Tips For Grilling With Natural Wood Planks

Posted on: 18 January 2018

Grilling is a preferred cooking method for people who want their meat, seafood, and vegetables to be delicious and packed with flavor. While many simply grill over an open flame, placing food on natural wood planks when grilling is becoming increasingly popular. Using wood planks when grilling allows the food being cooked to take on the subtle flavor of the wood, which can greatly enhance the taste. If you're interested in grilling with natural wood planks, use the following tips:

Choose the Right Size

Before purchasing wood grilling planks, you need to have an idea of what you will be cooking on it so you can choose the right size plank. Most wood cooking planks are rectangular, but it is also possible to find planks that are square or oval. For best results, the meat, seafood, or vegetables that you plan to grill should fit comfortably on the plank without anything hanging off.

Get the Wood with the Right Flavor

All woods have different flavors, and some are better suited for cooking different types of meat and seafood. Make sure that you think about both the protein that you plan to grill as well as the type of wood planks you will be using. Seafood tends to be somewhat delicate, and most types of seafood pair well with the flavors imparted by cedar or alder.

When cooking chicken or pork, it is a good idea to use wood planks made of maple, apple, or pecan; cooking on maple wood, for example, will give a great smoky flavor without overpowering the taste of the meat. Wild game and beef can typically withstand a heavier wood flavor, so consider using hickory or oak wood planks for grilling.

Prepare the Plank

It is extremely important to prepare a wood plank before you grill any type of meat or seafood on it. The first thing you need to do is soak the plank in water to ensure that it will not catch fire or become overly charred during the grilling process. Make sure that you soak both sides of the plank for an equal amount of time to ensure that all of the wood is evenly soaked.


Most people recommend using a two zone indirect fire when grilling with wood planks. Set the grill to medium and let the fire heat up, then place the wood plank with the food on it in the coolest part of the grill and shut the lid. Cooking on medium heat will slow down the cooking time so whatever you are cooking can fully absorb all of the flavor of the wood.