Frequently Asked Questions:
Planking is a healthy, exciting and unique way to cook food. It’s great for parties, but should not be seen as just a novelty. With luck, especially for us, you will be regularly using Superior planks for everyday grilling and eating. Planking is as easy and quick as conventional cooking.
What can I cook on my plank?
Just about anything – seafood, vegetables, steak and chicken work great. Wild-caught Alaskan Salmon works particularly well. Planking is an interesting way for Vegetarians and Vegans to add new taste and texture – to mix it up some when traditional ways of preparing vegetables become routine. We have planked many different foods including: oysters; portobello mushrooms; asparagus; tempeh; pizza and even meatloaf. Please see our ‘How to Plank’ section for more details.
What are the differences in flavor between the 3 species of plank: Sweet Sugar Maple, Classic Northern Cedar & Smokey Red Oak?
Each species of plank, you can think of them as flavors if you like, imparts a subtly different flavor to the food cooked on it. Our Sweet Sugar Maple gives a slightly sweet tang in it’s smoke. Cedar is the classic. Our Classic Northern Cedar imparts a comparatively sharper aromatic smoke. Finally our Smokey Red Oak bestows our most full-bodied smoke; a deeper level of flavor.
Does each species of plank work better for different types of food?
All our planks can be used with any type of food. Over time we have learned that certain species tend to work in greater accord than others with certain foods. The most versatile plank species is our Sweet Sugar Maple. Sweet Sugar Maple works very well with all vegetables, meats and seafood. Maple is really the most adaptable and can be used to cook with anything. Cedar on the other hand lends it’s flavor best to seafood – partly because the sharper essence of the smoke really permeates the fish. Again aside of Wild-caught Alaskan Salmon is the time honored classic – it is Cedar that is the tour de force here. Smokey Red Oak is peerless for red meats and pork. Oak planks are also a first-class combo with green vegetables and all types of fungi. It is important to remember that there are no rules for matching up planks with types of food. It is really a question of personal taste, bud – so experiment!
How many planks should I use?
This depends on the amount and size of food you wish to cook. If you have a large side of salmon you may want lay down three planks. But if you are only planking a couple of chicken breasts or some sliced eggplant then one plank is going to be sufficient. The main thing to remember is to ensure that the food sits on the plank and does not go over the edge where it may cook unevenly and/or char.
How many times can I use my cooking planks?
This depends on the species. Classic Northern Cedar has the least longevity with about 3 uses on average whereas our Sweet Sugar Maple and Smokey Red Oak has between 5-12 uses; this is because of the density of the respective wood. If you soak your plank at least 3 hours before use it will easily reach these use times. Also it should be stated that planks used only in the oven will usually double these usage times. Our planks have a higher density than most of our competitors because the trees they are cut from have a remarkably short growing season on Madeline.
How do I clean my planks?
Planks should be cleaned with hot water and a minimal amount of dish soap. Then let your planks stand until dry. After cooking some species of fish namely mackerel, trout and wild-caught Alaskan salmon – the fish skin will be stuck to the plank. Here use the grill tool to scrape off the skin and then soak in boiling water and the skin will come off easily.
How long should I soak my planks?
We recommend soaking them in cold water at least an hour – if you are in a hurry. If you can please soak them for at least 2-3 hours. Ensure that all the plank’s surface area comes into contact with the water. Really the longer you soak Superior planks the longer the plank will last. If you soak your planks for only a short time it will lessen the number of uses for the plank but will increase cooking time as the plank will start smoking more quickly. Never put a dry plank on a grill or in the oven.
How long does it take to cook my food?
Cooking time varies considerably – but we have compiled list with guidelines for planking times for commonly planked foods. Please see the ‘How to Plank’ page.
How does my Superior plank cook my food?
Superior planks cook food with a combination of smoke, steaming and direct heat from the hot coals or gas grill.
Does it matter if I have a charcoal grill or propane grill?
No is the short answer to this question. Nooooo is the long answer. Just make sure that you preheat your propane grill and keep it on a medium high heat. With all charcoal grilling make sure that the coals are red hot when you put the soaked planks down and that any lighter fluid has burnt off.
Can I use my planks in the oven?
Should you not have a grill or if the weather is inclement – you can still use your oven to get super-moist planked foods. Do remember to line the oven with tin-foil – to catch any juices. Don’t worry about a smoky kitchen – there is minimal smoking from planks in the oven. The food will taste great even without the strong smoky flavor.
Do I need to put olive oil or butter on my Superior plank?
We never recommend putting oil or butter or any type of fat on your planked foods – the plank acts as the cooking medium in lieu of the fat. As with many other forms of cooking there is no need to add fats of any kind. Planking is therefore more healthy than many other forms of cooking. As almost every other form of cooking requires some fat or oil as the medium for cooking.
What flavorings do you recommend?
The plank’s smoke will create a brown pellicle coating – this seals in the moisture of the food. It also creates the smoky flavor. This smoky flavor will vary depending on which species of plank you are using. For example Sweet Sugar Maple will impart a slightly sweet smoky tang. Due to this there is no need to add flavorings – especially since many flavoring mixes are salt based. Try planked food without flavorings first. If you don’t take our word for it – then only flavor half the food so you have a point of comparison. But if you wish to add flavor we would recommend lemon pepper or garlic or simple cracked pepper – really though this is a question of personal preference.
Is planking a healthy way to eat?
Yes. Planking is a healthful way to prepare food for two reasons. First there is no requirement for any butters or oils, or any other kind of fats, to be added to your food. The food naturally tastes moist under the pellicle layer where the food’s real taste is sealed. The second reason is that there is no need for any ‘additives’ to the food – no need to coat it with MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) or salt-based ‘herbal mixes’. The smoking plank wraps your food in smoke flavor. With some foods you will be truly tasting the it for the first time – away from the sacrilege of fish, meat or vegetables swimming in butter or having their natural subtle taste massacred by pungent artificial additions.
Are Superior Planks ‘treated‘?
No. Superior Planks are completely natural.
Do Superior Planks expire?
No – because Superior planks are an all-natural wood product – the planks will never expire – just make sure you store them in a cool, dry place.
Where does planking come from?
Planking is a Native American tradition. It is likely that it originated in Alaska and the Pacific North West. Originally it was used mainly to cook fish, specifically salmon. Even today Alaskan Native peoples such as the Yup’ik, Tlingit and Aleuts smoke coho, chinook, keta and red Salmon to help preserve them for the winter. It is certainly a great way to cook and preserve fish. We at Superior Planks think this ancient, and thoroughly proven, method can be used on a wide variety of foods just as well as the classic planked salmon.
Where were my Superior planks harvested?
We take our name from Lake Superior – it is nothing to do with the fact that we produce a really great product…that just happens to be a happy coincidence. Superior planks are sustainably harvested on beautiful Madeline Island. Madeline is one of the Apostle Islands found in the clear-waters Lake Superior. Our Island is found off Wisconsin’s northern coast – very close to the international water border with Canada.
How were my Superior planks harvested?
Each of our planks is hand-cut from lumber we personally select on the island. We are not a factory or large manufacturer or a company that buys raw lumber from outside the United States for manufacturing. For more about our process see ‘Our Process’.
How eco-friendly are my Superior planks?
Very. Here at Eco Wood Co. we take a total approach to implementing our green ethos. Everyone in our small company really believe in what we do. From our sustainable harvesting through our bio-diesel driven processing to our packaging and finally the use by you our valued customer; every step has been carefully worked on to reduce our carbon footprint as much possible. Feel good about your purchase and your part in the life cycle of your planks.
How long does it take for the packaging to degrade; ‘return to the earth’?
Since our packaging is wholly vegetable based degrades at an infinitely faster rate than the packaging used by our competitors. The recycled & recyclable paper used in our packaging will degrade in approximately 1 month. The ink used on our packaging is soy-based, which, unlike completely synthetic petroleum inks, degrades considerably faster. Soy based ink is not yet 100% biodegradable but once it is we can guarantee that we shall be using it!
Unlike our competitors the we do not use any plastic in our packaging – we have gone to great lengths to use vegetable-based shrink wrap to hold our planks together. The plastic used by other companies will breakdown over thousands of years, but will always stay at the molecular level.
Why is the company called Superior Planks?
This is because all of our products are exclusively sourced from Madeline Island which is located Lake Superior. It is not because we have a ’superior’ attitude – we are very much a down-to-earth company.
I really like Superior planks – where can I find out more?
You can sign up for our monthly newsletter. We will share your information with no other company or entity – your info is between you, us and the plank. We will also only send you one e-mail a month. If you wish you can also follow us on facebook and become a fan. We have regular updates on our facebook page – just type Superior Planks.
Should you have any further questions about our planks or if would like to put forward your own question – however frequently, or indeed infrequently, asked – please email us at:
We welcome all inquiries & look forward to hearing from you.