Cedar planks

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by brian1brian, Aug 17, 2019.

  1. brian1brian

    brian1brian

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    6
    Exp:
    25 years
    Id like to incorporate a cedar plank into my fall menu. I’m leaning toward using it with the pork tenderloin. It’s not something I’ve worked with before. I’m using an open grill, salamander, non-convection oven (pushing for convection in the near future, can’t assume I’ll have it).

    I’d love some feedback on the entire process. As I’ve said, I’ve never used them, so please dummy it all the way down how you have/would.

    Appreciated,
    Brian
     
  2. brian1brian

    brian1brian

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    6
    Exp:
    25 years
    Links to any preferred resources also appreciated.

    Thank you all!
     
  3. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,944
    Likes Received:
    497
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    My experience with using cedar planks required that the planks be soaked in salted water for a couple hours.
    Using indirect heat the plank is placed in the oven or grill with the heat emanating from around the plank not under it.
    Realize too that the plank is a one time use only according to the health department guys.
    I used to buy them in large quantities and pull out what I thought I'd need for service each night. I sprayed the plank with release because my whitefish always stuck.
    The plank takes on the flavor of what is cooked on it and the sides of the plank burn sometimes.
    This is something you will have to experiment on in your place. The salamander would be your best bet.
    ...and I Googled "wood plank cooking" and up came more useful information. Good luck
     
  4. brian1brian

    brian1brian

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    6
    Exp:
    25 years
    Thank you, chef.

    Yea, I’ve been checking the usual resources... YouTube, google, a couple of cookbooks I have get into it.

    I usually find that professional kitchen applications are harder to find info on, plus I’m always looking for the more personal input of experience.
     
  5. fatcook

    fatcook

    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    114
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    We've used them for cheese - brie or Camembert both work well. Char the plank in the salamander and place the cheese on the plank to heat. You could top with brown sugar and the nut of your choice and pair with pears / apples for a fall dessert or cheese plate. Alternatively, pesto or something spicy with crackers / flat breads for a starter. It's a great way to heat the cheeses without having to worry about timing. Once the plank comes out, toss the cheese on and plate - it's the right temp by the time it hits the table.

    You can purchase thinner planks in bulk, and even cut them in half for smaller cheese portions. Plate the plank plus accompaniments on a larger plate to keep the costs down with one use per plank.
     
    phaedrus likes this.
  6. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    87
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    We would char them with either a torch or over the grill and soak in water with a weight on them. They were then used basically like a finish plate and the item was placed on top of the plank and put under the salamander for a little bit. As for the one time use thing, that may be up to your local codes because our inspector never said anything about them.
     
  7. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,462
    Likes Received:
    978
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    It goes without saying, hopefully, that you need to use untreated cedar. Double check to make sure you are getting untreated wood. Treated wood is full of very toxic substances!!!
     
  8. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,944
    Likes Received:
    497
    Exp:
    Former Chef

    Wow.....that's very strange. Think of the bacteria that grows on those things as they are re-used. It was made very clear by the HD.
     
    brianshaw and brian1brian like this.
  9. brian1brian

    brian1brian

    Messages:
    39
    Likes Received:
    6
    Exp:
    25 years
    Some areas are terrifyingly lax on health code/sanitation requirements. I’m pretty sure I recently heard that Florida is experiencing a severe Hep A situation.
     
    brianshaw likes this.
  10. brianshaw

    brianshaw

    Messages:
    3,496
    Likes Received:
    507
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    That’s why I never order planked anything at a restaurant... or eat it at anyone else’s home.
     
  11. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    5,243
    Likes Received:
    736
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    What I don’t understand is that a cedar shingle is cheap—not as cheap as bamboo chopsticks, but still very cheap. It is biodegradable, doesn’t include the use of petrochemicals, and can be burned very easily.
     
    fatcook likes this.
  12. STEPHEN WOODARD

    STEPHEN WOODARD

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    3
    Exp:
    CHEF, EXEC CHEF, COOK, OPERATOR
    Cedar is naturally bug resistant and is not treated as a rule. I have always used roof shingles, cut 4x6 or so, soaked them in water and cooked of woodfire or grill with a top on. Actually my favorite way to eat fatty salmon...or ivory salmon. Much cheaper than buying cooking planks.
     
  13. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,869
    Likes Received:
    690
    Exp:
    I Just Like Food
    Shingles are often treated for fire resistance. Know what you're buying.
     
  14. STEPHEN WOODARD

    STEPHEN WOODARD

    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    3
    Exp:
    CHEF, EXEC CHEF, COOK, OPERATOR
    Point taken......I wouldn't say often, but, I humbly take it back. Most cedar shakes are not treated, but you can buy fire treated. I've just never seen them.
     
  15. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    4,462
    Likes Received:
    978
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    You are right, most cedar is not treated, but there still is plenty that is treated. And you had better know what you are buying before you make someone very, very sick.
     
  16. Seoul Food

    Seoul Food

    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    87
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    Yeah looking back it was not the best practice but I was just a lowly line cook and new to the game so that's my excuse. The only thing I can think of is that maybe because they never put raw product on the plank they thought it was okay? I dunno, it was a long time ago and the only time I ever really worked with them.