Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon with Spicy Brown Sugar Rub

This plank grilled salmon is my most requested dish anytime we have friends over for dinner. It is so good and tastes better than anything you can get at a restaurant!

A plate of grilled salmon and a baked potato.

Once the weather warms up, I grill all the time. The dish I make most often on my grill is cedar plank grilled salmon. I absolutely love to plank grill and it is much simpler than you might think. 

Today’s recipe is our ‘go-to’ dish when the planks come out for grilling. Cedar plank grilled salmon is easily the most popular dish for plank grilling and many restaurants have it on their menus. The salmon comes out moist, tender, with a light smoky flavour.

There are many different seasonings that can go on the salmon from spice rubs, herbs, glazes and more. This brown sugar rub has a blend of spices that work perfectly with the taste of the salmon.
A plate of food with a plank with two fillets of salmon in the background.

Other Plank Grilled Recipes!

While salmon is the most common for plank grilling, there are many other possibilities. Here are a few recipes that are also great for plank grilling.

An image of a salmon fillet whole above and cut below.

Salmon can be purchased either as a full fillet or already sliced into individual portions. I typically purchase a whole salmon fillet that is around 2 pounds (or a little larger) in size. This fillet can then be sliced into 6 equal sized portions.

A piece of cedar wood that is perfect for plank grilling.

Planks can be found at most stores that sell grilling supplies and are also often stocked at larger supermarkets. While cedar is the most common kind of wood used for plank grilling, there are many other kinds as well. You can use planks of maple, hickory, alder and others.

Cedar planks in a dish and soaking in water.

Make Sure to Soak the Cedar Planks!

It is very important to ensure that the wood is well soaked so that it smoulders and smokes, instead of catching fire, while on the grill.

Place the planks in a dish and fill with enough water to submerge. The planks will float, so I like to weigh them down with a couple bowls filled with water, as you can see in the picture above. I like to soak the planks for about 2 hours prior to grilling.

Raw seasoned salmon on a hot grill.

Temperature of the Grill?

Rub the top and sides of the salmon with the brown sugar rub before placing the fish, skin side down, on the plank. Remove the plank from the water just before it is ready to go on the grill. It is amazing how quick they can dry out when outside on a hot summer day.

The temperature of the grill should be at a medium heat, somewhere around 350-400F. Once you place the planks of salmon on the grill, make sure to close the lid. Keep that lid closed as much as possible because this will help cook the fish more evenly.

Cooked salmon still on the grill.

How Long to Cook Salmon on the Grill?

The salmon takes around 15 minutes to cook. As the fish cooks, the colour of the salmon will change to a lighter pink and will be a little more firm to the touch when pressed down. 

A digital thermometer is the best way to check the doneness of the fish. Stick the thermometer in the thickest part of the fish and once the internal temperature reaches 135F, the salmon is done.

A close up picture of a dinner plate with salmon and baked potato.

Make it a Meal!

Here are some other summer dishes that go great with cedar plank grilled salmon.

Cedar Plank Grilled Salmon with Brown Sugar Rub

A close up picture of a dinner plate with salmon and baked potato.
5 out of 5
3 reviews
Simple recipe for the best cedar plank grilled salmon with a rub made with brown sugar, ginger, paprika, and cayenne. Instructions for how to cedar plank salmon.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 salmon fillet , about 2 pounds
  • 6 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • cedar planks


  • Soak cedar planks for at least 2 hours.
  • Cut the salmon fillet into 6 equal sized portions. Pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel.
  • Mix the brown sugar and spices together in a bowl.
  • Rub the top and sides of the salmon generously with the brown sugar rub and place the salmon, skin side down, on the wet cedar planks.
  • Preheat the grill to medium so that the temperature is around 350F-400F.
  • Place the planks, with the salmon on them, on the grill and close the lid.
  • Cook the salmon for about 15 minutes. The time may vary depending on the thickness of the salmon. The internal temperature should be 135F.


Per serving:

Calories: 265kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 30gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 83mgSodium: 846mgFiber: 1gSugar: 12g

Nutrition Disclaimer


A plate of grilled salmon and a baked potato.

Did you try this recipe?

Leave a comment and let me know how it turned out. Or, take a picture to share on Instagram and tag me @theblackpeppercorn.

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Recipe Rating


  • 5 stars
    Tried this recipe tonight, it’s amazing! It made me feel like the ‘master of the grill’!!! Will definitely use this recipe again.

    • Reply
  • 5 stars
    WOW!!! Just….WOW! I just made this for dinner and it was the absolute BEST piece of salmon I have ever eaten: even better than a 5-star restaurant. The fish was cooked perfectly throughout… It was just succulent. Can’t wait to try this with some altered spices…and even on different types of fish. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Reply
  • Hi Steve- I stumbled upon your blog today searching for cedar plank salmon recipes. I have spent the last hour going through your archives, and I love your blog! I plan to mark your blog as a favorite, and look forward to seeing what you cook up in the future! 🙂

    • Reply
  • Throw some Mango Salsa on there and I’d have to beat the family away with a stick. 🙂 Great looking filets. I wish the food I cooked look like yours when it was done. lol

    • Reply
    • Made this yesterday on my Traeger. I left out the cayenne pepper because my kids don’t like heat. It was absolutely 💯 delicious!! My 7 yr old had it for breakfast this morning!!! Definitely a winner 🏆
      Thanks Steve!

      • Reply
      • Thanks Jeff! So glad you enjoyed the salmon. This is our favourite way to cook it.

  • I have always wanted to try this at home … looks so good:)

    • Reply
  • I have never cooked this way with a cedar plank. Heck, I don’t even own a grill anymore (hope you don’t hold that against me). 🙂 Seeing the amazing things you do on the grill and smoker… makes me want to do it too. 🙂 Hope you’re having a great weekend Steve. 🙂

    • Reply
  • Salmon is my favorite. This rub sounds so perfect too. These are some of my favorite flavors for salmon marinade, I bet we would love them as a rub too!

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  • I have to try this out on my husband. I usually season salmon with a soy sauce marinate and brown sugar and my husband detests soy sauce, but loves heat. This is a PERFECT recipe for him to try!!!

    • Reply
  • A little sweet, a little heat, salmon, and cedar… marvelous! Thanks for the grilling-with-cedar-planks tips, too.

    • Reply
  • I need to get a new supply of cedar planks. Just used the last one on salmon. Once you taste cedar plank salmon, nothing will ever take it’s place. Love your seasonings!

    • Reply

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