Time: 45-60 minutes
Yield: 5 servings
For this recipe, we are going to take a full fillet (or one fillet cut in half), marinade the fish for one hour in a brine, and then let it set in the refrigerator uncovered for at least 5 hours or overnight. The process of letting it set in the refrigerator causes the meat to form a thin skin or “pellicle,” which is the chef’s secret for keeping it moist once you cook it, and helping it absorb the natural smoke flavor.
1.5 lb sockeye salmon filet
Soaked cedar plank
½ cup soy sauce
¼ sliced yellow onion
¼ cup brown sugar
1. Prepare the Marinade
Combine the 1/2 cup soy sauce, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp chili flakes. You can boil these ingredients if you want to fully combine them. Then add 1/4 yellow onion sliced or diced. Feel free to experiment with this basic marinade by adding sesame oil, garlic, ginger, or green onions.
2. Prepare the Salmon
The salmon fillet should be removed from the vacuum seal bag and at least mostly thawed out. Marinate the fish for 15 minutes to one hour flesh side down in a baking dish.
Once the fish has marinated, place it uncovered skin side down on a sheet pan in the refrigerator for 5-10 hours. This is ideal as it allows the fish to form a thin skin (pellicle) which will help absorb the smoke flavor and lock in the moisture.
3. Prepare the Cedar Planks
Soak cedar planks in water for about 1 hour if you will be grilling. If cooking in an oven there is no need to soak the plank, but you should toast the wood by passing it over an open flame burner. If you are going to use your oven then preheat it to 250°F. (Pro Tip: soak multiple planks in water and then store them in the freezer to save time).
Place the salmon on the plank and season with pepper and salt if desired (we prefer just a dash of black pepper).
4. Cook the Salmon
Grilling: Cook at medium heat with the cover closed 12-20 minutes or just prior to reaching desired doneness. If possible, leave one of the burners off and put the plank over that portion of the grill so that it gets indirect heat. If you put the plank over a flame be sure to check it frequently and have a water bottle nearby to control flare-ups. The goal is to cook it low and slow if you have a grill that allows for that. (Pro Tip: once you see the white protein coming to the surface of the fillet it is time to take it off the grill.)
Oven: Cook at 250°F for 25 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 5 minutes prior to serving.