedar plank, you'll be surprised by how easy it is. Here's how to do it in a few simple steps:
- First, soak your cedar planks in water for up to 2 hours.
- While they soak, grab your ripe peaches and make your salsa by mixing together all the salsa ingredients together in a bowl.
- Fire up your barbecue to medium-low heat.
- Place the salmon fillet on your cedar plank, give it a good rub with olive oil, and top with the seasonings.
- Place the plank on the barbecue, and with the lid closed, cook it for about 20 minutes (or until fully cooked). When it's cooked, the salmon will feel slightly springy when pressed, flake easily with a fork, and will be 140 degrees Fahrenheit in the center.
- Serve the salmon on the cedar plank topped with avocado peach salsa. Enjoy!
If you'd like to remove the skin of the peaches, here's a useful tutorial on how to peel peaches.
Do I need to flip cedar plank salmon?
Nope! When you close the lid to the barbecue, it acts like an oven to cook the salmon evenly and thoroughly, so there's no need to flip it. You'll know when it's done when it reaches an internal temperature of 140 Fahrenheit.
Tips for cooking with cedar planks
Using cedar planks to cook salmon is simple, and such a treat! Here are some useful tips for making the best cedar plank salmon every time:
- Make sure to soak the planks for a minimum of 5 minutes, and a maximum of 2 hours. It helps prevent the wood from burning and keeps the fish moist.
- When soaking the planks, weigh them down so they are fully immersed in water. Use cans, water glasses, or other heavy kitchen objects.
- When cooked on a plank, the salmon filet shouldn't stick (unlike cooking it directly on the grill). To remove the salmon from the plank, use a good flipper to get right under the filet.
What temperature should I cook it at?
Preheat your barbecue at medium-low, add the salmon, lower the heat to low, and close the lid.
How long should I grill salmon on a cedar plank?
We recommend cooking the salmon low and slow for about 20 minutes. This makes the salmon really juicy and tender. It's done when it reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
Can I reuse cedar planks?
No, we don't recommend reusing cedar planks. Once they're used, they should be discarded.
Can I cook other fish on cedar planks?
Sure! Other fish like trout, char, and bass are great to cook on cedar planks because of their size, flavor, and texture.
Where do I buy cedar planks?
You can find cedar planks at most well-stocked grocery stores usually near the seafood department, or at food supply stores. They're also available in a larger pack online.
How long does it keep?
While this fish is best enjoyed right away, leftovers will keep in the fridge in a sealed container for 2-3 days.
What to serve with cedar plank salmon
This is such a versatile barbecue recipe and it's excellent with just about anything!
Since we're firing up the grill, we love serving it with other summery grilled sides like grilled smashed potato salad with chive lemon yogurt, or summer tomato and grilled corn salad. Have more ripe peaches to use? Try our grilled peach salad with curry pecans & honey vinaigrette.
We've even enjoyed it in tacos! Simply use a fork to break the salmon into chunks, tuck them into a corn tortilla, and top with the avocado peach salsa for an easy handheld meal.
- 1 – 1 ½ lb salmon fillet (preferably with the skin removed)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, sea salt, and pepper
Avocado Peach Salsa
- 3 medium peaches (diced)
- 1 avocado (diced)
- ½ red bell pepper (diced)
- ⅓ cup diced red onion
- ½ cup minced cilantro
- Juice from 1 lime
- 1 minced jalapeño (optional)
- ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper (more to taste)
- Soak your cedar plank in water for at least 15 minutes, or up to 2 hours.
- While the cedar plank is soaking, make the salsa. Mix all the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.3 medium peaches, 1 avocado, ½ red bell pepper, ⅓ cup diced red onion, ½ cup minced cilantro, Juice from 1 lime, 1 minced jalapeño, ½ teaspoon EACH: sea salt and pepper
- Turn on your BBQ to medium-low heat. Place the salmon on the cedar plank and drizzle the top with the oil. Sprinkle the paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, salt, and pepper over the top.1 – 1 ½ lb salmon fillet, 1 teaspoon olive oil, 1 teaspoon paprika, ½ teaspoon EACH: onion powder, garlic powder, thyme, sea salt, and pepper
- Put the salmon on your barbecue and turn it to low heat. Close the lid and cook the salmon for 20 minutes, or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Serve the salmon with the salsa over the top.
We have thoroughly tested this recipe for accuracy. However, individual results may vary. See our full recipe disclosure here.