Plank Cooking

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Sirloin
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2003/07/27 11:38:47 (permalink)

Plank Cooking

I saw an interesting grilling method for fish on a cooking show yesterday. It involved cooking such fish as filets of marinated salmon, tuna, etc., on planks of aromatic woods such as Alder, Mesquite, Hickory, etc. The planks were soaked in H2O for 24 hrs. or so and then fish placed on top & grilled over direct heat. In a short while the fish was done, usually with the edges of the plank being on fire. Anyway, either I am dumb and/or stupid for never thinking about this. Can anyone enlighten me further on this cooking method

OOPS. Just realized I posted in wrong area... Oh well, too late now...
#1

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    mayor al
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/27 12:53:34 (permalink)
    All the 'Planked' cooking I have seen used the wood as a backdrop, meaning the wood was stuck in an almost vertical position around the fire. In some cases, a reflector was placed on the opposite side of the heat source to "aim" the heat towards the Planked Steak or Fish. The most common of these was included in the Boy Scout Field Book that was like a Bible to me back in the Scouting days. (never will forget the photo of a group of boys roasting a whole Ox over what looked like 500 lbs. of charcoal!) Anyway the meat of choice seemed to be Salmon in all the examples of this style cooking that I have seen, using Alder as the base for the fish.
    I have seen the results of Steak done this way, but haven't watched the process of cooking.
    #2
    seafarer john
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/27 14:08:11 (permalink)
    Planked shad is a famous old way to prepare shad in the Hudson Valley of New York - so they say. I've been eating shad at all kinds of venues for about 70 years and I've never actually seen anyone plank a shad nor have I ever eaten planked shad.
    I think I have had shad baked in the oven on a hardwood plank - but that's not what the Judge is asking about.

    After a search of our quite extensive library of cook books my wife found an old Time/Life book of "Outdoor Cooking" and there was an illustrated article on planking shad filets. In short, they are nailed (stainless steel is specified) to a hardwood plank about an inch thick, brushed with oil and sprinkled with herbs and stood up at what appears to be about a 70 degree angle in front of hot coals and baked 'till the filets flake, and served on the board with vegetables. The bottom of the plank is shown to be standing in a baking pan of water - I guess to keep the drippings from making a mess on the hearth.

    The whole process seems to be an unnecessary pain to me - you can get that charcoal broiled flavor by just cooking directly over the coals - either in a basket or directly on the grill or even on a griddle over a wood or charcoal fire.We do all sorts of filets and fish steaks in all of those ways with very good results. A little oil or butter, a squeeze of lemon, some chervil, tarragon, salt and pepper and you are in business.
    #3
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/27 14:18:07 (permalink)
    I wish I knew more about plank cooking of fish. As far as I know, this technique was used several years ago when grills, etc as we know them today was not existent. Perhaps this was used by the inuit and other tribes to cure, cook fish as they wanted. I know some restaurants revert to this method today as a way to entice customers.

    Today as I know it , it is far easier to use the grill, but before the days of what we know as modern conveniences, this was used.

    Regardless, it sounds good

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    #4
    EliseT
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/27 15:17:02 (permalink)
    One caveat: if you buy the wood at a lumberyard, make sure it wasn't treated with anything. Much lumber is these days.
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    VibrationGuy
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/27 18:18:29 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EliseT

    One caveat: if you buy the wood at a lumberyard, make sure it wasn't treated with anything. Much lumber is these days.


    Yeah, and this is no time to use Trex synthetic lumber. ;0)

    That said, I just use nice pieces of vertical-grain Western Red Cedar that I've had a small half-round groove routed into. Total lumberyard specials, about $3/ft for 1x12. Soak them in water, place the fish upon them, and cook in the oven or grill over lowish heat until the fish is to your liking. It could not be simpler. I laugh at the $30 planks you find at gourmet stores; it's just lumber after all.

    Eric
    #6
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/27 18:54:22 (permalink)
    The treated lumber discussed is treated with cyanide. I used it for my dock and it is guarateed for 40 years beneath water. I was warned not to use it for firewood or makeing a fire for cooking hotdogs or other things on the lake.

    I did not.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    CCJPO
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/27 19:57:55 (permalink)
    I have a great recipe for plank cooking of all things, carp.

    1) Catch carp, harder than it sounds as they are wiley, and a tough
    fighter. You want one that is about 2 pounds.

    2) Gut carp and take out mud streak.

    3) Filet

    4) Stake to plank, preferably apple, peach, alder or cedar. It is best to use wooden dowels, howver stainless steels nails work in a pinch.

    5) Place planked carp in a large pan and pour in enough cheap, but drinkable red wine to cover. A half gallon should do it, as that way you have some left over to drink.

    6) Marinate planked carp in frig for at least 24 hours.

    7) Remove planked carp from frig, and fire up the grill.

    8) Remove carp from the plank and throw the carp away.

    9) Cook plank and eat accompanied by some more of the cheap red wine. ENJOY
    #8
    seafarer john
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/27 22:17:45 (permalink)
    CCJPO: Your's is the Best carp recipe I ever saw! I was given a 6 lb carp once and decided to make Guifltefish (sp). Many hours and much labor later we cooked up the fish balls - took one bite, and buried the rest in our garden - which has flourished in that area ever since. Carp makes great fertilizer, unless they are tiny , in which case they are nice swimming around in a fishbowl.
    #9
    lleechef
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/28 12:27:26 (permalink)
    Plank cooking is very tasty and an old method of cooking fish. The Athabascans do this every summer. This method of cooking was usually done on an ocean beach or on the banks of a river. (I have caught wild salmon at both environs.) A piece of cedar or aldar work the best. It's actually quite simple: catch yourself a nice salmon, fillet it, build a fire and get your plank nearly red hot. Remove it from the fire and put the fish on it. As it begins the cooking process you turn the fish over and then start to eat from the outside. By the time you're ready to attack the center of the fillet, it's perfectly done.
    #10
    EdSails
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/28 13:44:58 (permalink)
    I believe Sunset Magazine's "Best of Sunset" cookbook has an article on Northwestern style planked salmon.
    #11
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/28 14:56:07 (permalink)
    There was a huge restaurant in South Omaha, NE that sold only Catfish and Carp. I am not sure how they prepared the Carp, but it was on the menu and sold well. I never bought it because of my preconceived opinions , but I wish I had becauzse many people seem to enjoy.

    Paul E. smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    suzym13
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/31 11:09:15 (permalink)
    the best salmon i've ever tasted was actually cooked by a friend's father on the grill, using a plank. he actually sent me a plank with a recipe for christmas that year which was awesome. there is a company out of the northwest that sells these mail order, specifically for the purpose of cooking salmon...but yeah, the process is as you described: soak the plank (cedar, i think) in water 24 hours, then baste a side of salmon with a glaze (brown sugar, maple syrup, soy, that kind of stuff) and throw it on the grill. the thing about this is...you get the great smoky flavor, along with the sweetness of the glaze, without burning the glaze (which is what would happen if you put sugar all over something directly over hot coals)
    i haven't used a plank since that, but to replicate it, just grill some salmon and then put the glaze on last minute, so it doesn't char...but it really doesn't taste the same.
    #13
    Oneiron339
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/31 13:28:49 (permalink)
    Another option for smoked salmon that I do is just go to your neighborhood Home Depot or Lowe's and get a cedar shingle for about a buck, soak it in water, then smoke the salmon on it skin side down @ about 200 deg. for a few hours. The fish tastes great and it is easy to move around and carry once it is finished (it doesn't crumble thru the grates). Also, the skin comes right off and you can clean and reuse the cedar.
    #14
    Sundancer7
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/31 13:31:55 (permalink)
    oneiron: Just make double sure that your cedar shingle has not been pressure treated with cyanide. Most of that type of wood has warnings on it not to burn as it will emit harful and dangerous chemicals. I am not sure that the shingles have the warning. They are beginning to pressure treat the shingles as it prolongs their life.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
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    Oneiron339
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    RE: Plank Cooking 2003/07/31 13:57:54 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by Sundancer7

    oneiron: Just make double sure that your cedar shingle has not been pressure treated with cyanide. Most of that type of wood has warnings on it not to burn as it will emit harful and dangerous chemicals. I am not sure that the shingles have the warning. They are beginning to pressure treat the shingles as it prolongs their life.

    Paul E. Smith
    Knoxville, TN
    Maybe that's what's wrong with me. Yeah, Paul, you're right. Thanks. I would have presumed no one would use anything toxic on their food, but then again, some folks are actually eating carp and drinking Miller Lite.
    #16
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