You know grilling season is here when the weather gets pleasurable. Some people use stove-top cooking grills, while others love gathering people around in the backyard for outdoor grilling. People have found multiple ways to spice up the meat. Grilling trays, skewers, smoking methods, and rotisserie methods are some of the most common techniques. However, using wooden planks for grilling is gaining momentum.
It may sound illogical initially, but planks add to the BBQ flavor, broaden the range of your grilling techniques and make serving easy. Most people that use planks for grilling ask, can you reuse grilling planks? Read ahead if you plan to use a planking grill technique and find the answer to your question.
What Is Plank Grilling and How Is It Beneficial?
As the name suggests, plank grilling is a technique that requires a plank of wood for grilling. The plank is set directly on top of a grill with indirect heat. Now you place the food on the grill; in this technique, the food goes on the wooden plank.
So many planks are used for grilling; however, the most commonly used are red oak, maple, hickory, cedar, cherry, and alder. Plank is used for grilling vegetables, salmon, pork, beef, lamb tofu, and cheese.
The most prominent benefit of planking grills is the woody flavor transferring into the food. The cedar plank adds a spicy and smokey flavor, whereas hickory is famous for a strong and bold flavor in smoke. For a more nutty flavor, some people use red oak, and at the same time, cherry planks add a sweet and fruity flavor to the food.
Besides the multiple smokey flavors, the pleasant scent of wood makes the experience even better. An added benefit of plank grilling is that the planks work as a protective shield against scorching flame. Salmon and other thin ingredients can burn and lose flavor if exposed to prolonged heat.
Plank grilling also prevents chicken and pork from drying by working as a shield from direct flame. Moreover, planks keep your grills clean and reduce the need to clean grates later on.
Can You Reuse Grilling Planks?
Many people use a grilling plank once and throw it away, while others prefer using the same plank until it is charred. However, the answer to ‘can you reuse grilling plank’ is “yes, you can.” If the plank has been taken care of, cleaned, and kept safely, you can reuse the same plank 3 to 4 more times. However, reusing plank comes with experience. You need to set a specific temperature to smoke the planks without burning them.
Use the plank correctly if you want to avoid spending on planks and prefer reusing them. Keeping the plank clean and using it correctly will allow you to reuse it.
Why Reuse Grilling Planks?
We advise reusing a grilling plank for many reasons. Firstly, the wood flavor might not always come through on the first use. When the plank is used more times, the flavor gets intense and strong, adding to the delicious food. Second, wooden planks are good for the environment as they decompose quickly. In addition, planks reduce waste.
Another reason for reusing grills is that it is cost-effective. You may find cheaper planks in the market, but good quality planks are heavy on the pocket. Why get a new plank every time you cook instead of reusing the old one?
After reusing the planks, break them into smaller pieces and add them to your compost bin. Besides, you also let the plank burn for disposal.
How to Use Planks Correctly
There are four steps to using the planks correctly.
1. Soak the Plank
You don’t want a burnt flavor in your food. Therefore, the first step is to soak the plank in water for 40 to 50 minutes. A nicely soaked plank will work efficiently in adding flavor, whereas a dry plank will readily catch fire and burn. You can add other flavor-adding ingredients to the water for a twist. Salty brines, apple juice, and wine can add great flavor to the plank.
2. Preheat the Grill
The next step is to preheat the grill to high. Remember, never put your soaked plank on the grill while preheating it; this will dry the plank and catch fire. Additionally, a dried plank will lose all its flavor, leaving you with a charred plank without even using it.
3. Add the Food to the Plank.
For the next step, prepare the plank for grilling by coating both sides with olive oil. Next, season the plank by placing it on the grill and flipping it every few minutes; this intensifies the flavor and keeps it from wrapping.
When the plank is ready for cooking, place your food directly on top of it. A good technique is to add herbs and spices to the food. The heat will cause it to wilt, releasing a ton of flavor into the dish.
4. Grill and Serve
Finally, all that’s left is grilling. Since the food is not directly over the flame, it will take longer than regular grilling. Use a thermometer to keep track of the heat and ensure that the food is cooked.
You can serve the dish directly on the plank or a plate. Garnish it with roasted veggies.
How to Clean Grilling Planks
Cleaning planks is crucial to reuse them. A good technique is to use hot water as a scrubbing tool to eliminate all the food remains. It is best to avoid using any soap on the plank; this will leave a bad soapy flavor for the next time you use the plank.
Let the plank air dry for some time, and keep it safe with your grilling gear.
Our Final Thoughts
Plank grilling is an excellent method to increase your grilling skills and impress your guests. Planks add a smokey flavor to food. They are cost-effective and environmentally friendly. Now, if someone asks you, “can you reuse grilling planks?,” you know what to tell them.