Food & Drink
A Beginner’s Guide To Plank Grilling On The Barbecue

A Beginner’s Guide To Plank Grilling On The Barbecue

In partnership With Sterling Wines. This summer has been incredibly hectic, and we have relied on plank cooking to make quick meals. Plank grilling can cook everything, from fruits and vegetables to meats. It also minimizes the mess that comes with built-in barbecues. The smoke adds flavor and lets you leave the food on planks rather than transferring it to platters.

Here’s a summary of what I have learned and a few simple ways to grill Brie, salmon, and vegetables worthy for a dinner party.

What is Plank Grilling?

Native Americans developed plank grilling from the Pacific Northwest. They used it to make easy and quick meals from fish, meats, and vegetables. The basic idea is to place food on a plank of wood soaked in water. The wood’s flavor is subtle and transfers to the food. It gives off hints of smoke and spice that go well with wine.

Different types of wood to use

The type of plank you choose will depend on the availability of your preferred flavor and how deep it is.

Western red cedar is the most widely used plank because it imparts a mild sweetness and smoky taste to food.

Alder has a more pungent taste with vanilla hints.

Medium woods like maple, pecan, and apple work well with pork and chicken.

Hickory and oak flavor heartier meats such as lamb and beef.

The Western red cedar plank is a good choice for all purposes. We’ve had great success using Amazon. There are many sizes and shapes of planks, but some may be 5 to 7 inches wide. This could make them more suitable for smaller steaks. You need to ensure that your meat fits. Oval shapes and square planks can be purchased for cheese (yes, you can… read below).

Although you can make your own planks, it is important to avoid using treated wood as chemicals can leach into your food.

How to prepare BBQ planks

To prevent the wood from burning, soak the wood for at least one hour before grilling. You can add tea, juice, or wine to the water. Next, grill the plank for a few minutes on each side to season it and prevent it from warping. It will likely crackle or pop, which is normal. It’s now ready to be served.

I store everything outside so I can slip it on the planks once they are seasoned.

Safety precautions

To extinguish any planks that catch fire, keep a water bottle near the barbecue for plank grilling. In case of a fire, it is a good idea not to move too far from the barbecue. This is a great time to enjoy a glass of wine while we watch the barbecue (with one eye on it).

Plank Grilled Brie cheese Recipe

Yes, you can grill Brie on cedar planks. This appetizer is very simple. If you don’t feel like making this jam from scratch (which is easy enough), a wheel of Brie and a raspberry jam will suffice. You can also use a chutney, or any other condiment you prefer on the Brie.


Combine the raspberries, brown sugar, and red wine vinegar in a small saucepan. Heat on low heat. Let simmer for 20 minutes or until thickened.

Let the wood barbecue plank soak for at least one hour. It should be cooked for just a few seconds on each side, or according to the package instructions.

Place the Brie on one side only of the plank. Spread the raspberry mixture over the top of the Brie. Reserve the rest.

Grill brie for approximately 15-20 minutes. If the cheese starts to leak, remove it.

Allow to cool, then let it cool again before you serve.


You can substitute raspberry jam for the mixture of brown sugar, red wine vinegar, and raspberries.

After being grilled, the raspberry jam will harden slightly on top of the Brie. It will take on a smokey flavor. It’s delicious.

It is a good rule of thumb to pair cheeses with rinds with white wines such as Chardonnay. The cheese should be sweeter than the wine. Grilled Brie on a plank will have a subtle, slight touch of smoke. Merlot, such as the Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2013, is a great choice if you have to drink red wine.

How to grill salmon on a Cedar Plank

Salmon is the most popular plank-grilled meat on the barbecue, likely because of how the wood’s spice complements the salmon’s flavor.

This is our favorite way to cook salmon. All you have to do is prepare the plank and turn on the gas barbecue. Once the salmon is on, place it on the plank.

To prepare salmon, you will need to slice lemons and add some Old Bay or salt. This is it. Wild-caught salmon is our preference.

Chardonnay is my choice of wine for barbecued seafood. The Sterling Vintner’s Collection 2014, which is light-oaked but fruit-forward, is an affordable option.

Plank Grilling Vegetables

Because my family loves to eat these straight off the plank, I don’t have any photos. Cut 2 lbs of carrots young lengthwise. If you can combine purple, white, and orange together, that’s even better.

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons olive oils

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to your liking

Optional fresh herbs

Place them flat on their backs so that they don’t roll.

It’s possible to use any combination of vegetables, but we think it works best with carrots, zucchini, and asparagus.

Reusing Barbecue Planks

If the plank has any wood remaining, it can be reused. However, it is likely that you will get only 2-3 uses from a plank. Use water to wash off any food residue. It is recommended to dry your food in the oven to prevent mildew. However, we have had success air drying them outside in the Southern California sun.

What are some foods you can grill on wood planks for? What wines go well with these foods?

Sterling Wines is my partner and I receive compensation for this campaign. All opinions and thoughts are my own. Wine is only for legal and responsible drinkers. Please be responsible! Learn more about my trip to Sterling Vineyards, Napa Valley, and great tips for traveling with wine.

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