Cedar Plank Grilled Trout

Plank grilling is one of my favourite ways to cook fish. Salmon grilled on a plank of cedar is probably my most requested dish whenever I am grilling for family and friends. In this recipe I used trout and plank grilled them very similar to how I would do salmon. In the end they were amazing!

One of the best aspects of grilling on a plank of wood is that it is so easy. In many ways it is close to baking the fish. Just place it on the plank and rest the plank on the grill and close the lid. Sure you need to check and make sure the plank does not catch fire, which is why you soak the wood ahead. Other than that, plank grilling is a breeze. No fear of the fish breaking apart as you flip it on the grill.

How to cedar plank grill rainbow trout steelhead salmon

Over the years I have used the plank grilling method to cook many different foods. While fish is the most popular, there are other foods that work very well on a wood plank. In particular, some of the more delicate types of food that will either fall apart or scorch sitting directly on the grill, can be ideal for plank grilling.

Here are some of my other plank grilled recipes:

Prior to grilling, the wood planks need to soak in water. This prevents them from catching fire while they are on the grill. Instead, they should just smoulder and smoke which infuses the trout with a wonderful smoky flavour.

Immerse the cedar planks in water for at least 2 hours. I use a large metal baking dish that is just long enough to fit the planks. I also place a container filled with water and rest that on the planks which weighs them down and keeps them completely under the water.

How to cedar plank grill rainbow trout steelhead salmon

The fillets that I plank grilled were steelhead trout. I spotted them at Costco and thought they look like a beautiful piece of fish. Steelhead is larger than rainbow trout. They remind me of a small fillet of salmon.

For plank grilling, you can use either steelhead or rainbow trout. Obviously steelhead will take a bit longer to cook through since it is larger and a thicker fillet of fish.

Make sure that you have everything ready to go prior to taking the wood planks out of the water. It does not take long before the wood dries out, so I like to preheat the grill and mix up the seasoning first. Then, once you are ready, take out the planks and place the fish on them.

How to cedar plank grill rainbow trout steelhead salmon

Sprinkle the seasoning mixture on the trout and gently rub it into the fish to help the flavours penetrate into the trout. The seasoning is a sweet and spicy rub, and while it may look like there is lots on the fish, it creates a flavourful outer shell around the trout.

How to cedar plank grill rainbow trout steelhead salmon

Place the planks on the grill and close the lid. The underside of the plank will start to smoulder and smoke will fill the inside chamber of the grill. You want to ensure that you keep the lid closed as much as possible. Every time you open the lid, the smoke will escape that the temperature will drop.

How to cedar plank grill rainbow trout steelhead salmon

The trout is done when the internal temperature of the fish reaches 145F. The grilling time will vary depending on the size and thickness of the fish, but my steelhead took a little over 20 minutes. You can use a grill spatula to lift the trout off the plank and place on a plate or platter to serve.

How to cedar plank grill rainbow trout steelhead salmon

I generally plank grill two fillets of trout and these steelhead ones were a really nice size. They easily fed my whole family with a lilt bit left over. The fish is so moist and succulent inside and outside pops with flavour from the seasoning rub and the smoke from the plank.

How to cedar plank grill rainbow trout steelhead salmon

Plank grilled trout is great for a BBQ party and will easily impress all your guests.  I have made this multiple times for people and everyone raves about how amazing the fish tastes.

Since trout is a lighter meat, I tend to pair it with light side dishes. Caesar salad, Zucchini and Yellow Squash Salad, Cilantro RiceCouscous with Cranberries and Almonds, or Sauteed Yellow Squash Ribbons are all some great side dish recipe ideas.

How to cedar plank grill rainbow trout steelhead salmon

Cedar Plank Grilled Trout

4.80 out of 5
5 reviews
How to grill trout on a cedar plank with a sweet and spicy rub. So easy to make and delicious with a smoky flavour infused in either steelhead or rainbow trout. 
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Soak Plank Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people


  • 1 trout fillet , steelhead or rainbow
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cedar plank


  • Soak cedar plank for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat grill to medium high so that the grill is around 350-375F.
  • In a small bowl, mix together the sugar and spices.
  • Take the cedar plank out of the water. Place the trout, skin side down on the cedar. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture all over the trout and gently rub it into the fish.
  • Place the cedar plank on the grill and close the lid. Check every once in a while to ensure the wood is just smoking and not starting to flame up. It is best to keep the lid closed so that the smokey flavour infuses into the fish.
  • Cook the trout until the internal temperature of the fattest part of the fish reads 145F. This should take around 20 minutes or so. The time will vary based on the size of the fish. A rainbow trout fillet will cook much quicker than steelhead trout.



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
    I made this using steelhead (from Costco) and it was delicious! I am making it again for guests. It’s a winner.

    • Reply
  • 4 stars
    Really good with lake trout. Visually satisfying as well. Next time I’ll use a little less cayenne pepper. Easy peasy and delicious. A good acidic Chardonnay works really well with the fish and the ceasar salad I served with it.

    • Reply

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