This rich, mildly smoky Canadian Maple Cedar Plank Salmon is glazed with maple syrup, balsamic, grainy mustard, butter & garlic. Easy and mouthwatering!
The salmon is exquisitely moist and tender with a mild wood smoky flavor. The glaze is so rich and scrumptious that I increased the amount in the recipe to allow 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 do, then the soaking only takes 10 minutes.
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!
How to Serve Cedar Plank Salmon
- Full side of salmon: I often serve a full side of salmon for company right on the plank for a gorgeous presentation.
- Individual salmon fillets: For the most part, I use several single salmon fillets and serve it as as a main dish hot, cold or at room temperature.
- Appetizer: I love to serve plank salmon 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.
Tailor To Your Taste
- Although I LOVE and highly recommend the sauce/glaze in this recipe, you can of course, use others, even store bought ones.
- If you don’t have a plank and grill, you can bake the salmon in a conventional oven on a baking sheet at 425F/218C for 10-13 minutes (depending on thickness). Brush on half the glaze before baking and half after.
- Try a bit of lemon zest as a garnish for some tang.
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 – even some grocery stores). 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.
How to make this cedar plank salmon recipe
Grill salmon on cedar plank along with other vegetables if you like.
What to serve with salmon
I like to serve the salmon right on the plank or on a bed of quinoa with fresh baby spinach and grilled peppers that I cook alongside the salmon.
Other great sides and salads to compliment the salmon are:
- Make the glaze a day or two ahead. Or, make full recipe a couple of hours ahead and served it at room temperature. It’s even delicious cold.
Canadian Maple Cedar Plank Salmon
- untreated cedar plank
- 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 tablespoon butter
- 3 tablespoon pure Maple Syrup (or brown sugar)
- 2 tablespoon grainy or old fashioned mustard
- 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic (1 clove)
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch (this will help glaze adhere to salmon)
- SOAK THE PLANK: Soak a plank in cold 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). Alternatively, place ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer on medium heat for a few minutes until thickened.
- GRILL PLANKED SALMON: Note 2. Pat plank dry. Spray with oil. Place salmon on top of plank, skin side down. Brush salmon with 1/3 of glaze. Place plank on grate of barbecue, close cover and grill for 3 minutes for thinner plank (a little longer if using a thicker plank) until plank starts charring and smoking. Have a glass of water on hand in case of flare ups. 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 lid. The other burner(s) should still be left on high or med-high heat with the temperature of the BBQ at about 425F-450F/218-232C. Cook for another 7 minutes or until salmon just begins to turn opaque. Instant thermometer will show an internal core temperature of 130-135F/54.4-57C (temp will rise while resting). Salmon should be a warm pink in the thickest part. 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 charred wood plank. Transfer to a plate. Sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired and some good sea salt and/or lemon zest.
- Marinate the salmon filet (optional): To boost the flavor even more, marinate the salmon for 15 minutes by placing HALF of the maple-balsamic marinade (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.
- To bake salmon instead: If you don’t have a plank and grill, you can bake the salmon in a conventional oven on a baking sheet at 425F/218C for 10-13 minutes (depending on thickness). Brush on half the glaze before baking and half after. You won’t get a smoke flavor without the plank of course, but the fish will still be delicious.
- 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.