This Canada Day, I am grilling up the perfect west coast Canadian recipe: Cedar Planked Salmon.
On the west coast of Canada, we love to eat fresh, wild salmon. While there are many species of salmon available, my favourite has to be sockeye salmon. It’s deep rich orange flesh is so succulent, full of omegas, and is always juicy– there’s nothing else like it!
I picked up my salmon fillets from my favourite seafood store in Victoria, Finest at Sea. They always have a great selection of seafood available and it is always fresh! Not only is their seafood fantastic, I love that they tell you exactly where the seafood was harvested along the coast of B.C.– and even what fishing vessel caught it! Bringing this awareness to the customer is amazing and really makes me appreciate my seafood every time I get it!
While I used sockeye salmon in this recipe, you can use whatever variety of salmon you prefer– pink, spring, coho, you name it! Just make sure that it is fresh and is coming from a reputable source!
Now let’s get into making this Cedar Plank Salmon!
Soaking the Planks
The first step when making Cedar Plank Salmon is to soak your cedar planks. You can find cedar planks at just about any hardware store or specialty cooking store during the summer months. The soaking time varies depending on the type of cedar (or wood plank) that you buy. Since I used a western cedar plank, I soaked it for 2 hours. Much harder wood planks like maple or cherry need to be soaked for 4-6 hours (or sometimes overnight) to ensure the water penetrates through and so that the wood doesn’t catch on fire on the grill. When in doubt, check the label for the recommended soaking time– you don’t want to burn the planks entirely when grilling them!
Soaking western cedar planks in a large pot of water
Once the planks are soaked, it’s time to preheat the grill. Turn the left and right grills on, leaving the center grills off. You want to use indirect heat to cook and smoke the salmon to ensure the planks do not catch on fire during the cooking process. Close the lid and let the grill heat to 400 degrees F.
Salmon sprinkled with Sweet Smoky Maple Sea Salt from SaltWest
To prepare the salmon, place it skin side down on top of a cedar plank and sprinkle the top liberally with salt. I used SaltWest’s Organic Sweet Smoky Maple Sea Salt– a perfect compliment to this salmon recipe! Next, drizzle on 1-2 tablespoons of birch syrup (maple syrup also works too) on top of the fillets and brush it evenly across the top and sides of the salmon. I am using Escuminac’s Yellow Birch Syrup in this recipe!
Fo shizzle my drizzle!
Once coated in the delicious birch syrup, place the cedar planks directly on the center of the grill, close the lid, and let the salmon cook and smoke for about 15-20 minutes, or until the edges of the salmon turn opaque orange and the fat has turned white. If the edges are opaque and there is no white fat bubbling out, continue to cook for a few extra minutes. The cook time will largely depend on the thickness of the salmon fillet, but typically it takes 20 minutes per pound of salmon.
To finish off the salmon with an extra smoky flavour, turn on the center grills and close the lid. Once you see smoke gently seeping out from the grill (not billowing), the salmon should be cooked through. This final smoking process should only take about 5 minutes or so.
Remove the cedar planks from the grill and brush another 1-2 tablespoons of birch syrup on top of the salmon to finish it off! For some extra flavour, grill some lemons with it and squeeze over top!
You can serve this Cedar Plank Salmon hot off the grill, or serve it at room temperature- both are great ways to enjoy it this long weekend!
I hope that your enjoy this wonderful Canadian recipe, this summer! Happy Canada Day to all my fellow Canadians!