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Cedar Plank Salmon Issue

I'm having some trouble with my cedar plank salmon.  I preheated the dome to 350 and threw it on direct.  Figured it would be done in around 20 minutes.  When I checked the temp after 20 minutes, the thermometer barely even registered an increase from room temperature.  Granted this is an unusually thick piece of salmon, probably over two inches at the center, and even the sides aren't too much below that; still, it surprised me.  I put it back in for another 7 or 8 minutes or so.  Checked it again, and the internal temp at the thickest part read 110.  Another 5 minutes and the internal temp was at about 120.  I understand it's a thick piece of fish, but does it generally take this long to cook through a thick piece of fish?
Southern California

Comments

  • FoghornFoghorn Posts: 2,738
    So, what you are describing doesn't seem that unlikely. The variables are: thickness/weight of plank, how much water soaked into the plank, thickness of the fish, and the starting temp of the plank and fish. When I do a medium thick (slightly less than an inch) piece of fish on a relatively thin but soaked plank it usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes.
    The beauty of plank cooking is that it is relatively slow and keeps the fish moist so there is a several (probably 10) minute window where the fish comes out excellent. When I grill fish direct I feel like that window lasts about 15 seconds.
    The downside of plank cooking is that you can't rush it. Trust me. Setting a plank on fire on your in-laws grill and burning the fish is no way to impress anybody.

    XL BGE, Klose BYC, ProQ Excel, Weber Kettle, Firepit, Grand Turbo gasser, and a portable Outdoor Gourmet gasser for tailgating

    San Antonio, TX

  • bicktravbicktrav Posts: 467
    Foghorn said:

    So, what you are describing doesn't seem that unlikely. The variables are: thickness/weight of plank, how much water soaked into the plank, thickness of the fish, and the starting temp of the plank and fish. When I do a medium thick (slightly less than an inch) piece of fish on a relatively thin but soaked plank it usually takes between 20 and 30 minutes.
    The beauty of plank cooking is that it is relatively slow and keeps the fish moist so there is a several (probably 10) minute window where the fish comes out excellent. When I grill fish direct I feel like that window lasts about 15 seconds.
    The downside of plank cooking is that you can't rush it. Trust me. Setting a plank on fire on your in-laws grill and burning the fish is no way to impress anybody.

    Thanks for your help with this. The fish turned out very well actually. It just took an incredibly long time. I kept thinking it had to be done, so I would open the dome to check the temp, which threw the internal temp off. By the end of the cook, all the opening and closing threw the dome temp to around 425. The fish still was great--had an amazing subtle cedar taste--but the temp change made the cooking unpredictable and maybe the fish suffered a touch for it. Anyway, I'm still new to the egg and this was my first time attempting cedar plank cooking. Learned a few lessons, not least of which was be patient and don't open the dome.
    Southern California
  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 7,193
    edited June 2013
    Sounds about right for a 350 direct cook. First planked on the egg I used 400-450 indirect, Fish was done in under 15 minutes (cooked to just flaking) 
    I now go raised direct at 400. 
    Sound like you nailed the cook, albeit a little longer than expected. 
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • bicktravbicktrav Posts: 467

    Sounds about right for a 350 direct cook. First planked on the egg I used 400-450 indirect, Fish was done in under 15 minutes (cooked to just flaking) 

    I now go raised direct at 400. 
    Sound like you nailed the cook, albeit a little longer than expected. 

    Sounds about right for a 350 direct cook. First planked on the egg I used 400-450 indirect, Fish was done in under 15 minutes (cooked to just flaking) 

    I now go raised direct at 400. 
    Sound like you nailed the cook, albeit a little longer than expected. 
    Curious, how were you testing for doneness? I was using internal temp. We're you going by elapsed time or internal temp or feel of the fish?

    Southern California
  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 7,193
    For salmon, typically sockeye, I always go for the "it just flakes"I guess it is feel. Using a fork, I put the tines in about 1/4-1/2" and give a slight twist, if it flakes off it comes. I think the internal is prolly about 120-125, it will sit for a moment so the final is a touch over 130.  
    When a pink or chum or that farmed Atlantic stuff, it is more heavily seasoned so we cook to "it really flakes" internal more like 140-145.
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • Mark63Mark63 Posts: 1
    I had the opposite issue this evening. Had the egg up to 500, and it increased to 550 and set the blank on fire--a difficult fire to extinguish. And the salmon wasn't cooked through. It's a learning process.
  • Invest in a remote meat thermometer. One where you can leave the probe in the fish and read the internal fish temperature anytime you want too, without raising the dome. This probe should have a long enough cable to snake through the daizy wheel and plug into the external readout unit. also protect the end of the probe where it attaches to the cable from direct heat. this can be easely done by making sure the probe end is over a plank. if that cannot be arranged then put several folds of foil on the grill below the exposed probe end, say a 2 inch square. works wonderfuly.
    San Angelo, texas
  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 7,193
    edited June 2013
    Mark63 said:
    I had the opposite issue this evening. Had the egg up to 500, and it increased to 550 and set the blank on fire--a difficult fire to extinguish. And the salmon wasn't cooked through. It's a learning process.
    @Mark63 - that's why I suggested you use an indirect cook until you get the temp thing working for you. Hard, if not impossible to get cedar/alder plank burning when protected by a setter. 
    I never use a remote thermo for fish, no idea why, just never thought about it. 
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
  • TexanOfTheNorthTexanOfTheNorth Posts: 3,909
    I've never done a 2" thick piece of salmon but mine usually go for 30 minutes at around 350* raised, direct.
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    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
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    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
  • burr_baby33burr_baby33 Posts: 503
    When you plank your salmon do have skin on or off. I do both ways planked or not. Usually decide about the time I light the egg.
  • TexanOfTheNorthTexanOfTheNorth Posts: 3,909
    We've been buying the frozen filets at Costco which come without the skin. Personally, I can go either way but Mrs. TOTN won't touch it if the skin is left on.
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    Well, "spa-Peggy" is kind of like spaghetti. I'm not sure what Peggy does different, if anything. But it's the one dish she's kind of made her own.
    ____________________
    Aurora, Ontario, Canada
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