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John Davis's Oregon Cedar Plank Salmon

From Rick Browne, “Grilling America”
/ Source: TODAY

Serves 2 to 4


Basting sauce

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions (green ends only)
  • 2 1/2 pounds fresh salmon fillet, boned, with skin on
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-4 fresh rosemary sprigs (optional)
  • Coarse sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh raspberries for garnish
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar

You will need one untreated cedar plank.* Soak the plank for at least an hour in warm water, weighing it down with water-filled glasses to keep it fully submerged. During this hour mix the baste ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the salmon, which you’ve placed in a glass pan. Turn the fish once or twice during the hour. Heat your smoker or kettle grill to very hot (550 to 600F).

Remove the salmon from the marinade and drain the fish, reserving the marinade. Remove the plank from the water, brush with olive oil, and (if you like) spread the rosemary sprigs on top. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the cedar plank (or bed of rosemary), sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place the plank on the grill.

Cover and grill for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the fish is cooked and the center is still just a little bit rare. Baste quickly with the marinade once or twice during the cooking time. You want the salmon just pink in the center, sort of medium-rare. Nothing is worse than overcooked salmon. Nothing.

The board will probably smolder and smoke; that’s what’s supposed to happen. If it catches fire, douse it with a spray bottle filled with water.

Remove the whole plank from the barbecue and place on a serving tray over hot pads on the table for a superb presentation. Divide into sections and serve from the plank. If you are careful the skin will stay on the plank as you scoop up the filet.

Marinate the raspberries in water, vinegar, and sugar for 20 to 30 minutes. Sprinkle on top of the fish and serve the fish on the plank.

*Oregon Cedar planks can be ordered on-line from Outdoor Gourmet (, or check your local grocery store for this brand or others. You must use only untreated cedar.