Plank Fish – Grilling Fish On A Wooden Plank

fish on a plank grilled on a charcoal grill

Grilling fish on a wood plank, or as some people call it plank fish, is something I only have been using for a short while now and I think it is a delicious and flavorful way to prepare fish on the grill.

Reason To Use A Plank For Grilling Fish

There are a few reasons why using a wood plank can be a great choice. Here is a list of the reasons I use fish planks.

More Flavor

Grilling fish on a wood plank imparts a rich, smoky flavor to the fish that is hard to achieve with other grilling methods. The wood plank adds a subtle, woodsy taste to the salmon and perfectly complements its natural flavor.


My experience was that fish sometimes gets very dry on the grill. Using a wood plank can help to retain moisture in the fish, which can be especially important if you are grilling thicker cuts of fish.

The way it works is that the wood plank acts as a barrier between the heat of the grill and the fish, helping to keep it moist and tender.


A grilled fish on a wood plank can add a pleasant smell to your BBQ. The wood plank will release a subtle, woodsy scent as it cooks, which can add an extra layer of flavor to the fish you are grilling.


Grilling fish on a wood plank can also help create an attractive presentation. The wood plank adds a rustic, natural touch to your fish, making it look more appealing and appetizing.

However, this only works with thicker planks. The thinner ones might be too burnt.

Types Of Planks For Grilling Fish

Several types of wood can be used as a plank to grill fish, and here is a list of the few I tried that gave a good result.


Cedar is one no doubt of the most used woods for grilling fish on a plank. It has a light, sweet aroma that complements the flavor of most types of fish. Cedar planks are also relatively inexpensive and can be bought in many stores.


 Alder is another popular choice for grilling fish on a plank. It has a mild, slightly sweet flavor that compliments the flavor of the fish. It might be a little harder to find, however.


 Maple is another popular choice for grilling fish on a plank because it has a sweet, subtle flavor that will be added to the flavor of the fish.


Oak is a strong, durable wood that I love to use for grilling fish on a plank. It has a bold, smoky flavor that, in my opinion, fits many types of fish. But I am a sucker for strong flavors.

The type of wood that you choose for grilling fish on a plank is depending on your personal preference and the flavors that you want to add to the fish.

plank grilled Salmon on a plate

I have experimented with different types of wood and fish combinations and this list is what I came up with and use most of the time. Your taste buds might ask for some other combinations.

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To be honest, I use Cedar the most since I can find it in about any store.

Overall, grilling fish on a wood plank is a delicious and flavorful way to prepare this popular fish. It adds a rich, smoky flavor, helps to retain moisture, and makes for an attractive presentation.

How To Prepare Wooden Plank For Grilling Fish

Using a plank to grill fish will add some time to the preparation since the plank needs to be soaked first before using it on the grill.

I tried several ways and now I use a bucket with water and a rock to keep the planks submerged for at least 2 hours.

One mistake I made the first time is putting the plank on the grill and adding the fish to it right away. That did not turn out that well and it took a long time to get the fish done.

After doing some reading, I found that the plank need to be heated up in the grill before adding the fish. However, you can do it both ways.

The plank might burn a little but I found that this only adds more smoke flavor and I actually liked that even better. Sometimes I use a thin plank just for that reason.


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Gas Or Charcoal Grill?

I have used gas grills for my fish planks and it turned out well. However, if you have been reading around here for a while you know that my personal preference is a charcoal grill. For the reason that I think it adds a little more flavor compared to a gas grill.

Finding planks

The biggest problem I have is finding planks that are not commonly used such as Alder and Maple in stores. Cedar planks I can find about anywhere.

I was checking Amazon and found some options there with different types of wood.

Give it try the next time you are grilling fish. See if adding a wood plank grilling will make just that difference between okay and wow to the taste.

I am working on adding more grilled fish recipes so you can use these for your fish planks.

Do you know that you can also use plank for grilling meat? More about that later.

Eddie van Aken

Eddie van Aken has years of experience in running his full-service restaurant and with this came working with using and dealing with all types of kitchen equipment. With his experience, he can find all the pros and cons of grills and add them to the grill reviews and the outdoor cooking tips he is writing about. You can read more on the About page for Eddie van Aken

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