The Best Place to Buy Cedar Planks for Grilling

updated May 26, 2020
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cedar plank salmon with lemon cooking on grill
Credit: Elena Shashkina/Shutterstock

Grilling food (like salmon, arctic char, and shrimp) on a cedar plank does a lot to add a deep, woodsy flavor that’s not really easily replicated with any other cooking method. (Plus, the wood plank helps keep the food from sticking to or falling through the grates!) Where to buy cedar planks, though? You can get a pack of cedar planks at a specialty food store — like at Williams Sonoma — but, honestly, we’ve found them to be needlessly expensive at shops like that. Instead, try hitting up a Home Depot or your local hardware store, where you can get a dozen for a fraction of the cost.

I stole this tip from my sister, who grills almost nightly. She heads to the hardware store, picks out a two-inch-thick cedar board (usually eight-feet long) and has the store slice it into eight-inch pieces.

Not only is the wood less expensive this way, but it’s also thicker than the cedar planks made specifically for culinary use, so they take longer to fully char. Which means you can use plenty of times before you need to move on to a new piece of wood.

One important note: Like with wooden skewers, you need to soak the wood for a few hours before you put it on the grill. (Skip this step and they’ll catch fire and won’t be super useful.) If you want to use them for dinner tonight, put them in a baking dish full of water and let them soak.

Once you’re done grilling, rinse the plank with warm water and use a scrub brush to remove any leftover bits of food. (No need to use soap!) Between uses, you can store the planks in the freezer to keep them in tip-top shape.

Do you ever grill with cedar planks? Where have you been buying yours?