Beer, Peaches and Salmon Fillets
There are plenty of ways to grill seafood! You can grill directly on grates, use foil, grilling mats, and even seafood grilling baskets. But, when it comes to the ultimate grilled flavor then plank grilling is the way to go. But even then, there’s room for bonus flavor and that’s with a simple recipe you can use as a marinade, baste, or dipping sauce. But before we jump into the sauce recipe let cover some seafood plank grilling basics!
Wood Plank Basics
People have been grilling food on pieces of wood for a long long time. According to many food historians, this type of cooking is the root of what we currently associate with “Barbecue” or “BBQ” or “Low and Slow” cooking. Wood burns, so if you’re going to cook over a fire… made of wood, then the wood “plank” you’re cooking on needs to be prepared. Here are some basics when it comes to plank cooking/grilling.
- Use food-grade planks from a store or planks made by a reputable maker.
- Never use homemade planks cut from treated lumber. And – never cook over a fire that has treated lumber as a fuel source.
- Always wet or dampen planks in clean water in a clean container.
- Treat grilling planks with the same food safety awareness you would use with skillets, pans, etc.
- Choose from different wood varieties such as cedar, alder, apple, cherry, oak, maple, hickory and more. – Avoid Pine.
Here’s the basic thing to remember about grilling on wood planks. Buy from a reputable source, don’t make your own from leftover 2×4’s or any other commercially produced home lumber, and soak them! Last tip – Keep a spray bottle filled with water handy for flare-ups or if your plank starts to burn around the edges.
Soaking made Simple
- 30 Minutes: Soak the planks in clean water in a clean container for at least 30 minutes before using on your grill.
- Submerged: Make sure the planks are fully submerged by putting a heavy pot on top or a brick sealed in a zip-close bag.
- Oil PLanks: It’s a good idea to use a light coating of oil or non-stick cooking spray on each plank after soaking. This is especially true when grilling seafood wityh the skin still on.
- Low heat or Indirect: Grill over lower temps or use indirect grilling methods. The BBQ Dragon Rotating Grilling Grate is perfect for Plank Grilling!
- Reusable? Kind of: Depending on the thickness of the plank, time soaked, the temperature of the heat source, etc… a plank can be reused two or three times during the same grilling session. Dip in water, soak for a bit, retreat with oil, add food, and grill again. When the plank is done simply crumble into the coals and use it as flavored wood chips.
- One Session and Done: You can use a plank a few times during a grilling session but then burned as more fuel or disposed of. Never save used planks for future use.
- Dip and Dispose of: Don’t set your garbage on fire! Dip used planks in water to extinguish all flames and sparks before tossing in the garbage.
Pale Ale Salmon with Oregon Peach BBQ Sauce
This is a great starter recipe. You can adjust to your tastes and ingredients you already have in your kitchen including using your favorite ale! And, of course, you can make your starter sauce from scratch if you desire. But, if there’s a local brand that makes a great sauce you can start with… why not grab a bottle and support a local small business.
- 1 bottle local BBQ sauce
- 1-2 peaches skinless chopped
- 2-3 tablespoons your favorite Pale Ale
- 1/2 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
- 2-3 tablespoons water
- Dash of pepper
Directions: Combine the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil. Boil the mix for about a minute while stirring. Reduce heat to low and stir as needed to prevent scorching. While the sauce is cooling baste the salmon with a small amount of your favorite Pale Ale and sprinkle with a small amount of black pepper and any seasonings you prefer. Grill, bake, plank cook the salmon as you normally would and serve with a spoonful of peach sauce over the top.
Author Bio: Kent Whitaker, also known as “The Deck Chef,” is an award-winning culinary writer and cookbook author. He’s also penned Young Reader, NASCAR and History titles. The former winner of the Emeril Live Food Network Barbecue Contest also covers football, motorsports, and bass fishing. Kent currently lives in East Tennessee with his wife, son, and a couple of dogs that love when he fires up the smoker or grill. You can reach out to Kent at www.thedeckchef.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.