Six Basic Planking Techniques

Planking has recently been embraced by avid grillers, but this technique can be traces back to the Native Americans. It is simple, choose a hardwood plank and soak it in water for at least 1 hour before cooking. Place the food on the plank, place the plank on the grill or in the oven, close the lid or door, and cook. Viola! The result of this technique is food that is blistered, scorched, or browned, and imbued with the gently aromatic flavor of the plank where the food has touched it. Get more about planking and some recipes in 25 Essentials: Techniques for Planking.

Stuffed Peppadews

Six Basic Planking Techniques

Indirect-heat planking requires a fire on one side of the grill, and no fire on the other. You put the planked food on the no-fire side. If you have a fear of fire, then this kind of planking might be most appealing to you—along with oven-planking. Planking over indirect heat requires the most time on the plank as well, so foods pick up more aromatic flavor with this technique.

Dual-heat planking calls for a hot fire on one side of the grill and a lower fire on the other side; you put the plank on the lower-fireside. This is a hurry-up method for those who want to speed things along with salmon or chicken, for which the high-heat method might not produce the best results.

Grill-planking is done when you want to put grill marks on a food before planking indirectly. You already have an indirect fire, so it’s a snap to grill a slice of eggplant, a breast of chicken, or a pork tenderloin on the direct side just until you have good grill marks. Then you simply put it on the plank and transfer it to the indirect side to finish cooking.

Plank-roasting or high-heat planking is used when you want to cook tender fruits, vegetables, or shellfish quickly and with more caramelized flavor. Place grilling planks directly over a hot fire (with a spray bottle of water handy). To plank-roast on an open brazier grill (one without a lid), simply tent a disposable aluminum pan over the planked food for the “grill lid.”

Smoke-planking is planking with a kiss of smoke and is great for foods that you would like to imbue with a little smoke flavor. Add wood chips to the fire, either thrown directly over hot charcoal or placed in a smoker box on a gas grill. Let the wood begin to smolder, then plank away. You’ll get the aromatic wood flavor at the bottom of the food with a literal top note of smoke.

Oven-planking is ideal when the weather is just too bad to go outside, or maybe just because it’s more convenient—for instance, if you plan to plank-roast. Oven-planking is usually done at around 350° to 400°F, while plank-roasting calls for oven temperatures of 450° to 500°F.

Planked Goat Cheese with Tapenade and Preserves

Planked goat cheese with tapenade and preserves.



Two 8-ounce logs fresh goat cheese

½ cup prepared olive tapenade

½ cup fruit preserves, such as cherry, fig, or apricot

Flatbreads or crackers for serving

Suggested plank: 1 cedar or alder grilling plank, soaked in water for at least 1 hour


  1. Prepare a medium fire in your grill.
  2. Place the cheese logs on the plank. Spoon the tapenade over one log and the fruit preserves over the other log.
  3. Place the plank directly over the fire and close the lid. Plank for 15 minutes, or until the cheese has a burnished appearance and has started to melt slightly. Serve immediately with bread or crackers.

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25 Essentials: Techniques for PlankingYou don’t need a fancy rig, special equipment, or complicated directions to start planking. All you really need is a board and 25 Essentials: Techniques for Planking.You’ll learn 25 essential techniques, including “Plank-Roasting Fish,” “Center-Planking Fish with a Slather,” “Smoke-Planking Poultry,” “Planking Whole Tenderloin,” and “Planking Chops over Indirect Heat.”

This book features tempting fare such as Griddle-Planked Brie with Amaretto-Peach Chutney and Cranberry Conserve, Plank-Roasted Pears with Blue Cheese, Cheese- and Herb-Stuffed Planked Portobello Mushrooms, and Garlic and Rosemary-Slathered Planked Pork Chops.