How to Buy Cedar Planks for Your Next Grilling Adventure
Cedar planks are a great way to add flavor and moisture to your grilled food. They impart a smoky, woodsy aroma that enhances the taste of fish, meat, vegetables, and even fruits. But how do you buy cedar planks that are suitable for grilling? Here are some tips to help you choose the best cedar planks for your next barbecue.
What to Look for When Buying Cedar Planks
Not all cedar planks are created equal. Some are better than others for grilling purposes. Here are some factors to consider when buying cedar planks:
- Size: The size of the cedar plank should match the size of your grill and the food you want to cook. Ideally, the plank should be slightly larger than the food, but not too large that it takes up too much space on the grill. A standard size for cedar planks is 12 x 6 inches, but you can also find smaller or larger ones depending on your needs.
- Thickness: The thickness of the cedar plank affects how long it takes to heat up and how long it lasts on the grill. A thicker plank will take longer to soak and preheat, but it will also last longer and prevent the food from burning. A thinner plank will heat up faster and cook the food quicker, but it may also char or crack easily. A good thickness for cedar planks is about 0.5 inches.
- Quality: The quality of the cedar plank depends on the type of wood and the manufacturing process. You want to buy cedar planks that are made from untreated, natural wood that is free of chemicals, additives, or preservatives. Some cedar planks may be labeled as “food grade” or “grilling grade” to indicate their safety and suitability for cooking. You also want to buy cedar planks that are smooth and uniform in shape and color, without any cracks, knots, or splinters.
Where to Buy Cedar Planks
Cedar planks are widely available in various places, such as:
- Online: You can buy cedar planks online from various websites that sell grilling accessories, such as Amazon, Walmart, or Home Depot. Buying online gives you access to a wide range of options and prices, but you also have to pay for shipping and wait for delivery. You also can’t inspect the quality of the cedar planks before buying them.
- Local stores: You can buy cedar planks from local stores that sell grilling supplies, such as grocery stores, hardware stores, or specialty shops. Buying locally allows you to see and touch the cedar planks before buying them, and you can also ask for advice from the staff. However, you may have limited choices and higher prices compared to online shopping.
- Diy: You can also make your own cedar planks from raw wood if you have the tools and skills. You can buy untreated cedar wood from lumber yards or home improvement stores, and then cut it into planks of your desired size and thickness. You can also sand and smooth the edges of the planks to prevent splinters. However, this method requires more time and effort than buying ready-made cedar planks.
How to Use Cedar Planks for Grilling
Once you have your cedar planks, you need to prepare them before using them on the grill. Here are some steps to follow:
- Soak: Soak the cedar planks in water for at least an hour before grilling. This will prevent them from catching fire and help them release more steam and flavor. You can also add some salt, sugar, herbs, or spices to the water to infuse more flavor into the wood.
- Preheat: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat and place the soaked cedar planks on the grill for about 15 minutes until they start to smoke and crackle. This will help them reach the optimal temperature and moisture level for cooking.
- Cook: Place your food on top of the cedar planks and close the lid of the grill. Cook according to your recipe and preference, checking occasionally for doneness and