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.

Soak the Plank

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.

Helpful hints…

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