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Low-cost cedar planks

Marcus Walser

Q. Where can I find cedar planks for grilling salmon and trout?

Cedar grilling is a terrific option for cooking delicate fish over high heat. It's easier than smoking, imparts the same sorts of flavors, and keeps the fish from sticking to your grill.

The obvious source for cedar grilling planks is a specialty cooking shop, such as Williams-Sonoma or Sur La Table. However, these stores charge as much as $5 for a single plank. This trips my alarm, especially since the directions may instruct you to throw them out after you use them.

The more affordable alternative is to go to a building supply store, such as Lowe's or Home Depot, and ask them to cut an untreated cedar board to the appropriate length, between 10 and 15 inches for salmon fillets, depending on the size of your grill.

Soak these impromptu planks in water overnight before using them, weighing them down with cans or stones so they're completely immersed. Since these planks are thicker, you can reuse them, provided the bottoms don't get too charred. You don't want them catching fire, after all.

Send questions about food you're trying to find to mwalser@carolina.rr.com.

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