Recipe Blog - Feature - HD Recipes - Maple Mustard Trout

Why You Need to Plank Grill on Your Freestyle

Planking is fun and easy, producing succulent and impressive meals quickly on your barbecue. Lightly smoky, plank grilling creates a slightly woodsy flavor on almost any dish you can imagine. Plank grilling can be done on both gas and charcoal barbecues. They follow very simple rules. Soak, smoke, and serve. So, keep reading, because this is why you need to plank grill on your Freestyle Barbecue.

Try the recipe for Cedar Planked Trout with Maple Glaze from the feature image of this blog.


What is Plank Grilling?

Plank grilling is easy to explain. You place a soaked, untreated wooden plank that has been specifically made for the purpose of cooking on the barbecue. These planks are used as the platform to cook your meal and provide a lighter wood smoke flavor, which is great for those who aren’t super into smoked food.


Why are Planks Great?

Plank grilling is great for those who aren’t super experienced with a barbecue or cooking fish especially. They provide a barrier between the direct heat of the barbecue and is great for gently roasting a meal. Plank grilling promotes moisture retention in foods that tend to dry out, especially when using our Infusion Planks. Planks keep the grill grids cleaner and provide a versatile and unique way to prepare food. Imagine an easy weeknight dinner, hot off the grill, with the grandest of presentations, directly on the hot plank.

Grilling planks come in many flavors and types. The two most popular flavors are Maple and Cedar. Although you can also find them made from cherry, hickory, alder and a few other types of wood. Napoleon also has a unique plank, designed to ensure succulent meals, infused with light and spicy cedar flavor as well as your favorite flavoring liquids like wine, beer, juice, or something of your own creation.

Try these delicious infused steaks for dinner.

Recipe Blog - Yakiniku Steak Recipe - plank1


How do you use a Grill Plank?

Using a plank on your barbecue is supremely easy. As long as these steps are followed, your barbecue sessions should be successful and delicious.

  1. Start by soaking the plank in water (or wine, juice, beer, etc) for at least 30 minutes before starting the cooking session. A soaked plank will have a layer of liquid that protects it from the heat of the grill. As this layer of liquid evaporates, it produces steam that helps keep foods from drying out.

  2. Smoke. You can either preheat the plank on the barbecue or place the food onto the plank, then onto the grill. Generally speaking, unless otherwise called for, you will use indirect heat for cooking on a plank. When ready to cook, preheat the barbecue with or without your soaked plank, then add the food and cook until the food reaches your desired finished temperature. Remember that fish won’t take very long, chicken, chops, and small steaks will be a little longer, and roasts (yes roasts) will take a while. However, meat isn’t the only thing you can cook on a plank. You can also roast fruit and vegetables, flavor pastas, bake mashed potatoes, pancakes, and desserts.

  3. Once the food is finished cooking, remove the food and the plank from the barbecue and allow your food to rest as needed. Remember these planks are hot. If you plan to use them as the serving platter allow them to cool on a heat-safe surface before using them to serve, as well as a safe surface to place them on, on the table. Keep in mind that you do not want to do this if the plank is smoldering or slightly on fire.

How to Set up Indirect Heat on a Barbecue

To set up your barbecue for indirect grilling, you need at least two burners that are individually controlled. Turn on as few as one burner, while leaving the other off. If you have more than one burner, turn one to two on leaving at least one-off. Four burners? Turn on the two outside burners, leaving the two in the middle off. This creates a convective environment much like an oven.

Try this recipe for Lemon Pepper Wings on a Plank and use the Indirect Grilling technique with a plank.

wings on grill



Can I Reuse a Grill Plank? And Other Safety Tips

With any kind of cooking, safety should be your number one priority, the same applies to using a barbecue. When you grill on a plank it is best to follow some simple safety rules.


Reusing Planks

Planks can be reused if there is less than fifty percent (50%) char through the board. Allow them to cool completely, either by dousing them in a bucket of cold water or leaving them on the grill to cool. Wash these planks under running water, scraping off any stuck-on food. Do not use soap as it leaves an unpleasant taste. Allow the planks to dry completely before using again.


Help! My Plank is on Fire!

If you find yourself with a flaming plank, use a spray bottle or a bucket of water to douse it safely. Do not bring it into the house or set it onto a wooden deck. Remove the food using long-handled tongs and then remove the plank from your barbecue. You can spray it with water or douse it in a bucket.


Making the Most of Your Veggies

If you plan to add that plank-y goodness to your vegetables, prepare the veggies – parboil, blanch, and or mash – the day before. Allow the vegetables to cool completely overnight before finishing them on the grilling plank. This allows the moisture to evaporate and the vegetables to firm up so that they do not go mushy when you barbecue them.


Use Hardwoods

You can get planks in a variety of flavors, however, when you are purchasing planks, it is best to get them from reputable sources, like Napoleon, and avoid softwoods like pine or those with the bark still on them. Pine and bark will produce bitter smoke and poor flavors.


Recipe Blog - Chorizo Black Bean Nachos - Serve1

Upgrade your nachos easily by creating individual Chorizo & Black Bean Nachos on a Plank


If you are looking for exciting new flavors, subtle woodsy fragrances, and an adventurous-looking meal, this is why you need to plank grill on your Freestyle the next time you use the barbecue. What will you cook on a plank? Share your favorite plank recipes, success stories, and photos with us on our social pages like Instagram and Facebook. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #NapoleonEats and #FreestyleGrilling!

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