Salmon on an Ash Plank

I was afraid that this was a bit of gimmick but I am here to tell you that cooking salmon (or any fish) on a plank is delicious.  This has become a bit of a craze in the States over the past few years and I was inspired to give it a try as a center piece for a Beltane BBQ.  As I live in a weather challenged climate,  I felt obligated to exploring plank cooking for both the oven and the BBQ.  Additionally, as a former apartment dweller for roughly the past 25 years, I realise it is not only the weather that can disqualify you from owning a BBQ.

This technique is usually credited to the indigenous  tribes of the American Northwest but I have found references to both Australian and Scandinavian versions as well.  The basic gist is that you can cook tender and succulent food (fish, meats, veg) over an open flame in a way that is not only practical but adds sensational flavour as well.

Filet on left for BBQ (soaked) filet on right for oven (oiled).

Although I used the same recipe of a Honey Nut Coated Salmon (recipe below), I prepared the boards differently.  For the BBQ soak your plank  – covered in water – for at least two hours.  For the oven I coated both sides of the plank with vegetable oil and let stand.   Make sure that your wood is untreated and has no preservatives.  I sourced my from the Scottish Woodland Trust, but you can purchase cedar cooking planks from most  Whole Food stores or Amazon.  I was using Ash as it is  indigenous to Scotland and for heightened Celtic Symbolism in honor of Beltane.  You do not need to go to such lengths but Ash is tasty I can assure you!  After preparing the planks – preheat your cooking source:  200 C/400F for the oven and Medium High for the BBQ.

Apply Honey Mustard sauce to both filets

Place filets on boards (each plank could have easily held 4 filets) and season with salt & pepper.   Spoon some of the honey mustard sauce over the fish,

Apply Breadcrumb Mix to both filets

 and cover with breadcrumb mixture – that’s it!

Place directly into preheated oven

For oven roasting,  place directly onto the wire rack.  Cook for approximately 20 minutes or until fish is firm but flakes easily.

If using BBQ place on upper rack if possible

If using a BBQ place on an upper rack if possible.  The board will bend as it has been soaked and you will want to keep a close eye on this process for sure.

Oven Planked Salmon - Moist & Flavourful

The fish cooked in the oven was a delight.  It was juicy and flavourful and looked great on the board – much more interesting that a plain old cooking sheet.

Salmon from BBQ - Absolutely divine and worth all the hype!

But the salmon cooked in the BBQ was AMAZING!  The smell, the smoke, the flavour – it makes me swoon just to tell you!   At first I was just so overwhelmed from the smoke off the plank charring away that it transported me back in time like the food critic in Ratatouille.  All at once I was at summer camp (go Jolis Couers), I was in Wyoming on a NOLS course, and it was 2 am at a Pig Roast.

Let me explain – it is a very rare to smell actual wood smoke in Scotland.  If you are far enough out of a city or town to be able to have anything other than a gas fire in your fireplace, you are more likely to burn peat or coal.   These materials do not create very much smoke when they burn, rather remain petite glowing red coals that give out quite a bit of heat and only tinge the air with a slightly sharp smell.

Both Planks the morning after - oven ready to re-use, BBQ maybe not so much!

Suffice to say, big billowing clouds of wood smoke escaping from the grill was a deeply evocative experience for me.  As an added bonus, when you remove the salmon (still on the board) for the table, is gives a fabulous steaming, hissing presentation not dissimilar to fajitas in a Mexican Restaurant.

 All in all an exciting, flavourful adventure that I would highly recommend!


Salmon on an Ash Plank

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 4 filets

Serving Size: 1 filet

Salmon on an Ash Plank


  • - 4 salmon filets
  • - 1 planks - untreated cedar, ash, oak
  • For the Honey Mustard Sauce
  • - 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • - 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • - 2 teaspoons Butter
  • For the Crumb Topping
  • - 1/4 cup toasted or dried breadcrumbs
  • - 1/4 cup chopped nuts (almonds, pecans or walnuts)
  • - 2 Tablespoon fresh chopped Parsley


    Prepare planks according to cooking method - oil for oven, soak for BBQ
  1. - Preheat cooking source - 200 c/400 f for oven, Medium High for BBQ
  2. - Place salmon filets on plank lightly season with salt & pepper
  3. - Spoon the Honey Mustard Sauce over fish
  4. - Top with Breadcrumb Mixture
  5. - Cook for approximately 20 minutes until fish is firm and flakes easily.
  6. - Enjoy!

Comments (1)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Colin says:

    I have tried this, and can vouch that whilst both methods produce tasy outcomes, the BBQ version really is sensational! It results in a full-bodied smokey flavour which slightly surprisingly went brilliantly with the sweetness of the honey/nut glaze.

Leave a Reply to Colin

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.

%d bloggers like this: