Planking salmon isn’t anything new. Cedar planks and salmon go together like salt and pepper, peanut butter and honey, Ramen noodles and hard boiled eggs. Is that last one just me? Doesn’t matter, you get the idea. But this isn’t cedar plank salmon. It’s cherry plank salmon. Some find the cedar smoke a little too much. Well, I served up some cherry plank salmon to some folks that feel that way and had them try some grilled salmon done sans plank to see if there was much difference. Here’s how it went down.

Well, first, let’s talk about the salmon. This isn’t just any salmon. This was salmon I actually caught the day before in Lake Michigan. Here’s myself and my cousin Teresa, and her brother, my cousin and third Grillin’ Fool, Tom, with our meager catch:

Cherry Plank Salmon1

It wasn’t a great haul compared to last year’s where the picture of the fish and fishermen looked like this:

If you want to read about that fishing trip along with a REALLY cool trick on how to skin salmon after it’s grilled, check out the Brown Bag Salmon post where I took this picture from.

We had some rough weather the previous day, with a high of 60 in mid July. I said, HIGH of SIXTY! The waves were rough (thank God for Dramamine). Despite not being nearly as great a catch as that, it was still the biggest thing I’ve ever caught:

Cherry Plank Salmon2

That steelhead was so pretty, I wanted to give it a smooch:

Cherry Plank Salmon3

But it was time to hand it off to Captain Frank, aka Wild Thing, to filet her out so we can have some rockin’ salmon:

Cherry Plank Salmon4

The Wild Thing did his slicing thing:

Cherry Plank Salmon6

Now time for the cook off. The salmon was prepared simply with salt and a little seafood rub. One side of the salmon was placed on a cherry plank that was soaked in water for about an hour:

Cherry Plank Salmon 8

The salmon was seasoned the exact same way and placed on a grill, skin side down. Here’s the un-planked salmon on the grill after a few minutes where it is whitening up:

Cherry Plank Salmon 9The filets were flipped over after a few minutes over the coals on high heat to get some grill marks on the meat side. Here they are flipped back over and ready to come off the grill:

Cherry Plank Salmon 10

And here’s the cherry planked salmon after being on the grill for about 15 minutes:

Cherry Plank Salmon 11

And then there was the taste test. We had more than a dozen people taste both kinds. With respect to the scientific theory, we had some them taste the cherry planked salmon first, and others we had them try the other salmon first. The results were hands down, 100%, totally unanimous that the cherry planked salmon, despite having less concentration of seasoning was far superior to the unplanked salmon. There was an added flavor that was not subtle or a hint of anything. It was flat out better in terms of flavor and was more moist. It was some of the best salmon I’ve ever had. Then again, I might be a little biased 😉

If you have any questions or comments about these cherry plank salmon, feel free to leave them below or shoot me and email and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

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one comment

Do you think this salmon was better simply because of the plant? Since it is on a plant, it is being cooked indirectly as the plank is a heat barrier. I have had cedar planked salmon which is great, so I am looking forwarding to trying this, as well.


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