While many of us have been grilling up a storm all summer, it’s always fun to switch it up and try a cooking technique like wood plank grilling. Cooking with a wood plank has recently become a trendy way to cook over a grill, but the truth is this cooking technique has been around for ages. For many years, Native Americans of the Northwest used this technique to roast fish, meats, and fowl.
WHY COOK WITH A WOOD PLANK?
There’s a reason why a cooking technique old as the hills is still trending in the modern age. In fact, there are a few good reasons!
- Wood planks provide a stable surface for delicate food like fish, fruit, or veggies. When you cook with a wood plank, you don’t have to flip your fish and cause it to crumble. It will cook evenly on its own.
- Food doesn’t dry out when you cook it on a wood plank. The wood retains it’s moisture, thereby helping the food retain its moisture as well.
- Cooking on a wood plank infuses a mouth-watering smoky wood flavor into your food.
- From grill to table, your wood plank provides a unique, beautiful serving platter.
While cedar is by far the most popular wood used for planking, there are a few different wood types that complement foods differently.
Fish/Shellfish: Cedar and Alder are best used with these delicate foods. Cedar is an aromatic wood that will infuse a stronger woodsy flavor into your food. Alder is milder and sweeter, lending a subtle flavor to your food.
Chicken/Pork: Maple, Apple, or Pecan work well with these hardier meats which can handle a stronger, medium-flavored wood.
Beef/Lamb/Venison (and other gamier meats): Oak and hickory are best used with these bolder tasting meats. These wood types provide a strong/smokier flavor that complements these meats perfectly.
HOW TO COOK WITH A WOOD PLANK
There’s really no correct way to cook food on a wood plank – it all comes down to personal preference. First off, you can buy or make your wood plank. Just be sure that the wood is untreated and free of any chemicals.
Next, most cooks agree that the wood should be soaked for at least 30 minutes – and preferably longer – like 1-3 hours. Some cooks like to add even more flavor by soaking the wood plank in wine, fruit juices (apple, citrus, or berry), or herb infused water. You could even soak it in tea!
After you’ve soaked your plank, you now need to season it. Place the wet plank on a preheated grill for 2 minutes, turning after the 1-minute mark to toast plank evenly on both sides. Doing this will intensify smoky flavors and prevent your plank from warping. You’ll know your plank is ready to use for cooking when it starts to crackle. Oil the cooking side to prevent your food from sticking to it.
Some professionals recommend searing your meat and also some vegetables before placing them on the plank. Doing this caramelizes the outside and allows your food to retain more flavor.
You’ll get the best flavor results if you can keep your grill lid closed as much as possible. Doing this will stabilize temperatures and keep more smoke in. When cooking with a wood plank, food doesn’t have to be flipped while it’s cooking. However, you may want to open the lid every now and then to make sure the flames haven’t started to burn your plank. Keep a spray bottle of water on hand to tame any flames that start to burn the plank.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR WOOD PLANK
Wood planks can usually be used a few times if they’re taken care of properly. Never wash your plank with soap. Instead, rinse with hot water, and use sandpaper to remove excess char if most of the plank is intact. If your plank is too charred to use again, don’t throw it out! You can add it to the fire next time you cook. The flavor of the plank will still infuse into your food, but it’ll do so in the form of smoke.
USE KILN DRIED WOOD FOR AN EFFICIENT COOKING BLAZE
Cooking with a wood plank is a great way to switch things up a bit and expand your grilling horizons. Plus, that mouth-watering flavor you get is hard to beat! For the perfect cooking blaze, be sure to use Stone Hearth kiln dried firewood. Kiln dried firewood creates a hotter, more efficient fire, which means you’ll get more out of your cooking session. Call 906-250-1389 or click here to order your premium kiln dried wood today!