Spiced Cedar Plank Salmon With a Maple Bourbon Glaze

Updated 27th June 2024

Grilled cedar plank salmon is a delicious way to cook salmon and infuse it with smoky-savory flavor. It may seem like a pretty fancy way to cook salmon but in fact it is a very easy way to cook salmon and another benefit of planking is that it infuses steam, so salmon stays moist as well as tasty. A bonus is that you don’t have to worry about your salmon sticking to the grill grates or anything like that. Of course we associate planking with the grill but it’s not limited to the grill you could definitely cook this salmon over your plank in the oven too. I did a simple dry rub for this salmon and used a maple bourbon flavoured glaze to add more smoky sweet flavors.

Spiced Cedar Plank Salmon With a Maple Bourbon Glaze

A favourite of ours to do on the grill is cedar plank salmon. It’s perfect for feeding a few and grilling the salmon over a cedar plank gives it the most wonderful woodsy flavour and smokiness from the grill. It grills up very quickly and you can season your salmon any way you prefer. Sometimes less is more with olive oil, salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. But sometimes more is more and that is why I did this one spiced and with a tasty maple bourbon glaze which is totally drinkable by the way. Creating a spice rub and glaze adds loads of flavour to the salmon and the glaze also adds a nice sweetness. It also caramelizes creating even more intense flavour. I strongly recommend it for this recipe and also any other meat you may be grilling.

Spiced Cedar Plank Salmon With a Maple Bourbon Glaze

So there’s a funny story about our first homemade cedar plank salmon - to make a long story short - I won’t divulge who - but someone didn’t realize that the cedar plank needed to be soaked before grilling on it and it burned to a crisp in minutes and left the salmon uncooked. Disaster was averted - the salmon did not go to waste. It just needed a bit of time in the oven and really it’s the thought that counts when someone is making anniversary dinner for someone else - no names will be mentioned.

Spiced Cedar Plank Salmon With a Maple Bourbon Glaze

Cedar Plank Salmon Recipe Ingredients

The seasoning and glaze are delicious together in this recipe but this recipe works really well with any seasoning blend you like - I have added some suggestions on how you can make this recipe your own and also some variations below:

  • SALMON: You will need approx 1 ½ lbs salmon. Either use 1 large salmon fillet or a few smaller portions. Skin on salmon is what I recommend for the plank.
  • SPICES & SEASONING: I used a blend of salt, black pepper, chili powder or cayenne pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and paprika. You could stick to the blend in the recipe or use your own favorite spice blend - like Cajun, lemon pepper or whatever blend you like.
  • MAPLE SYRUP: Maple syrup is what the glaze Is made with - it reduces well and tastes really good in the glaze.
  • BOURBON: A couple of splashes of bourbon is all you need to add a little more flavor to the glaze. A good spiced rum or whisky would work well here too.
  • ALTERNATIVES & VARIATIONS: Sometimes I will create more of a marinade adding a little olive oil to the spice blend along with a little lemon zest, lemon juice, dijon mustard and even a little brown sugar - feel free to do that for even more flavor. If you prefer to simply do salt and pepper for your salmon you could beef up the glaze with minced garlic, and ginger and add some W sauce and soy sauce to it too so it’s more sweet savoury rather than just sweet. If you prefer to use your own glaze recipe or store bought that is fine too. Feel like adding some spice to your glaze? Feel free to add a pinch of chili flakes or add a squeeze of orange juice or lemon juice for more flavor. If you want it sweeter thicker and stickier you can add 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar or honey to it too.

Spiced Cedar Plank Salmon With a Maple Bourbon Glaze

How to Grill Salmon On A Cedar Plank (detailed instructions in recipe card below)

  1. SOAK CEDAR PLANK: As we learned from our very first time grilling on a cedar plank, you must soak the wood beforehand which will prevent the whole plank from going up in flames. The thicker the plank is, the longer you soak it for. The recommendation for this size plank was 3-4 hours of soaking it in water. This is good to take into consideration when planning a meal. Many people like to get some flavour in their plank by soaking it in cider or wine. I have never tried anything but water so I can’t recommend one. If you do decide to soak in something other than water, consider the flavours you will season the fish with so that they are compatible.
  2. SEASON SALMON & MAKE GLAZE: Rub salmon with olive oil and the spice mix then make glaze while salmon sits with rub at room temp
  3. PREHEAT GRILL: Always preheat your grill like you would your oven
  4. CURE OR TOAST PLANK: Rinse you plank after it has been soaking then throw it on the grill for a few minutes alone before adding the salmon to “toast it/cure it” so that it gets nice and hot, then reduce the heat a little and let the grill do it’s thing.
  5. PLACE SALMON ON PLANK: Carefully place salmon skin-side down on hot plank
  6. GRILL SALMON: Once salmon is on plank - lower the lid of the grill and cook salmon for 15-20 min
  7. SERVE: This salmon goes with just about any side dishes, salad, potatoes, rice, asparagus or any other vegetables you prefer.

Spiced Cedar Plank Salmon With a Maple Bourbon Glaze

Tips For Grilling On Cedar Plank

  • Make sure to soak plank for a least 1 hour or overnight
  • Consider the size of plank according to the size salmon you want to cook on it whether it’s one large piece or smaller salmon fillets.
  • Toast or cure the plank prior to placing the salmon over it - this is optional but adds nice flavor to the salmon plus your salmon gets a head start on cooking as the plank is already hot.
  • Season plank by soaking it in wine, fruit juice, sake, or cider or even salted water. This will infuse even more flavor to the salmon.
  • Cedar planks for the grill need to be ½-inch or thicker — the thicker the better if you want to reuse them
  • Make sure your cedar plank if food grade - your best bet is to to buy one from the market or grocery store where it’s sure to be food grade
  • Planks may be reused two or three times, even if charred if they are in good condition. Good condition means that it can be cleaned without soap and that the plank hasn’t been excessively burnt if the wood is completely blistered, break it up and use it as smoking chips. After removing the grilled food, scrape the plank clean and the soak it in a container of warm water without soap.

Spiced Cedar Plank Salmon With a Maple Bourbon Glaze


Servings: 4-6
Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time: 15-20 mins
Non Active Time: 1-3 hours for soaking cedar plank


  • 1 cedar plank (soaked overnight or at least 1 hour)
  • 1½ lb salmon, skin on
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼–½ teaspoon chili pepper or cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1½ teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon of cracked black pepper

For Serving

  • Chopped chives or fresh chopped parsley for garnishing
  • Lemon wedges or slices for garnishing

For the Maple Bourbon Glaze

  • ¼ cup bourbon
  • ½ cup pure maple syrup


Prepare Plank

  1. Make sure that the plank has soaked for at least 1 hour and up to 24 or according to package recommendations. Place it in a deep pan or container and you may need to place something over it to with it down if needed so that the whole plank is submerged.

Prepare Glaze

  1. Combine the whiskey and maple syrup in a small saucepan, bringing the mixture to a boil then reduce heat to a constant simmer and reduce mixture by about half. You should have a slightly thicker more syrupy consistency that coats the back of a spoon, approx 8-10 minutes. (Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the glaze separately if you would like to drizzle some of it on the salmon just before serving)

Prepare Salmon

  1. Combine the spices in a small bowl
  2. Rub the salmon with olive oil
  3. Season/rub the salmon with the spice mix and use hands rub all over salmon. Let the salmon sit for 10 minutes at room temperature, until the rub is moistened and while you preheat the grill.

Grill Salmon

  1. Preheat the grill on medium-high heat for 5 - 10 minutes or until it reaches 350 degrees F, indirect heat if possible.
  2. Rinse the plank and place it on the cooking grate. Cover the grill and heat the plank for 4 - 5 minutes or until it starts smoke and crackle lightly. (Toasting the plank like this is optional but it adds even more flavor to the salmon, heats up the plank and it helps dry it a bit)
  3. Carefully place the salmon, skin side down, on the plank. Brush with some of the glaze. Cover the grill and cook for 12-20 min (depending on the thickness of salmon), or until it is cooked and flakes, or to your desired doneness, brushing with glaze halfway through cooking. It is ok to very slightly under cook the salmon as it will continue cooking off the heat on the hot plank.
  4. Carefully remove plank from grill onto a sheet pan. Slide a thin spatula between the skin and flesh to easily separate fish from the skin. Serve immediately garnished with chopped chives/chopped fresh parsley, lemon slices and glaze if you reserved any from the start. (You could also serve it right off the board with the skin still on)

Recipe Notes

  • No Grill No Problem - Cooking with cedar planks isn’t just for barbecuing; it works great in the oven, too! Simply place the plank on a baking sheet, and then arrange the salmon, on top. You’ll achieve the same smoky flavor and juicy tenderness, without the smoke that sometimes comes with outdoor grilling over higher heat. For salmon, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place the fillet skin-side down on the plank and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the meat can be flaked with a fork.
  • Once your salmon is cooked through, remove it from the grill with tongs or something secure as it will be very hot. Place it on a baking sheet or other surface that can handle the hot temperature of the wood and you might want to line whatever you place it on cause the plank will be dirty from being on the grill
  • The most accurate way to determine if salmon is cooked to the correct temperature is to use a food thermometer. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the fish and make sure it reads at least 145°F (63°C). Watch the color: As salmon cooks, its color changes from translucent to opaque.

Spiced Cedar Plank Salmon With a Maple Bourbon Glaze