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Learn To Grill Great Steaks, Burgers & Ribs
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Make Your Own Grilling Planks

If you can't afford a smoker grill or do not have room for a gas grill, then you can still get great taste using a regular charcoal grill and grilling planks. If you have ever wondered how fine restaurants grill smoky salmon to perfection, then the secret may be that the chef grilled the salmon on grilling planks.

A grilling plank is a piece of hardwood, created specifically for grilling meats on a wire rack. The wood adds the smoky rich flavor of a smoker grill, while allowing one to cook on a regular charcoal or gas grill.

You can make your own grilling planks quickly and easily, using a regular handsaw and sandpaper. Cut a piece of untreated hardwood lumber (it must be untreated) ½ to 1 inch thick, 7 to 8 inches wide and 12 to 18 inches long. Sand it to where it has a very fine finish with no splinters. Wash the plank to remove the dust created by the sanding, and you now have your very own grilling plank.

You can make a set of grilling planks to fit your grill, and use them to grill salmon, seafood and other meats. You'll be amazed when you taste the rich smoky flavor added by using grilling planks on a regular charcoal grill.

When using your grilling planks, make sure that you cook over burning embers only. An open flame could cause the hardwood planks to catch fire. You should soak your grilling planks for 30 minutes to 3 hours in water before use. This not only helps prevent them from catching fire, but the smoke caused by the steam creates a richer flavor. Close your charcoal grill to retain the smoke, and cook your meats as you normally wood on the wire rack.

You can use your planks several times before they become unfit for cooking. If your grilling planks become charred or cracked then you will need to throw them away and make yourself a new set. If you do not use them over open flame, they can be used many times. Higher heat does create a greater flavor, but you do not want your grill so hot as to ruin your meat or to damage the planks.

Clean your grilling planks with hot water and antibacterial soap between each use to ensure that no bacteria remains on the planks. Make sure that your grilling planks dry thoroughly before putting them in storage.

The best types of hardwood to use for grilling planks are western red cedar, alder, maple and hickory. You can experiment with other types of hardwoods but you may find that most other types will create a bitter taste for your foods.

Once your grilling planks have charred or cracked to the point where they can not be used again, you can break them into pieces and burn them in your charcoal grill if you would like to add the rich smoky flavor to your grilled fruits or vegetables. The grilling plank pieces are also great to use for kebabs.


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