Food: Cedar Plank Salmon


Story and recipe by Jim McGrody. Photo by Sean Dreilinger.

Cary, NC – Last time I was writing for CaryCitizen, I wrote about apple wood smoked chicken.

I hope that some of you traded in your hamburgers and hot dogs and tried something new.

As I was beginning to think about what I should be writing this week for  the  CaryCitizen, I realized I was once again thinking smoking on the grill. I really should move on, but as it is not even the fourth of July yet, we all should still be talking about backyard grilling. It is fun, saves energy and is a great way of bringing the family together. My greatest memories as a kid are often associated with our family in the backyard cooking on the grill.

Salmon Sittin’ on a Piece of Cedar

I’ve been doing cooking demos over the last few weeks. Recently I did a demo at the Holly Springs farmers market. Saturday, I did a chef demo for 100 bariatric patients from Rex at Shelly Lake in Raleigh. Both times, I taught folks how to use those cedar boards that are now showing up in just about every grocery store in our area. People at both events loved the salmon! Even those that did not like salmon liked this one.

So, we did “cedar plank smoked salmon”. It is a wonderful way of cooking salmon. It gives a light smokey flavor, is extremely moist and is quite the conversation piece.

The recipe we use at Rex is very simple, full of flavor and is absolutely delicious.

Cedar Plank Salmon

One side fresh Atlantic salmon (skin and pin bones removed)
½-cup honey
1/2 cup Dijon mustard
1T chopped fresh rosemary
1 T lemon zest
2 cedar planks (soaked in water for ½ hour)
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix honey, mustard rosemary and lemon zest together
Place salmon on cutting board and trim away any belly flap or fin as needed. Season with salt and pepper. Spread honey mustard glaze over salmon evenly
Place salmon on boards and place over direct heat. Cover grill and allow to cook until salmon is done, about 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on cooking as the board may catch on fire, if so douse with water.

On a side note, Rex Healthcare here in Raleigh competed nationally in a culinary competition in Phoenix Arizona this month. We took on some of the biggest hospitals in the country and we won silver medal.

Chef Ryan Conklin and I were representing Rex. We were very proud to achieve a silver medal our first time competing at that level. The gold medal winner was NYU medical center in New York City.

Next year we take the gold!
Chef Jim McGrody is Director of Culinary and Nutrition services at Rex Healthcare and author of the critically-acclaimed book What We Feed Our Patients.