Putting A Better Spin On Dinnertime

Using Planks Of Wood To Cook

Cooking meats or vegetables on planks of wood has become a popular cooking method. The wood infuses the food with interesting flavors, adding a little extra punch to a dish. Wood planks can be washed and used multiple times in both the oven and on the grill. Cooks should be cautious, however, that they only rinse their planks of wood. If they use soap, the soap can sink into the wood plank and then can transfer into the food the next time they're used. It's also important that cooks choose untreated pieces of wood made for cooking. Treated pieces of wood can transfer chemicals that shouldn't be eaten into food. There are a lot of different types of wood that can be used for cooking, and each has a distinct flavor, making some more appropriate for certain foods than others. Read on for some perfect food and wood pairings, and try something new at your next cookout!

Cherry Wood

Cooking on cherry wood is a fun experiment, and the wood will give a bit of a sweet flavor to anything cooked on it. If you decide to try cooking on cherry wood, use meats with strong flavors, like beef, turkey, or venison. Vegetables also come out well when cooked on a plank of cherry wood. For dessert, put a couple of peach halves on a plank of cherry wood. When they start to break down and release their juices, take them off the grill and put a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. 

Cedar Wood

Cedar planks are easy to find and are one of the most popular types of plank to cook on. They are fragrant and give meat or vegetables cooked on them a spicy flavor. Salmon is a classic choice for cooking on cedar. Chicken also picks up an interesting and mild flavor if it's cooked on cedar. 

Maple Wood

Maple imparts a sweet, nutty, and subtle flavor that can be a little too strong for fish but not strong enough for beef or gamier meats. If you're cooking on a maple plank, try cooking pork or chicken. Pineapple is also an excellent choice to pair with maple, and wrapping anything you cook on maple wood with bacon before cooking it is always a good idea. 

Alder Wood

Alder is the mildest type of cooking plank, and it's ideal for cooking fish that has a flavor lighter than salmon or any type of fruit or vegetable. Alder wood gives food an earthy flavor that a lot of chefs enjoy.