Cedar Plank Salmon

How to cook marinated salmon fillets to smokey, flakey perfection on cedar planks on your grill or BBQ.

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There’s just something about cooking salmon on a piece of cedar that makes it taste incredible. This recipe makes cooking some cedar plank salmon easy, convenient, and relatively risk-free.

 For more great salmon recipes, why not try this recipe for Fast and Easy Lemon Garlic Grilled Salmon, or maybe try this Salmon Loaf instead?

cooked salmon on a white plate

Cedar Plank Salmon

Salmon is a great fish that is too often underutilized by home cooks. It is absolutely packed with flavor, and that naturally delicious taste is only amplified by cooking it on a real cedar plank.

Not only does it look great, but the cedar imparts tons of delicious woody, cedar-like flavors into the fish that work so well with cooking over an open fire.

Just make sure you don’t accidentally start a fire and mess up your grill or your salmon.

Cedar Plank Salmon Ingredients

Don’t forget to really examine the recipe card at the very bottom for the exact amounts you need here.

• Salmon fillets, ideally at least 6 ounces each

• Soy sauce

• Brown sugar

• Water

• Vegetable oil

• Minced garlic

• Lemon juice

• Black pepper

• Cedar plank  

ingredients for cedar plank salmon

How To Make Cedar Plank Salmon

• Whisk together all of the marinade ingredients, adjusting as needed for saltiness

• Reserve ¼ cup of the marinade in a separate bowl

• Place the salmon into sealable Ziploc bags and pour in the marinade

• Marinate for at last 1 hour and up to 2

• Soak the cedar planks in warm water for at least 2 hours. Don’t forget to keep the cedar plank weighted down so that it stays underwater

• Get an outdoor grill ripping hot and heat the plank on the grate until it begins to smoke and starts to get lightly charred

• Turn the cedar planks using BBQ tongs, and once it is charred, put it to one side on the grill so that it doesn’t get direct heat

• Place the salmon fillets on the board and baste with the remaining marinade

• Close the lid and grill for about 10 minutes, depending on the size of your fillets

• Avoid overcooking it and serve when ready

marinated raw salmon on a cedar board

How To Avoid Starting a Fire

The idea of cooking with a big chunk of wood over an open fire likely doesn’t like such a smart concept. Fire and wood don’t tend to go well together, except for one very important quality of wood – it makes food taste so incredibly good.

There is always a little bit of danger with cooking with a plank of wood in a BBQ grill, though, so make sure you take a few extra steps. You definitely need to soak the cedar plank in warm water for at least 2 hours – go longer if you have time, up to overnight. The longer you soak it, the better the cedar is going to be able to withstand the flame and avoid scorching.

Try and keep some kind of firefighting tool on hand, like a portable fire extinguisher, or at least a big bucket of water, on hand just in case.

The cedar makes the salmon taste amazing, but you do have to work a little bit harder to avoid danger.

cooked salmon on a cedar board

How To Make Sure Your Salmon Is Cooked Right

One of the big problems with making salmon that stops people from enjoying it at home is how easy it is to overcook it.

Unlike steak or any other thicker protein, salmon is really easy to get overcooked before you even realize it.

The key is to keep cooking the salmon until the meat is able to be flaked with a fork. The meat will likely still be pretty pink inside, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t cooked.

Like all meats, salmon will continue to cook once you take it off of the heat. In fact, this will happen even more so because of the cedar plank still contributing extra heat.

It might seem frightening, but don’t worry about the color of your salmon – as long as it can flake with a fork, it’s good to eat.

Looking for more delicious Fish recipes? Try these out:

Baked Salmon With Cream Cheese

How To Pan Fry Salmon

Salmon & Green Beans




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How to cook marinated salmon fillets to smokey, flakey perfection on cedar planks on your grill or BBQ. Perfect grilled salmon!

Cedar Plank Salmon

How to cook marinated salmon fillets to smokey, flakey perfection on cedar planks on your grill or BBQ.
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time
10 minutes
Cook Time
10 minutes
Main Course
food grade cedar plank
Karlynn Johnston


Salmon Marinade

  • 4 salmon fillets 6 ounces each
  • cup soy sauce
  • cup brown sugar
  • cup water
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • one food grade approved cedar plank large enough for the 4 filets


  • Whisk together the marinade ingredients, taste testing, and adjusting ingredients to taste if needed. Remove 1/4 cup of the marinade and place in a container for basting later on.
  • Place the salmon fillets in a large sealing Ziploc bag, and pour the remaining marinade over top.
  • Place the bag in the refrigerator and let marinate for 1-2 hours, making sure to occasionally take out the bag and swish the marinade around the salmon filets.
  • Soak the cedar planks for at least 2 hours in warm water but overnight is best! Make sure to weigh it down with something heavy so that it actually soaks up some water.
  • Preheat an outdoor grill for medium-high heat. Heat the plank on the grate until it begins to smoke and is at the most lightly charred.
  • Use BBQ tongs to turn the plank over and place on one side of the BBQ. Turn off the burners on that side under the plank so that you are using indirect heat for grilling. This lessens the chance of burning the cedar board too much and lighting it on fire. Place the salmon fillets on the board.
  • Baste the salmon with the remaining marinade.
  • Close the lid and grill for about 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness and size of the filets.
  • The salmon is done when you can flake it with a fork.
  • Remember that the salmon will continue to cook after you remove it from the grill, so don’t over cook it!

Recipe Notes

  • Using indirect heat is a much safer way to cook with cedar planks
  • Make sure to soak the cedar plank in water for 2-3 hours or it WILL LIGHT ON FIRE!
  • Try to soak the cedar board overnight before you BBQ for the safest results. 

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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