This rich, mildly smoky Canadian Maple Cedar-Plank Salmon is glazed with maple syrup, balsamic, grainy mustard, butter & garlic. Easy and mouthwatering!
I got hooked on cedar plank grilling, first with our Cedar Plank Flattened Chicken and Cedar Plank Whole Chicken recipes and now with planked salmon. The salmon is exquisitely moist and tender with a mild wood smoked flavor. The glaze is so rich and scrumptious that I increased the amount in the recipe toallow for extra to soak into a side like rice or quinoa. I got the inspiration for the glaze from a recipe by Jo Cooks.
The glaze takes a few minutes to make and the salmon just 10 minutes to grill. You do have to soak your plank in water first, but if you buy the thin planks (1/4 inch) like I did, then the soaking only takes 10 minutes.
Pictured above, I served the salmon on a bed of quinoa with fresh baby spinach and grilled peppers that I cooked alongside the salmon. You can also serve it with rice and Red Quinoa Salad and Roasted Carrots or Crusted Goat Cheese Salad.
So… pure maple syrup and salmon…how Canadian is this dish, eh? You won’t wait long for the groans and raves – it’s absolutely delish!
Ways to Serve Cedar-Plank Salmon
- You can lay either individual salmon fillets on a plank or an entire half side of salmon. I often serve a full side of salmon for company right on the plank for a gorgeous presentation.
- For the most part, I serve the salmon as a main dish hot, cold or at room temperature.
- I have also served it as an appetizer (big hit!) I either place it on a cutting board (skin removed) with a serving utensil and let my guests cut off small pieces. Or, I cut it into small pieces and serve it on cucumber rounds.
Tips for Grilling With a Cedar Plank
- The thinner planks (1/4 inch) only take 10 minutes to soak (instead of 30 minutes for 1/2 inch planks) and you can toss them out after one use so no clean up. They cost approximately $1.50-$1.80 each and you can get them anywhere that sells BBQs (Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Costco, Walmart, etc). They also only need about 3 minutes on the direct heat to begin smoking.
- You can add apple juice or white wine to the water for soaking to add a bit more flavor.
- There is no need to turn the food.
- Keep the BBQ lid closed as much as possible to keep in the smoke.
- Keep a spray bottle or water handy in case the planks catch fire.
- The experts say you can wash the thicker 1/2-3/4 inch planks with water (not soap) and reuse them if they are not too charred. After a couple of uses, though, the smokey flavors diminish.
Make Ahead Maple Cedar-Plank Salmon
- The glaze can be made a day or two ahead. Or, the full recipe can be made a couple of hours ahead and served at room temperature. It’s even delicious cold.
Canadian Maple Cedar-Plank Salmon Recipe
- 2 salmon fillets with skin on one side - 3/4 to 1 pound (about 1-1.5 inch thick)
- chopped parsley for garnish (optional)
- sea salt for finishing
- 2 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp pure Maple Syrup
- 2 tbsp grainy or old fashioned mustard
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp minced garlic (1 clove)
- 1 tsp cornstarch (this will help glaze adhere to salmon)
- SOAK THE PLANK: Soak a plank in water for 10 minutes for a 1/4 inch plank (or 30-60 minutes for 1/2 inch plank). I use a thin plank and just toss it out when I'm done. Cedar planks are great for salmon as they provide a gentle smoky taste.
- HEAT THE GRILL TO HIGH.
- MAKE THE GLAZE: Place all glaze ingredients in a microwaveable bowl or measuring cup. Stir. Microwave for 1 minute on high. Glaze will be slightly thickened. Let cool for 5 minutes if using part as a marinade (note 1).
- GRILL PLANKED SALMON: Pat plank dry. Spray with oil. Place salmon on plank, skin side down. Brush salmon with 1/3 of glaze. Place plank on grill, close the lid and grill for 3 minutes for thinner plank (a little longer if using a thicker plank) until plank starts charring and smoking. Brush 1/3 more glaze on top of salmon. Turn off burner/heat under the salmon (salmon should now be on indirect heat) and close the lid. The other burner(s) should still be left on high with the temperature of the BBQ at about 425F-450F. Cook for another 7 minutes or until salmon just begins to turn opaque. Instant read thermometer will be at 135-140F (temp will rise while resting). Salmon should be a warm pink in the middle. Drizzle with remaining glaze. Rest salmon for 5 minutes loosely covered with a foil.
- SERVE: Slide a spatula between the skin and the salmon. The salmon will lift right off leaving the skin on the plank. Transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired and some good sea salt.
- Marinate the salmon (optional): To boost the flavor even more, marinate the salmon for 15 minutes by placing HALF of glaze and the salmon in a ziploc bag. Make sure flesh part of salmon is coated. I usually skip the marinating as the sauce is so flavorful and the mild smoke on the salmon has enough flavor.
- Make Ahead: The glaze can be made a day or two ahead. Or, the full recipe can be made a couple of hours ahead and served at room temperature. It's even delicious cold.
This recipe was originally published in June 2017 and has now been updated with new pictures.
Here are two other cedar plank recipes you might like.