Halibut Takes on a Light Smoky Taste When Grilled on a Cedar Plank

  • 27 mins
  • Prep: 12 mins,
  • Cook: 15 mins
  • Yield: Serves 4
Ratings (4)

This is a simple, light halibut recipe that doesn't require a lot of work and is perfect for a warm summer night's dinner. Because halibut is a type of fish that is low in fat, it can dry out easily when cooked—especially on the grill. But when grilled on a piece of cedar wood, the mild, lean fish stays moist and tender and takes on a subtle smokiness that doesn't overwhelm the sweet flavor of the fillet. 
Cooking on the cedar plank also removes any fear of having the fish fall apart on the grill as you don't need to flip it halfway through cooking time.

Before cooking, you need to soak the cedar planks in water for at least 30 minutes (and up to 2 hours) before placing on the grill. This prevents the wood from charring or catching on fire.

What You'll Need

How to Make It

  1. Preheat grill to medium heat. Coat fish with olive oil and then rub with salt and black pepper.
  2. Put fish on the cedar plank, place on the grill, and close the lid. Allow fish to cook for 12 to 15 minutes or until internal temperature reaches between 145 and 150 F (60 to 50 C).
  3. Remove from the heat and serve with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, chopped fresh chives, and chopped tomatoes on top.

Tips and Variations

To soak the cedar planks, fill a baking dish or roasting pan big enough to hold the plank.

Put the plank in the dish and fill with water to cover. To keep the wood submerged, place a large can of food (such as tomatoes) on top.

If you prefer, you can use halibut steaks instead of fillets for this recipe; if you want to substitute another kind of fish, almost any white fish will work well. Just adjust the cooking time depending on the thickness of the fish.

When choosing an olive oil for drizzling at the end, reach for a good-quality bottle—you don't want to use a cooking oil or something that doesn't taste good raw. A nice extra virgin olive oil is a good choice, as is a mildly flavored oil such as garlic or basil, as long as it won't compete with the herbs and the essence of the plank. You can, of course, swap out the chives for a different herb—basil, parsley, tarragon, and cilantro are all good options; just be sparing with the strong-flavored ones.

The Benefits of Planking

We may know that when it comes to exercise planking is good for you. But what are the benefits of grilling on a plank? Basically two things: Moisture and flavor. Placing food on a wet piece of wood over a heat source creates a steam that slowly helps cook the fish, keeping it moist and tender, while infusing the food with the flavors of the wood itself. If you are interested in smoking meat and fish but don't have the patience (or budget) for a smoker, this is the next best thing. Planks are available in a few different woods—cedar, hickory, maple, and alder—and each brings its own distinct flavor to the food.

Just make sure you buy untreated wood as treated wood can contain chemicals that can poison the food and thus poison the person eating it. 

Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
Calories 356
Total Fat 11 g
Saturated Fat 2 g
Unsaturated Fat 6 g
Cholesterol 136 mg
Sodium 775 mg
Carbohydrates 10 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Protein 53 g
(The nutrition information on our recipes is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. Individual results may vary.)