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…
- Soak a cedar plank for 30 minutes up to two hours whenever you have a chance to slow down for a few minutes.
- Once soaked, remove the plank from water and place in a sealable freezer bag
- 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.
There are only three steps to cedar plank cooking… Soak, Smoke and Savor. For this entry lets just discuss step one, “soaking.”
I’m very often asked … How long do you soak the plank? The correct answer to this question is 30 minutes up to 2 hours. You really do not want to soak the plank longer than two hours. Western Red Cedar is softwood that contains essential oils. During the soaking process the wood will absorb as much water as it can possibly hold, much like a sponge. Once the plank becomes fully absorbed the essential oils of the wood will start to leach out and turn the soaking water to a golden brown color. If you see the water start to discolor then the plank is fully soaked. Soaking the plank longer will only force more of the essential oils out of the wood, minimizing your planking experience.
Always use fresh clean tap or bottled water when soaking the plank
Ensure your soaking vessel or sink is clean and free of any contaminants before soaking
If the plank floats place a fruit can or jar on top of the plank to weight it down