You don’t need a special smoker to add wonderful smokey flavour to your chicken. Just use simple planks to grill juicy golden Cedar Planked Chicken. Simple and delicious!
My daughter Jenna (and partner kook) bought me a pack of Cedar Planks for my birthday along with a new flexible tripod. She’s always challenging me to try a newfangled cooking device. While planks are not exactly new (apparently used by Native tribes for hundreds of years and culinary schools since the early 1900’s), they were new to me. I’ve been meaning to try them for years and finally I had no more excuses. So after a bit of research, I plunged in.
Honestly, the planking method was surprisingly easy with great results. I used a flattened (spatchcock) chicken, dressed it simply with lemon, olive oil and herbs, then set it on the planks on the grill to do their magic. I started with direct heat for a few minutes to allow the wood to start charring and smoking. I then switched to indirect heat for about 20 minutes (i.e. turned off one or two burners and left the rest on). Finally, I switched the indirect heat to low heat for the last 15-20 minutes. This sounds like a lot of attention, but keep in mind that the entire cooking process was about 40-45 minutes, depending on how big the chicken is. Worth it…
When I opened the lid, I peered at a beautifully golden juicy chicken which tasted fantastic infused with a mild cedar smoked flavour. Really good!
- use any marinade you like for the chicken.
- skip the marinade and sprinkle the chicken on all sides with salt, garlic powder, pepper, onion powder before cooking.
- The thinner planks (1/4 inch) only take 5-10 minutes to soak (instead of 30 minutes for 1/2 inch planks) and you can toss them out after one use so no clean up. They cost approximately $1.50-$1.80 each and you can get them anywhere that sells BBQs (Home Depot, Canadian Tire, Costco, Walmart, etc). They also only need about 3 minutes on the direct heat to begin smoking.
- You can add apple juice, white wine or beer to the water for soaking to add a bit more flavour.
- There is no need to turn the food.
- Keep the BBQ lid closed as much as possible to keep in the smoke.
- Keep a spray bottle or water handy in case the planks catch fire.
- The experts say you can wash the thicker 1/2-3/4 inch planks with water (not soap) and reuse them if they are not too charred. After a couple of uses, though, the smokey flavours diminishes.