Great Lakes Grilling Co
It Tastes Better Naturally!
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History of Plank Cooking

How it all began...

Our research indicates that early cooks utilized wood plank cooking over open flames to capture the essence of wood as a seasoning in fish and other meats. Most feel that plank cooking originated in the Pacific Northwest and was the preferred method for salmon and other fish by Native Americans, yet others feel this technique is Scandinavian and brought to America by early travelers .

It is well documented, however, that Native Americans occupying the Pacific Northwest would spear or club salmon from the shores of the inland streams during the annual salmon runs. The fish were then brought back to their settlements for cleaning and smoking, then stored for the hard winter months ahead.

In the early days, the catch was hung over open fires or tacked to big wood slabs and then slowly cooked, absorbing the natural flavors from the smoke.

As the settlers became more civilized, huts and smokehouses were built to help contain and intensify the smoke flavor. As these techniques advanced over the centuries  and with the invention of the grill, plank cooking as we know it today was born. The earliest documented recipe for plank cooking appeared in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook in 1911 and was written by Fannie Farmer. This recipe featured planked chicken and duchess potatoes. Today, we have many spices, marinades and sauces to help flavor our foods, but back in the early days wood was the primary source to add flavor.

With the evolution of modern smokers and grills, these original methods of smoking have slowly been displaced by easier, quicker techniques. Many traditionalists all over the world still cook over fire pits or in their own hand built smokehouses, but in slightly modified versions.

The incredible smoky flavors of wood such as Western Red Cedar, Alder, Sugar Maple, Hickory, Mesquite and Oak from old wine barrels can be infused into your favorite foods as you grill or bake. We highly recommend western red cedar as our choice of wood for plank cooking. It can be used for all types of fish, beef, chicken, pork, even fruits and vegetables. However, we encourage you to experiment and try other woods on your own. Try to stay away from woods that contain a lot of sap such as Pine. Use of this type of wood will not produce a desirable flavor and could be harmful to your health.

We hope that you will try plank cooking and that you will enjoy one of the most exciting cooking methods in the world. See for yourself why this technique of cooking has become one of the hottest methods of gourmet cooking.

Please take the time to visit our online store by following the link below and choose from our many different flavors of wood grilling planks or cooking wraps.

Leave your stress behind and immerse yourself in feelings that the outdoor cooking lifestyle brings to your table.

Grilling Plank and Wrap Basics

Interested in learning the basics of plank cooking? Follow this quick link and discover how easy it is to use grilling planks. We will explain our five step process that will have your dinner party thinking you are a five star chef.

Click here to go to the Basics of Plank Cooking Page
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