Sunday, early evening, was the perfect time to grill and what better food to grill than seafood AND what better way to grill seafood than on cedar planks? Every time I grill with or without cedar my first comment is “I will never cook in the house again!”.
The flavor is incredibly wonderful and the clean up is exceptionally easy. NO POTS AND PANS!!! When I grill, the whole meal is done on my Weber Grill. I’ve been grilling on the Weber for a very long time and I actually feel as comfortable on the grill as I am on a stove. It took a while to figure it out but once I did I feel as if I have it mastered.
You need not be a master to grill and using the cedar plank makes it even easier. You just have to be sure to soak the cedar planks for at least 4 hours and you most certainly must have control of the fire.
To begin with you must start out with the freshest seafood available. It’s at the seafood store where you will be able to find the cedar planks. Soak the planks for 4 hours prior to grilling. Don’t let them dry out.
Build a big charcoal fire and when the briquettes turn white spread them out in an even layer. Place the cedar planks on the grill and let them char for about 5 minutes. It’s always best to put the cover on the grill when you put the planks on the grill: They won’t catch fire. After 5 minutes of charring, flip them over and put your seafood on the planks. (For the seafood, drizzle with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.) Cover the grill and cook the seafood pretty much the same as you would in an oven at a high roasting temperature. I cooked the shrimp for about 4 minutes and them flipped them over and cooked 4 minutes more. (I used large shrimp – 15 to a pound – cleaned and peeled with the tail left on.)
The fish I grilled was a beautiful piece of grouper weighing about 12 ounces. I cooked the grouper for approximately 12 minutes since it was a very think piece. (Each piece of fish will vary so use your fish cooking knowledge and you won’t go wrong.) Once I removed the seafood from the grill, I covered it loosely with foil and let it rest and “juice up” for about 10 minutes.
If you plan on doing lobster start it out on the grill, meat side down, to char and grill mark it and then finish, meat side up, on the plank. I used small Florida Lobster tails weighing about 6 ounces each. They cooked perfectly but really too small to have any flavor. When I do lobster again I will use either large Florida tails (they have much more flavor) or Maine Lobster tails because small Maine tails are flavor abundant.
I also cooked a baked potato and vegetables on the grill. For the potato I rubbed it with XVOO and liberally sprinkled it with coarse sea salt. I did not wrap it in foil but I did put it on a piece of foil to act as a sort of pan. It took about 45 minutes to cook. I did this before I grilled the seafood and kept the potato warm in my kitchen oven. For the vegetables I drizzled them with XVOO and sprinkled with coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
So there you have it. Be adventurous and give Cedar Plank Grilling a try. I promise you that you won’t be disappointed and you my never cook inside your home again; at least not seafood (or steak or chicken or pork or lamb).
Questions, comments, ideas? Leave a comment or email me at