Cedar cooking planks produce a sweet smoky flavor in foods cooked outdoors on a grill. The planks are particularly good for smoking and flavoring fillets of salmon, a practice that dates to the native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. The challenge of grilling cedar planks is getting good value out of each plank, which will inevitably char as a result of the grilling process over coals or a propane-powered grill burner. A few cleaning steps will help you reuse cedar planks at least four times or until the wood has cooked so thin it will have to be thrown away.
Scrape the charred side of a cedar plank with a coarse wood file or planer to remove the cinders and create a rough surface to expose the natural wood oils for the next use.
Rinse the food side of the plank and scrub with a scouring pad to remove the remnants of your last barbecue.
Soak the cedar in a sink or bucket for at least an hour before use.
Shake off the excess water and brush on a light coat of olive oil on the side you will place your planked food.