This Easy Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon is made using a homemade BBQ rub for optimal wood-smoked flavor. Planking the fish produces tender, flaky salmon everyone will love!
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I’m no stranger to salmon recipes! I eat it all of the time. If you have a grill, you definitely need to get that salmon out there! This dish is ready in under 20 minutes and is perfect for weeknight dinners, cookout gatherings, and more.
What is the Cedar Plank For? What Does it Do?
Plank grilling uses a wooden board that is placed directly on the grill to provide deep, wood-smoked flavor. Dare I say it’s better than using wood chips because the food you are cooking on it comes into direct contact with the wooden plank?
Some stores will sell a variety of flavored planks like maple, apple, etc. Most stores that sell grilling supplies will have cedar planks. You can grab them here on Amazon or somewhere like Costco. They are the most common.
What Type of Salmon to Use/Skin-On or Skin-Off?
I like to use wild caught salmon. It has a beautiful bright color and a buttery taste. It is the most healthy type to purchase.
Salmon that is sourced from the Atlantic is usually farmed. Farmed means antibiotics and food coloring (to give it a pink color) are used. This adds harmful chemical additives to the fish. So I usually try to look for wild-caught salmon.
You can use a full plank or smaller 6-8oz filets. You can use skin-on or skin-off salmon. The salmon I buy usually still has the skin.
When you cook the salmon, keep that skin on: It provides a safety layer between your fish’s flesh and a hot pan or grill. That’s how you get juicy salmon!
I don’t eat the skin on the salmon, but you can (it’s safe and nutritious). How to remove skin from salmon after cooking is really easy. The fish will glide right off the skin! This is a sign of perfectly cooked salmon. Salmon that flakes and glides will taste amazing. You won’t need to remove a thing.
How to Season the Fish
I love to use my Homemade BBQ Rub in this recipe. You can use any rub you like or any seasonings you wish.
Soak the Cedar Plank Before You Use it
This step is important. If you place a dry plank on the grill grates, the flames and direct contact will likely cause a fire. Give yourself an hour of time to soak the plank first. It should be recently soaked.
Getting to know your grill is important. Most modern and newer grills will display the temperature. For this dish, 400 degrees and medium-high heat is optimal.
If you don’t have a temperature dial you can do a hand test to see if the grill has reached medium-high. You can read more about How to Check the Temperature of Your Grill here.
How to Grill Cedar Plank Salmon
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat; 400 degrees.
- Place the salmon on the cedar plank (if using skin-on, skin side down). Rub the olive oil and season with the spices
- Grill the salmon for 12-15 minutes until the center of the salmon has turned opaque.
How Long to Cook it/How to Tell When it’s Done
The salmon will turn opaque at the center and will reach an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees when it has finished cooking (for medium doneness). Use a meat thermometer to test the temperature.
The easiest way to see if your salmon has finished cooking is to gently press down on the top of the fillet with a fork. If the flesh of the salmon flakes, it separates easily along the white lines that run across the fillet, it’s finished cooking. Take it off of the heat immediately.
All food will continue to cook when removed from heat. Meat, baked goods, etc. When you bake cookies you remove them from the oven when they are soft and they firm up as they cool. Same concept here. If you leave the salmon on heat too long it will overcook and dry out.
Will the Wood Catch on Fire?
You should watch for occasional flare-ups, but if you have soaked the plank in water it will prevent fire.
Can You Reuse the Plank?
Sometimes…it will depend on the condition of the plank after you have used it. Sometimes the plank will completely char, especially if you have grilled in on high heat for quite some time.
It’s easy to just scrap it and grab a new one. I like to get mine in bulk for this reason.
Can You Use the Plank in the Oven?
Yes, you can bake the plank and salmon on 375 degrees for 15-25 minutes until tender and opaque at the center.
Pair This Salmon With These Side Dishes
Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad
Southern Baked Beans
Southern Potato Salad
Southern Soul Food Baked Mac and Cheese
Easy Spaghetti Salad
Southern Macaroni Salad
Instant Pot Corn on the Cob
Air Fryer Corn on the Cob
How to Grill the Best Burgers
How to Grill Chicken Wings
Grilled Baby Back Ribs
More Salmon and Fish Recipes
Maple Glazed Salmon
Baked Parmesan Salmon
Salmon Fried Rice
Keto Salmon Patties
Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict
Air Fryer Salmon
Crab Stuffed Salmon
Tuna Poke Bowls
Blackened Fish Tacos
Easy Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon
- 1 pound fresh salmon filet Skin-on or skinless. I use wild caught. You can use one large piece or smaller portions of fish.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Soak your cedar plank in water for at least one hour before using it. Ensure it's completely submerged in water.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat; 400 degrees.
- Place the salmon on the cedar plank (if using skin-on, skin side down). Rub the olive oil over the salmon and season with the spices. I like to reserve the brown sugar or sweetener for the end and sprinkle it on the very top.
- Rub the spices into the fish. This ensures the spices don't just sit on top and they actually penetrate for additional flavor.
- Grill the salmon for 12-15 minutes until the center of the salmon has turned opaque. Use a meat thermometer to ensure doneness. Ensure the salmon has reached an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees.
- You can use any seasoning or BBQ rub you wish.
- Using olive oil adds flavor and helps the spices adhere to the fish. You can also use avocado oil.
- The salmon will turn opaque at the center and will reach an internal temperature of 135-140 degrees when it has finished cooking (for medium doneness). Use a meat thermometer to test the temperature.
- The easiest way to see if your salmon has finished cooking is to gently press down on the top of the fillet with a fork. If the flesh of the salmon flakes, it separates easily along the white lines that run across the fillet, it’s finished cooking. Take it off of the heat immediately.
- Soaking the cedar plank is important. If you place a dry plank on the grill grates, the flames and direct contact will likely cause a fire. Give yourself an hour of time to soak the plank first. It should be recently soaked.