Legendary Cedar Plank Salmon

February 24, 2021

If you know anything about the Seattle food scene, you’ll know we’re famous for our salmon.  King (aka Chinook).  Coho.  Sockeye.  Steelhead…  All the salmon.

I’ve lived in Seattle for most of my life, so you would think I have five different salmon recipes up my sleeve.  Oven baked, pan seared, poached, grilled…

Nope.  I don’t have five salmon recipes.  I have one.  And it’s the only one you and I will ever need.

This legendary cedar plank salmon recipe is easy enough for a busy weeknight, yet impressive enough for a festive dinner party.  It’s mouthwateringly buttery and packs a serious wow factor.  And when the grill flames caramelize the brown sugar and smoked paprika, creating a sweet-meets-savory crust that locks in maximum flavor and juices, you’ll know you’re in heaven.

Plus, it gets bonus points for being a full-on health food: chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, quality protein, antioxidants, and nutrients. 

Bringing it back to the whole mouthwatering point…  as my mom and dad’s neighbor says, “I dream about that fish.”

Alright – let’s make this dreamy fillet!


Number of servings: 2-4

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes

Macros / calories per serving (salmon only): 72g protein, 22g fat, 6g carbs. 540 calories. Assumes 12 oz of steelhead salmon.


2 lbs of fresh salmon fillets.  See below for everything you need to know about buying a beautiful piece of fish.

1-3 cedar planks You can find cedar planks online or in the seafood section at any grocery store.  Make sure you have enough surface area to fit all your fish.

6 tablespoons of Tom Douglas Rub with Love Salmon Rub You need enough spice rub to generously coat the entire piece(s) of fish.  Don’t put spice rub on the skin side.


How much salmon should you buy?

Buy 1-2 large, fresh salmon fillets.  A person with a healthy appetite usually eats about 12 oz of fish.  There are 16 oz in a pound, so do the math and make sure you buy enough.  Everyone always wants seconds with this recipe!

What kind of salmon should you buy?

We love Steelhead Salmon (aka Steelhead Trout) because it has amazing flavor, it’s super moist, and it’s a lower price point than King salmon.  If Steelhead isn’t available, Atlantic Icelandic salmon is also delicious and affordable.  If you have more budget to play with, the bigger, fatter King fillets are always rich and flavorful.

What should you look for when buying fresh salmon?

They key is to get salmon that’s not too lean.  You want your fish to have some fat (the white parts).  If the fish is a deep red color with no white stripes, it’s too lean and won’t be moist.  To get that buttery flavor, get a fish with some belly fat.  Where do you think those gorgeous omega-3s are hiding?


  1. Soak the cedar plank(s) in water for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Fire up your grill and preheat it to 500° F.
  3. Place the fish, skin side down, on the soaked cedar plank(s).  If the fish is bigger than the plank, you can cut off a piece and play fish Tetris to get it to fit.
  4. Rub the fish generously with Tom Douglas Salmon Rub.
  5. Once the grill is pre-heated, turn the middle burner(s) off and leave only the two outer burners on medium-high.  This grilling method is called Indirect Heat, meaning the burners directly under the fish will be off.  This is the super-secret grilling technique that makes the fish lusciously moist.
  6. Place the plank(s) with the fish on it on the grill, over the middle burners which are turned off.
  7. Cover the grill and let the salmon cook for ~25 minutes for thick fillets, ~20-22 minutes for thinner fillets.
  8. To check if it’s done, use a fork to flake into the fish and peek inside.  The fish should be fully cooked, not raw, but very juicy.  The outside should be caramelized, especially on the edges (thanks to the brown sugar in the spice rub).
  9. Pull it from the grill and serve it right off the plank!  Serve with brown rice or potatoes and your veggie of choice.

Dig in and savor the flavor.  You’ll feel great about eating this meal, and you’ll find yourself going back for seconds.  Or thirds…  We always do!


Tags: salmon, cedar plank salmon, seafood, fish, grilled fish, grilled salmon, high protein, low carb, whole30, keto, paleo, grain free, dairy free, meal prep, batch cooking, easy recipes, summer recipes, whole foods, nutrient dense, clean eating

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