Work Week Tip

Today’s lifestyle has everyone running from place to place leaving very little time to prepare a nice family dinner that so many of us grew up with. I often hear people say that they only use cedar planks on the weekends because the just don’t have time to soak then planks when they get home from work or back from running the kids. Here is a great work week tip that will allow you to cook with cedar planks any time…

  1. Soak a cedar plank for 30 minutes up to two hours whenever you have a chance to slow down for a few minutes.
  2. Once soaked, remove the plank from water and place in a sealable freezer bag
  3. Place the bag in your freezer for use in the future.

When you are ready to use the plank take it out of the freezer and use just as you would a regularly soaked plank. As the plank warms up from the heat of your grill or oven the moisture will steam out it just as though it has been soaking for two hours. It is not necessary to thaw your plank out before use either – just place your season food on the plank and your ready to go.

Fruits and Cheese

 

Most every type of meat known to man has been smoke-cooked over the years, from fish and chicken, to BBQ ribs and brisket – we have all seen the big smokers pouring out mounds and mounds of smoke for hours at a time all just to make the meat taste better! Low and slow is the old saying we hear on the cooking show competitions.

Ever tasted hickory smoked gouda or oak smoked cheddar cheese? Some like it and some don’t. How about smoked fruit? My guess is you never have even heard of that before. I am hear to tell you if you ever want to make your taste buds work over time – you have to plank some cheese or different fruits on a cedar plank. The good news is it does not take hours to cook either – I like to call cedar plank cooking “Turbo Smoking” because you get that same great smoky flavor of twelve hour cookfests in just minutes.

Many different fruits can be cooked with cedar planks; a couple of my favorites are pineapple with a brown sugar rum sauce, pears with melted gorgonzola cheese in the center, or try apples and peaches too. You will have a mouth-watering experience hard to forget.

Brie cheese is the easiest and most common cheese to plank because everyone is already used to heating it up before serving it. By cooking brie cheese with a plank you take a cheese that normally is very mild tasting and give it just enough of a twist that your guest will wonder what you did to make it taste so fantastic. Many times you will find that once a cheese is warmed it takes on a completely different flavor profile. Experiment and try your own favorites too – cheddar, swiss, and gouda all make excellent choices.

Cedar Wraps or Papers

 

Most people have heard of or used cedar planks but what is this wrap business all about. A cedar wrap is really just a very thin cedar plank. When used properly, it can really add tremendous presentation value to any dining experience. Cedar Wraps allow the cook to wrap wood completely around theie food and secure it with twine.

Cedar wraps require very little prep time and require no soaking period as with cedar planks. To prepare a wrap for use simply run under cold tap water until all areas of the wrap have been covered. You may also use wine or juice – experiment with your flavors.

Once the wraps is wet it becomes very flexible; allowing food to be rolled up inside of it and secured with butchers twine or a green onion. The wrapped food can then be placed on the grill or in the oven and cooked until done. I recommend using indirect heat on the grill whenever possible as the wrap is very thin and you do not want to burn through it. The wraps will provide a much more subtle flavor than cooking with planks because there is less essential oil in each wrap due to the thinness.

Once your food is fully cooked serve the wraps right on the plate for a unique and exciting presentation that will leave all of your friends and neighbors talking.