Saturday, April 28, 2012

Plank Grilled Potlatch Salmon

We had Alexis' boss over for dinner last night.   It is her birthday this weekend and Alexis wanted to brown nose do something special for her.  The main course was plank grilled potlatch salmon.

I like plank grilling for several reasons.  
  • It makes for a great presentation when you serve the meal.   
  • It is easy to over cook fish.  The window between "cooked" and "overcooked" fish is very small, especially at high temps on a grill.  Using a plank gives you a little bit of a buffer and gives you a bigger target.  
  • It is also a good way to get a little smoky flavor if all you have is a gas grill. 

It used to be that if you wanted to plank grill, you'd have to go to a specialty store to find food grade wood planks or order them on line and wait, wait, wait for them to arrive.  In the past few years, I've noticed grocery stores have started carrying the planks, which is where Alexis bought ours (Fire & Flavor).  You can also get them from a lumber supplier as long as you can guarantee they are untreated wood.  Personally, that's not a chance I want to take so I spend the little extra to make sure I'm getting food grade planks.

Plank Grilled Potlatch Salmon
Potlatch seasoning adapted from Bobby Flay

  • 2 lb salmon filet 
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp clarified butter
  • 1 cedar plank, 6" x 15" soaked in water for 1 hour
 For the Potlatch
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • 3/4 tsp chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp dill
  • 1/8 tsp roasted cumin
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flake
  • 1/8 tsp dried lemon peel
  1. Preheat charcoal grill to medium heat (350f).
  2. Slice half of the lemon into 1/4" slices.  Juice the other half.   Mix the potlatch seasoning together.
  3. Put the butter, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp of the potlatch seasoning in a small sauce pan.
  4. Place empty plank on the grill for three minutes.
  5. Season both sides of the salmon with potlatch.  Flip the plank and place the salmon on it.  Top with the lemon slices.  Close the grill lid and cook until the salmon is done, about 20-30 minutes*.
  6. During the last few minutes, put the sauce pan on the grill to melt the butter.  Stir together.  
  7. Serve salmon with the seasoned butter on the side.
  • Most fish is done at an internal temp of 120-140f.  Dense flesh fish like tuna and salmon can be done at 120f.  I like around 130f for my salmon.  You can also tell by looking for the meat to flake easily at the thickest portion.  Test early and test often.
I did two versions, one with potlatch and one with Dizzy Pig Raging River.

Fold the thin tail section under to it is as thick as the rest of the filet, for even cooking.

Serve quickly.  Fish has a uniform muscle layer and does not require a "rest" like other meats.
We liked the potlatch seasoned fish better.  Or they did...I don't eat fish, I'm a strict meatatarian.  I also made a berry sauce to go with it straight from a cookbook recipe but it was terrible and never saw the table.