Cedar Plank Salmon is amazing when coated with a sweet and spicy chipotle dry rub, cooked on the grill giving it that smoked influence, and finished with a sweet maple syrup glaze.
Sweet, spicy, and absolutely incredible. And if you don’t have a grill you can easily make this Maple Chipotle Cedar Plank Salmon in a hot cast iron pan and finish in the oven.
One of my kids recently declared to us he wants to be a vegetarian. So I ask him, “Well, what does this mean for you? What kinds of things can you eat now?”
He says, “Well, it means I can eat halibut, and salmon, and also pepperoni, and bacon. But no meat.” 🤣🤣
Yeah, good luck with that one, kid.
So to keep the newly discovered pesca-bacon-tarian happy we’ve been cooking a lot of fish, though not wrapped in bacon.
We love playing around with different flavors when it comes to grilled salmon. It doesn’t take much time to grill, so cooking it on a cedar plank can help you get some of that great smoky flavor when you cook it hot and fast.
This is a fantastic Cedar Plank Salmon recipe for quick dinner on a weeknight (or weekend, when you just don’t feel like smoking it low and slow).
How to Soak a Cedar Plank for the Grill
It is very important to properly prep your cedar plank before you grill your Salmon. Obviously, wood + fire = more fire. The last thing you want is your cedar plank AND salmon filet to go up in a blaze of glory.
- Soak your cedar plank, fully submerged in water, for at least 30 minutes! No short cuts here, keep it in for the full 30 minutes or you’re gonna have a fire on your hands, and not the good kind of fire if you know what I mean!
Now, pat your soaked cedar plank dry to absorb the excess moisture, and you are ready to grill your Cedar Plank Salmon!
Chipotle Dry Rub
Grilled Salmon has amazing flavor, especially when you add the flavor of a cedar plank. However, we want to add a few more layers of flavor for this recipe. The best way to do that is by adding a Salmon Rub before you grill.
The ingredients for our Chipotle Rub include:
- brown sugar
- chili powder
- chipotle powder
- salt and pepper
This combination gives it a sweet and smoky flavor with a little heat at the end.
*Note: you may not use all of the dry rub on your salmon depending on the exact size of your fish. Just save the rest in a small jar and use for future recipes. This rub is also great on pork and chicken (or tofu if you’re avoiding the other “meats”, like my son).
How to Grill Cedar Plank Salmon
- Pre-Heat Grill: prepare grill for indirect cooking.
- Season Salmon: Coat your fish with olive oil and liberally season it with the salmon dry rub, then place it on the the cedar plank.
- Grill Salmon ON the Cedar Plank: Place the Cedar Plank Salmon over direct heat. Cook for approximately 12-15 minutes, monitoring it for flames, until the internal temperature of the salmon reached 125 degrees using a digital thermometer.
- Move Cedar Plank: After the salmon has reached 125 degrees move to the indirect side leaving grill uncovered, and then coat with the maple syrup, and let sit for about 1 minute to caramelize, or until the internal temperature reaches 130.
- Remove from heat and rest for roughly 5 minutes. The carry-over heat will continue to cook the salmon to 135 degrees (medium rare) over that time and the maple syrup will firm up slightly.
Time to serve and enjoy this pesca-bacon-tarian friendly meal.
Can You Reuse a Cedar Plank?
No, once you have used the cedar plank it is not reusable. Between raw fish and the primary flavor being consumed from the fire, it should be disposed of. If you have a smaller cut, consider before cooking, sawing the plank in half so you can make it last.
I have two go-to pairings for this dish – a semi-sweet Riesling and new world style Pinot Noir.
Salmon, in general, tends to have delicate flavors and textures, but this one, coated in that sweet, spicy, and savory rub and maple glaze, offers the opportunity to pair it with something a little bolder. If you go for a medium-bodied fruity Pinot Noir from California, for example, you’ll find a nice match up in bold fruit balancing out the flavors in the rub, yet smooth enough to pair with that tender delicate meat under the rub.
Alternatively, we love Riesling with this. If you find the dry rub to be on the spicy side (this will depend on the strength of the chipotle powder you have), the Riesling will provide a refreshing and sweet contrast to the heat. It will also balance well with the sweetness in the dry rub and maple. It’s a pretty versatile wine that works great with the flavors in this dish. Just look for one on the slightly sweet side (you don’t want a bone dry Riesling for this, and nothing on the sticky sweet side).
Maple Chipotle Cedar Plank Salmon Recipe
Maple Chipotle Cedar Plank Salmon
- 1 cedar plank
- 1 1/2 pounds salmon
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons dry rub (give or take, see notes)
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 lemon, cut in half (optional)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon dried chipotle powder
- 1/2 tablespoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- Soak the cedar plank, fully submerged in water, for 30 minutes. Pat dry after removing from water.
- Prepare grill for indirect cooking.
- Combine dry rub ingredients in a small bowl.
- Coat salmon with olive oil, and then sprinkle about 2 tablespoons of the dry rub over the salmon liberally (you may have some dry rub leftover).
- Place seasoned salmon on the cedar plank, and place on direct heat for up to 15 minutes or until the salmon reaches an internal temperature of 120 degrees. While the salmon is cooking, place the lemon half over direct heat and cook 4-5 minutes, until char marks appear.
- Transfer the salmon and cedar plank to indirect heat, and glaze with the maple syrup using a brush, and continue cooking until the internal temperature reaches 130 degrees. Remove from the grill. Carry over cooking will continue cooking the salmon to 135 degrees.
- Let rest for five minutes and then slice and serve. If using the grilled lemon, squeeze some of the grilled lemon over the top when serving.
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