Cedar Planked Salmon

Joined Jul 25, 2009
I'm working on a recipe, and I'm torn between two choices.

The dish is a cedar planked salmon with a fried onion crust (ok, I'm not
making these, using the canned variety.)

I'm entered this twice in contests and have 2 3rd places...I'm trying to kick
it up a notch. I've been making this with the salmon coated with a honey
dijon mustard sauce, crusted with the onions, and then a white wine/lemon
reduction sauce to cut the richness. It's pretty dang good.

Now I'm thinking about two other options.....in between the salmon
and the onion crust (which will include grated parmesan and herbs)
I'm thinking about using some sort of creamy mixture, or a some sort
of relishy mixture.

My thoughts are:

for the cream type, a mayonnaise or mustard or sour cream base
with some flavoring agents, including some with texture. I'm not
feeling good about fruity flavors here, except for lemon.

for the relishy/pesto type, I'm thinking of a bright but thick
sauce with enough zing to compliment the fish and balance the
richness of the topping...

I'm interested in trying some tarragon or balsamic vinegar in either
case, or perhaps a more creamy Imperial style sauce would work..

any comments or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Most important, I stink at sauces! Especially cooking on site...
did decent with a buerre blanc, but had trouble getting it thick enough.
Joined Jul 17, 2009
i know this sounds really weird but if you make a liquorice fluid gel it goes really good with salmon and some vegetables like beans and asparagus. If not try making a mushroom vinagriette(sorry for bad spelling). What i do is cook portabellos in olive oil and and let them sit and juices come out especially if you squeeze mushrooms or push them down with a ladle, then get vinegar and oil and adjust to your likeing.
Joined Aug 18, 2007
>for the cream type, a mayonnaise or mustard or sour cream base
with some flavoring agents, including some with texture. I'm not
feeling good about fruity flavors here, except for lemon.<

Sounds good. I'd suggest adding Horseradish. We've been using it a lot lately. Experimenting with smoked fish cakes.
creamed horseradish goes sooo well with smoked trout and salmon. And it gives a lovely bite. Beware of the cheapo jars of creamed horseradish that taste like tartare sauce.
Be better to source some fresh and grate it into your mayonnaise and mustard mix yourself.


Staff member
Joined Mar 29, 2002
I don't know about the contests you're entering but I think the dish is overwrought. There is way too much going on in respect to the salmon. However, many amateur contests reward that sort of thing.

I'd look more at a good rub for the salmon to work with the plank flavor.

I don't think I'd sauce it. Maybe a gremolata with some of the citrus juice.
Joined Jul 16, 2009
I agree. Some sort of rub sounds good.

Are you cooking it all the way through? High heat? Soaked plank?

The salmon's texture could also play a part in judging I'd assume.

We could help by also hearing the feedback of said judgment?!

Also I can't help wondering why you are using a canned variety of anything, why wouldn't you just make it yourself?!
Joined Jul 25, 2009
wow, thanks for all the responses...

Bug, the horseradish sounds like the perfect sharpness, I'm gonna
play around with that.

Phatch, you're right, the amateur contests are judged by amateur
judges....local tv weathermen, etc. While organizations like the
Kansas City Barbecue Society train judges, the salmon is being
entered into a Friday night event called Anything Butt Pork, which
means anything except desserts and barbecue. The judges here
will be less trained than the judges on Saturday for the bbq categories.

To win on Friday night, you need a dish that doesn't offend, and has
a wow factor. Some of my teammates love cleaned jalapeno peppers
stuffed with cream cheese and pulled pork barbecue, wrapped in bacon
and grilled indirect. They are addictive, but polarizing. To thank my
crew I let them enter that in comp last April. The results were just
as I thought. People either loved em or refused to eat them because
they were jalapenos. We finished middle of the pack.

Salmon is not my favorite choice to make simply because some folks
don't like fish. This treatment wins many over, but that is the exact reason
why I'm not highlighting the fish. BTW, my monger feels pretty sure
he can get me fresh Faroe Island salmon, which I but from him and
take home and eat raw, sometimes with a little wasabi/soy. It's outstanding.

Adam, I'm cooking high heat on a charcoal grill, starting direct and going
indirect....it doesn't take long. I'm using a very light rub of salt and pepper
with lemon zest....most of the flavor is in the next step, the honey dijon
mix....that's what I'm looking to improve on.

I do not soak my plank, but I do oil the side the fish goes on. And I use
canned onions for convenience, and probably because I couldn't do better
than the canned ones. I'm just a grill guy, and the judges aren't gourmet
for the most part.
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