If you, like me, need absolutely no excuse to fire up the outside wood oven, BBQ, fire pit or just cooked on an open flame, then give this a whirl, No matter how many weird and wonderful things I’ve cooked on planks the easiest recipe is, and for me the tastiest, will always be Wild Salmon on an oak board. Scottish Salmon is in my opinion the best, so it’s time to fire up the grill.

Shopping list

An oak plank ( you can get these specifically for the job online)

A side of Scottish Salmon

Brown Sugar


Salt + Fresh Ground Pepper

Things you may want to know

1. how does plank cooking actually work? The salmon is cooked and picks up the oak flavour, When the soaked plank is placed on the hot grill, it releases the moisture along with the aromatic oil that it picked up from the wood during the soak. This steam helps cook and flavour the fish while also keeping it moist, Wood and Heat creates smoke, In this case an oaky smoke which helps to cure the outside of the salmon, The end result of cooking salmon on a plank is perfectly cooked fish and lot’s of flavour.

2. Don’t oil the plank. There’s absolutely no need to. When the fish is done, you can just slip a spatula between the meat and the skin

3. Do however soak your plank. I’d suggest about 1-2 hours soaking time is enough to get just the right amount of moisture. If you’re really pressed for time, just run it under the tap and make sure to keep a close eye on it while you’re cooking.

4. Try and fill the plank, not always easy I know, but this helps prevent flare-ups during the grilling process, flare-ups often happen anyway. Wood and hot grill will almost always result in fire, just Keep a spray bottle of water on hand, spray flames when necessary.

5. Do brine your salmon, not essential, but it’ll help make your salmon taste better Dissolve 50g of salt, 40g of sugar in 1ltr of water, then add your fish to the solution for 1 hour. The brine helps the salmon take on the fantastic smokey flavour

6. Do season the salmon, There is an awesome delicious marriage between salmon, garlic, and brown sugar, so keep your seasoning simple. Just rub the fish with freshly chopped garlic, then liberally sprinkle the top with brown sugar. The brown sugar caramelizes the fish and helps bring out a fantastic depth of flavour, Add salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste.

7. Once your plank is soaked, your fish is brined, and the seasonings are in place, it’s time to put it all to the heat. Place your plank with the seasoned salmon on the grill, BBQ, Big Green Egg, open fire, whatever you are using make sure it has a lid to keep in all that flavorful smoke, cook until the fish is done to your liking. If your salmon fillet is about an inch thick, I reckon this should take about 20 minutes.

And finally!

Remove salmon from the heat, garnish with freshly chopped parsley, chervil, chives and freshly squeezed lemon, place in centre of the table and tuck in!

Happy cooking


Written by Jon Fell

Head Chef Rosehill Theatre, Chef on the Simply Good Food TV app, run a Seafood Cookery Class at Peter Sidwell Cookery School, Newspaper food columnist

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