Fire up the grill and lay off burger for colorful vegetables, fish, and chickens. The best grilling planks have been around for some time, especially among the native American tribes. Cooking on planks is one of the best ways to keep your fish or other recipes close to the surface. More than keeping them from falling into the fire, grilling planks add aroma and flavor to your food. This makes it one of the easiest ways to spice up your food.
Grilling on planks is a healthy way to cook your recipes. Mixing smoky-savory cedar with your meat, for example, eliminates carcinogenic chemicals that result from cooking over direct and high heat. This is because the plank creates a barrier between the heat and the food for moderate heat.
Types of Grilling Planks
There are different types of wood that are used for planking. Some of the popular ones are:
- Maple – Maple wood is a hardwood with high heat retention capability. The wood also performs well against deterioration agents like abrasions, termites, and scratches.
- Cedar – the cedar wood is regarded as the best and most reliable wood for planking. This is because it lasts longer and retains heat better than other wood types. Plus, it works on all food types.
- Alder – Another wood that comes in handy for a flavored grill is the Alder wood. Unlike most types, Alder wood produces more smoke. This adds more flavor and aroma to your food. Since it is a hardwood, it supports more than one-time usage.
- Apple -Another hardwood tree, apple trees are available in large quantities. However, they are often not reusable.
- Oak and cherry – The oak wood is durable and can withstand repeated use without falling apart. Cherry wood, on the other hand, slowly dissipates the trapped heat. Some sub-species of the wood also adds flavor to your food.
Although we have different types of wood that promise exciting results, we will focus on the cedar planks. Crafted for an impeccable result, the planks are reliable, retains heat well, adds flavor to your food, and are often reusable.
Review of The 5 Best Grilling Cedar Planks
The 12-pack of the Cedar Grilling Planks by grill Gourmet gives you the type of grill that can only be found in restaurants. Note that you need to soak the planks in water. Designed to fit a couple of good-sized fillets, the planks are easy to use. Place the planks on the grill over direct heat after soaking it in water for a while. The pack of 12 means that it lets you take on large quantities of food simultaneously. Plus, the surface of the planks is textured for an easy grip on the food. The rough sides give more surface area that absorbs the liquid and soaks it in.
Available in smaller shapes, the planks fit nicely on the grill and leaves some for some additives. The product package includes an instruction guide for easy usage. On the downside though, the planks support single usage. This is because reuse is labeled as unsanitary by the manufacturer. Other than this, it adds more flavor and smoke to your recipe.
- Smokey flavor
- Easy to use
- Absorbs liquid well
- Thick texture
- Supports single usage
Another cedar plank that lets adds flavor to your grill is the Coastal Cuisine Cedar Grilling Planks. Designed to enhance the flavor of different types of grilled food, the product is simple and easy to use. This is thanks to an instruction manual. Large size design lets you use the plank for cooking large-sized meals. Plus, it is flexible to use as it supports use on charcoal and gas grills. Another big score for the plank is that it does not require long soaking time. One mis-hit though, is that most users find it difficult to find something long enough to soak them. However, when they do, the performance of the plank is quite remarkable. We recommend that you use a large cookie sheet filled with water since it won’t fit most kitchen sink.
The product adds a smoky flavor to your food and gives a delicious boost. You can also soak it in wine to give it a better taste. What’s more, the thickness of the planks lets you reuse them.
- Large size
- Works on gas and charcoal grills
- Easy 3-step usage
- Works for meats, seafood, and vegetables
- Takes a lot of room
The TrueFire Gourmet TFWraps8-8 Cedar Wraps is referred to by many users as one of the best inventions for cooking salmon. Little wonder it made it to our list of the best grilling cedar planks. Extremely easy to use with a promise of an outstanding result, the plank lets you grill your salmon conveniently. As a plus, the skin comes off when you remove the wrap. The cedar sheets provide moisture and retain flavor. It gives a mild flavor that will not overwhelm, the salmon. It is also relatively inexpensive and promises value for the purchase.
Although they are thin and nice, you will only its optimum results when you follow the instructions. Chief among this is that you should soak the wraps or spray them with water. The product package includes butchers twine for holding prepared wraps in place during you. Plus, it supports use with charcoal and gas grills, stovetop steaming, and oven baking. The 100% cedar product is environmentally friendly and is easy to clean up after use.
- The flavor is not overwhelming
- Wraps well with strings
- Butchers twine secures the wraps
- Environmentally friendly
- Little clean-up necessary
- They are a little fragile
The premium Camerons Products Grilling Planks works for barbecue salmon, steaks, burgers, seafood, and vegetables. Sold by Camerons products, the plank design features smoke cooking technology that lets you infuse grilled and smoked flavor into your food. Designed for outdoor use, the product is thick and versatile. Not that we expect anything short of brilliant from a brand that has been around for over 25 years.
Made in the USA, the planks contain alder hardwood and natural western cedar. When combined, the result is a variety that is thick and adds more flavor to your food. Like other products that we have reviewed, you have to soak the grilling plank before use. The manufacturer recommends 20-mins soak time before you place your food on the plank. However, you can always soak it for a longer period if you desire. Good news, it is reusable. However, it only supports up to 2 times of extra use.
- Thick planks
- Mixed flavors
- Quick water absorption
- Made in the USA
- Easy to use
- Some users believe they are not long enough to lay a whole salmon
100% natural wood and bold flavors on the CEDAREO – 15”x 5.5”x 3/8 Cedar Grilling Planks adds aroma to your cooking. The western red cedar works for fish, vegetables, shrimp, and steaks whether on charcoal or gas grill. Measuring 15*5.5*3/8, the thick planks lets you grill numerous dishes without turning to a cinder. More than cooking, it makes up for a thoughtful gift for a barbecue lover or cooking enthusiast. To demonstrate this, the product package includes a cardboard box for easy gifting.
Another thing to watch out for in the product package is a BPA-free BBQ spray. This lets you put out flames and control fire easily. Since it comes with the product, you don’t need to incur extra costs on a separate purchase. We feel it is important to mention that the manufacturer offers a free replacement or a 100% refund. This creates a back door for an unsatisfied purchase. We doubt you’ll need that clause, though, as it is one of the best grilling cedar planks on the market.
- Easy to wash with water
- BBQ spray bottle
- Natural bold flavor
- Some customers would prefer if it was not made in China
What to Look For In Grilling Cedar Planks
The quantity of the food that you want to cook directly affects your choice of a plank. You need to maintain a balance between the size of your planks and the quantity of food that you want to cook. For example, some planks are wide enough to accommodate a whole salmon without slipping. Some are also long enough to let you place pieces of meats or vegetables with enough space to spare. Hence, we recommend that you check the size of the plank you would like to buy to match the quantity of food. As a rule, select a small plank for a small meal and a larger plank for a larger meal.
The frequency of use affects the durability of a plank. If you plan to use it for a single meal with no plan for reuse, you can purchase a lightweight plank. However, if you intend to use it more than once, we recommend a thick and durable plank. More than this, the product must be certified as reusable by the manufacture. Besides the thickness, you also need to check the soaking method. This prevents it from getting too flimsy.
Temperature Rating and Heat Source
The ability to retain heat well is what sets the best grilling cedar planks apart from other plank types. However, each plank in this category has varying temperature bearing capacity. While some will perform well under low temperatures, others won’t fare so well when exposed to higher temperatures. Therefore, you need to check the plank’s temperature rating and choose a product that can withstand the right temperature for your food. Another one like this is the heat source. Since you will be using it on a grill, you need to know the type of grill the plank works on. For example, some of the products we have listed above like Coastal Cuisine Cedar Grilling Planks supports use on gas and charcoal grills. Check before buying to match your grill heat source with the plank.
We don’t want to sound cheap, however, your purchase will only promise value for money if you can get the best out of it. The best way to get value for your plank is to use it more than once before you dispose of it. However, if you don’t mind, you can purchase a plank with a single-use rating. Plus, check that it is environmentally friendly for safe disposal.
How to Use Grilling Cedar Planks
The best grilling planks are one of the most beautiful ways to present your food. For easy usage, below are some guidelines on how to use the planks for effective results.
- The Soaking
After selecting the appropriate size, you need to soak the plank. This prevents it from catching fire during use. It also prevents the food from burning and keeps it moist. We recommend that you soak it for up to 12 hours or overnight before use. However, check the product detail for instructions by the manufacturer. Although there is no consensus on the method of soaking, we recommend using fruit, water, or wine. This helps to add more taste to the plank. After soaking the wine, brush with oil and sprinkle it with pepper and salt before place it on the grill. Let it heat for a couple of minutes to get the most out of the flavor.
- The cooking
For a gas grill, preheat the grill and turn it down for a medium cooking. For a charcoal grill, use the plank over ash-coated coals. Since woods are not fast conductors of heat, you will need to cook your food longer than you would if you grilled it without the plank. Make sure to leave adequate space between your food for even cooking. Also, ensure to check the food periodically to be sure that the plank has not caught fire. If it does, douse the fire it water. Keep up this routine until you are satisfied that your food is ready.
- After cooking
After use, clean the plank by scraping it and soak it in warm water. Reusable planks support more than one use are usable even when they are charred.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What can I cook on my cedar plank?
One of the advantages of a grill plank is that you can cook different types of dishes on it. Salmon is perhaps the most popular dish that is cooked on a plank. However, you can use it for chicken and meat. Steak, lamb, and vegetables are also examples of meals that you can prepare on your plank. You can season your food with fruits for more flavor.
- What type of cedar is safe for cooking?
The most popular type is the western red cedars. This is because it adds a smoky but mild flavor to the food. However, you can also use white cedar, Atlantic cedar, and Alaskan yellow cedar. Do note though, that the flavor of the Atlantic is considered by many users as too strong for their meal. Stay away from Eastern red cedar, Western juniper cedar, and Northern white cedar as they are toxic. For safe use, we recommend that you stick with the western red cedar.
- What are the benefits of grilling with a cedar plank?
The wood is versatile and works for varieties of meals. This is perhaps the most important feature and benefit of grilling with cedarwood. The plank is also robust and has excellent heat retention capacity. As a result, you can use it at higher temperatures without burning. Plus, it has no chemical additive and is safe for use. Finally, the extracts add flavor to your meal.
- What happens when I grill without soaking my planks?
You run the risking of destroying the planks without getting anything out of them. It’s just like adding a piece of dry plank to a fire. The result is that you will light up the plank as a fuel for the fire. Plus, grilling without soaking the plank deprives you of that smoky flavor that planking is known for. Hence, we recommend that you soak your planks and leave the grilled closed for the best result.
Grilling with a cedar plank sure is a simple method, however, the result is always impressive. You can combine it with other safe planks, however, we recommend that you follow the instructions for use. Take note that planking takes more time than your regular grilling. Plus, soaking time varies from one wood to the other. Place it over medium heat for a safe result.
We hope we have inspired you to try out grilling with the best cedar planks. Add a new shade to your cooking and try out any of the products we have reviewed above. You won’t have to break the bank as all the products are budget-friendly.