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Cedar-Planked Salmon with Lemon-Pepper Rub and Horseradish-Chive Sauce

Servings: 4, with one extra salmon fillet for leftovers

Grilling on soaked cedar planks has a lot of benefits: the planks char lightly, creating cedar smoke that delicately perfumes the food, and fish doesn’t stick to the grill grates because it’s on the planks. Plus, this spice rub—a simple mixture of salt, cracked black pepper, lemon zest, fresh thyme, and a bit of sugar—pairs really well with the cedar-smoke flavor. Because it’s a simple technique, it’s easy to grill two fillets at once and use the leftover fillet the next day in a salad or sandwich.


For the salmon

  • 1 Tbs. grated lemon zest, minced
  • 1 1/2tsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 2-lb. boneless, skin-on salmon fillets (preferably wild and no longer than 15 inches), pin bones removed
  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

For the horseradish-chive sauce

  • 1/2 cup crème fraîche
  • 3 Tbs. minced fresh chives
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. prepared horseradish
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 460
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 260
  • Fat (g): 28
  • Saturated Fat (g): 10
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 6
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 10
  • Cholesterol (mg): 150
  • Sodium (mg): 600
  • Carbohydrates (g): 3
  • Fiber (g): 1
  • Protein (g): 46


  • Soak the cedar planks in water to cover for at least 1 hour. Drain the planks.

Prepare the sauce

  • In a small bowl, stir the crème fraîche, chives, and horseradish. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Refrigerate.

Prepare the salmon

  • In a small bowl, combine the lemon zest, thyme, sugar, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1 Tbs. pepper. Rub the mixture together with your fingers until the zest is distributed throughout. Rub the salmon fillets on both sides with the olive oil and then set each fillet skin side down on a plank. Sprinkle the fillets with the lemon-pepper mixture, dividing it evenly. Gently rub the seasoning into the fillets. Let stand at room temperature while the grill heats.

Cook the salmon

  • Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire for indirect cooking with high heat: On a gas grill, heat all burners on high; then turn off all but one burner just before cooking the salmon; on a charcoal grill, bank the coals to two opposite sides of the grill. Arrange the planks over the cooler part of the grill, positioning them so that the thickest part of the fish is closest to the heat source. Cover the grill and cook until the thickest part of each fillet registers about 135°F on an instant-read thermometer, 20 to 35 minutes depending on the thickness of the fillets. The planks may smoke a bit (this is fine) and will become very aromatic. Let the fillets rest on the planks for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.Cut the salmon fillets crosswise into serving portions and transfer to individual plates. Serve with the sauce.

Make Ahead Tips

The sauce may be made up to 1 day ahead, and refrigerated, covered.

To round out your Sunday supper, serve this dish with Peas and Carrots with Lemon, Dill, and Mint.

Cool any leftover salmon completely, wrap well, and refrigerate for up to 3 days.


If you want to serve both salmon fillets for 8 people, double the sauce recipe.


Rate or Review

Reviews (20 reviews)

  • User avater
    anncancook | 06/09/2019

    Love both the rub and the sauce (which would go with ANY type of grilled seafood, really). Only changes I would make would be to increase the rub a little for a 2# piece of salmon and also sub brown sugar for the granulated in the rub. A keeper!

  • Megann | 03/14/2019

    This is my absolute favorite salmon recipe. It always takes longer to cook than the recipe states but it is so tender and delicious when it is done. My young kids like it as well!

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