How to Cook a Steak on a Plank

by Christopher Godwin

Choose a steak with fat throughout the whole cut for the richest flavor.

Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images

Though cedar and maple planks are more commonly used for grilling fish due to their softer texture, beef steaks can benefit from the added flavor of a wood cooking plank as well. Cedar and maple planks each offer slightly different tastes, and if you are unsure of which one to use, experimentation is key. Serve plank-grilled steak with roasted or grilled potatoes, roasted corn and creamed spinach for a classic steak meal, paired with a glass of bold, rich wine like cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir.

Place the wood plank in a clean bucket or cooler and add enough cold clean water to fully cover the wood plank. Allow the wood to soak for 90 minutes.

Remove the steak from the refrigerator 60 minutes before you want to cook it so it can warm up to room temperature. Keep the meat covered with plastic wrap or wax paper the whole time.

Preheat a gas grill to the highest temperature. If you are using a charcoal grill, allow the grill to preheat for 30 minutes with the top closed.

Brush both sides of the steak with an even combination of corn oil and melted unsalted butter. Season the steak on both sides with kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste.

Put the steak on the wood plank and place it directly on the center of the grill. Cook the meat for two minutes on each side for rare steak, three minutes on each side for medium rare, four minutes for medium and five minutes on each side for medium well.

Transfer the steak to a serving platter or plate with heavy tongs and allow it to rest for five minutes so the natural juices can redistribute throughout the meat. Do not slice the steak before five minutes has passed.


  • Cooking steak past the medium-well point will make the meat tough and lose some of its natural flavor. Better steakhouses will not cook meat past medium well for this reason.


  • "Best American Side Dishes: A Best Recipe Classic"; John Burgoyne, Carl Tremblay; 2005
  • "Meat and Potatoes"; Joan Schwartz; 2003

Photo Credits

  • Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images

About the Author

Christopher Godwin is a freelance writer from Los Angeles. He spent his formative years as a chef and bartender crafting signature dishes and cocktails as the head of an upscale catering firm. He has since ventured into sharing original creations and expertise with the public. Godwin has published poetry, fiction and nonfiction in publications like "Spork Magazine," "Cold Mountain Review" and "From Abalone To Zest."