In June 2015, Debbie Dickson “walked the plank” and took readers on a tour of grilling with planks.

Plank grilling

Guidelines for gas grilling:

  • Get started by soaking your plank for at least one hour, using something heavy so it stays weighted down during soaking. If you are using cedar papers, they only require soaking for 10 minutes, a big advantage for last minute grilling.

  • Preheat your gas grill to around 350 to 400 F, depending on the recipe. Now you are ready to preheat your plank, which optimizes the smoke and wood flavor. Place the plank 8-12 inches above the flame, and close the grill lid. Once you see wisps of gray smoke coming from the grill, which should take 8-10 minutes, open the grill lid and flip the plank over.

  • Have a spray bottle of water nearby in case your plank catches on fire and stay close by during the grilling process.

  • Place the food on the toasted side of the preheated plank in a single layer and close the grill lid. As the goal is to take full advantage of the smoke, keep the lid closed as much as possible, while still monitoring the internal temperature. Keep a watchful on the eye on the smoke, trying to maintain a light gray color. If you see black smoke billowing, your plank is on fire. Use the water bottle!

  • One of the advantages of plank grilling is there is no need to flip the food. The plank method will cook evenly whatever you are preparing.

  • When the food is done, transfer to a serving dish. Planks can be reused, if not overly charred, by scrubbing with water and a brush without soap and letting the plank air-dry completely.

PLANKED GREEK MARINATED SHRIMP

Start to finish: 35 minutes (25 minutes prep + 10 minutes cooking)
Servings: 4

  • Marinade
    • 1/4cup dry white wine
    • 1/4 cup olive oil
    • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
    • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped or 1 teaspoon dried
    • Zest of one lemon
    • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Alder grilling plank(s), soaked (you may need one or two planks depending plank size)
  • Crumbled feta and lemon slices to serve

Combine wine, olive oil, garlic, oregano, zest in a zip-top plastic bag, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add shrimp, tossing to coat; marinate in refrigerator 15-20 minutes.

Preheat grill to 350 F or medium-low. Remove shrimp from bag and discard marinade. Place soaked plank(s) on grill, close lid and heat 3 minutes. Flip plank(s) and place shrimp in a single layer on plank(s). Close lid and grill for 8-11 minutes, or until shrimp are pink. Remove shrimp and plank(s) from grill; garnish with lemon slices and feta. Serve immediately.

This recipe uses cedar papers rather than a plank, which makes it fast and convenient, especially if you are serving just two people.

(Recipe from Gena Knox, fireandflavor.com)

CEDAR WRAPPED MEDITERRANEAN SALMON

Servings: 2

  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped Kalamata olives
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup zucchini, cut into 1-inch thin strips
  • 2 salmon fillets (6-8 ounces)
  • 2 cedar papers, soaked for at least 10 minutes
  • Fresh basil for garnish (optional)

Combine tomatoes, olives, garlic, oil, and thyme in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat grill to medium-high heat, about 400 F. Place one fillet in center of each grilling paper, spoon tomato mixture directly on top of fish and arrange zucchini strips on top. Fold edges of papers over the fillet, and secure with cotton string. Place packets on grill and cook 4-5 minutes per side, depending on thickness of fish.

Using tongs, remove salmon from grill and serve with fresh basil as garnish.

(Recipe from Gena Knox, fireandflavor.com)

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