A lump of gleaming coal, a flickering flame, and the satisfying sizzle of meat. For many people, these are indications that a grilling session has begun. If you’re anything like us, you’re always looking for a new trick, a unique seasoning, or a useful new tool to impress not only your taste buds, but also your friends, family, and neighbours. So, why not experiment with plank grilling this year?


What is Plank Grilling?

Plank grilling, also widely recognised as planking, is a technique wherein food is cooked on a wooden board, over indirect heat, on a BBQ. It’s the most effective way to achieve a deep, wood-smoked flavour in your dish. Plank grilling surpasses the traditional wood chip method because the skin of your fish (or chicken or vegetables) comes into direct contact with the charred plank. However, the flavour will vary depending on the type of wood used.


Can You Reuse a Smoking Plank?

Reusing planks is dependent on the condition of the plank after grilling. If the plank is completely charred, it’s best to scrap it and start over. If the plank is still in good condition, it can be reused. Wash the plank in hot water (without soap) and place it in the freezer. Make sure to use the same meat, fish or vegetables on that plank the next time you grill. 


How to use a Smoking Plank?

Step 1: Before we begin, inspect the planks to ensure they are free of splinters. Brush the wood with sandpaper until it is smooth.


Now it’s time to soak your planks in a bowl. Soak the boards for at least one hour in water (though three or four is better). Submerging your planks in a baking dish or rimmed sheet pan is the best way to soak them. To keep them from floating, use a heavy can. Flip them now and then to ensure they’re evenly soaked.


Step2: Let’s fire up the grill. Prepare one side of the grill for direct heat and the other for indirect heat. When using charcoal, use a chimney starter to keep the hot coals on one side of the grill. The zone above the coals is referred to as direct heat.


Grill your pre-soaked planks over direct medium heat (for charcoal, medium heat is when you can comfortably position your hand five inches away from the bbq for five to seven seconds).  Allow the plank to heat for three minutes, covered. The wood should start to emit some light smoke. When the plank begins to blacken, it’s ready.


Step 3: Flip the planks over with a pair of long-armed tongs so the blackened side is facing up. Place the planks over indirect heat. Then, skin side down, place the fish on the planks. Grill, covered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the fish flakes easily with a fork.


Step 4: Your tender, smoky fish is fully prepared for the spotlight. Place the planks on a nice platter to serve. Your guests will be wowed by the plating, but the flavour will win them over. After one bite, you’ll want to plank grill every day.


To see more of what we do at The Green Olive Firewood Company and for more helpful tips on plank grilling, follow us on Instagram and Twitter.