Cedar and Alder plank cooking was created by Northwest Native Americans. They would tie fish and game to large Western red cedar or alder planks. They would then place the planks around open fires, and the residual heat from the fire would cook the fish or game.
This cooking procedure was done for hundreds of years, more out of a necessity for a cooking surface than anything else.
In the late 1990’s I started experimenting with cooking planks. While developing the menu for Palisade Restaurant I was introduced to baking planks. I was intrigued by this method of cooking as it gave us a tie to the Northwest Native Americans and was a simple yet flavorful and healthy way to cook.
Salmon was the first recipe I created for plank cooking. Chef Garrett Cho and I worked on perfecting a great salmon recipe which we eventually placed on the opening menu for Palisade, and it quickly became one of the bestselling entrées.
Soon after that I asked my step-father, Phil Bagwill if he’d make cedar planks for me to use. He did, and in so doing started a business for himself selling baking and BBQ planks to specialty and food stores. Phil came to me and asked me to create a cookbook for him. So my family and I ate from cedar and alder baking planks for months, until I had enough great recipes to make The Cedar Plank Cookbook, or the blue cookbook as we call it.
I also started experimenting with BBQ Planks, and within another year I had The Plank Cookbook (or the green cookbook). It includes recipes specifically designed for Alder Baking Planks, Cedar BBQ Planks, as well as Cedar Baking Planks.
Click here to learn even more about plank cooking and see Frequently Asked Questions!
Below are a couple of Plank Cooking Videos I've put together: