I am going to share with you the best way to make Plank Smoked BBQ Salmon that people are going to be begging you to make for them every time you invite them over for dinner.
If you love salmon, then you will love my very easy plank smoked salmon recipe.
My Secrets & Tips
First of all, the best salmon I find to smoke on a plank is SOCKEYE. You can smoke any type of salmon, fish or steak for that matter. Meat seems to always be better with a little smoked flavour in it. But the best salmon is a great piece of sockeye.
Sockeye Salmon fillet (as much as you need for you dinner guests)
****Make sure you ask the butcher to use his special de-boning tool and get as many bones out as possible. Makes it nicer for eating. But hey fish has bones so no worries if there are a few in there still.*****
Plank (Alder or Cedar)
Lemon Pepper seasoning (I like the Clubhouse brand)
Approximately 3 Tablespoons of Lemon juice (Bottle or fresh you choose)
Spray Bottle FULL of water
1. Soak the plank for at least two hours prior to cooking. This needs to be done so that the plank smokes and does not just catch on fire. I just soak it in my kitchen sink. Make sure both sides get soaked though.
2. Take your salmon fillet and put it on a plate. Season it by rubbing in the lemon pepper seasoning and sea salt. The salmon fillet should be generously seasoned. Not too much sea salt though as this will just make the salmon really salty and over power the lemon pepper.
3. Warm your BBQ and get it all clean and ready for cooking. Make sure you have your full spray water bottle by the bbq because no doubt at some point your plank might have a few flames you need to put out.
4. Bring the plank you are using out and tongs and place the smoothest side of the plank down on the bbq. You will be cooking the salmon on the smooth side. You place it down on the bbq to seal the plank. So just a few seconds until the plank looks a bit dry. Then flip the plank over now. Smooth side should now be up.
5. Take the lemon juice and put some on the smooth side of the plank. I think that three tablespoons is usually about enough. Then place the salmon fillet skin down on the plank. You put the lemon juice under the salmon because this helps to keep it really moist. You can use water instead of lemon juice if you want. All depends on how much you want the lemon flavour in the salmon.
6. Now adjust the temperature to keep the plank smoking and not on fire. Close the lid to keep the smoke in. Make sure to stay there and keep an eye on it at all times in case the plank ignites. You need to be there to put the ignited portion of the plank out with your water bottle and to adjust the temperature.
Telling you what temperature works best is hard as all bbqs seem to be different. I find that I usually need to keep the temperature between the low and medium setting, but closer to the low if I want smoke and not major flames.
7. DO NOT FLIP THE SALMON. The salmon never gets flipped. It stays skin side down the entire time you are cooking it.
8. I tend to find that salmon fillets take about 20 minutes to bbq. When the fillet is done, it looks a lighter pink and the oils have started to form on top of the salmon. You will see the oil is white and coming out to the top of the salmon. If you take a fork and pull at a flake of the salmon fillet, it will just fall apart when it is done.
Make sure it is cooked in the thickest part of the fillet. That is usually where I put the fork to pull a flake apart to make sure the fillet is cooked.
Do not over cook the salmon. If you do it will be dry.
9. I like to serve the salmon on a platter of lettuce. It just looks great this way.
10. Turn the bbq off when you are done cooking the salmon and let the plank cool completely on the top rack. Planks are only used once, so discard when completely cooled.
Which Wood Should You Use?
I tend to like Alder better, but Alder tends to be more expensive. Cedar is a great choice and is usually the more popular type of wood. The best is to do a piece on each and let everyone tell you their preference. You can really see how the wood affects the taste of the salmon when you have a fillet cooked on Alder and one cooked on Cedar.
There are many packages of planks that you can buy that have both Cedar and Alder in them. You just need to experiment and figure out which one you like best. It is just a matter of taste.
Now how easy was that?! Great salmon to impress your dinner guests with and oh so simple.
Here is a PDF of the recipe in case you wish to print it for later.
Smoked Salmon _ MomMomOnTheGo