yield: 6 SERVINGS
prep time: 25 MINUTES
cook time: 30 MINUTES
total time: 55 MINUTES

Sweet and smoky and beautifully spiced – and so very pretty – this recipe promises to become a grilling season obsession!


  •  1.5 lb. salmon fillet, skin on
  •  zest and juice from 1 large orange (navel, Cara Cara, whatever you like)
  •  1/2 T. olive oil
  •  1 T. brown sugar
  •  1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  •  1/2 tsp. cumin
  •  kosher salt
  •  freshly ground black pepper
  •  4 to 6 thin slices from another large orange


  •  wood grill plank
  •  1 can beer
  •  2 cans water (just use the emptied beer can to measure)
  •  spray bottle filled with water, for any flare-ups


  1. At least 4 hours prior to grilling, place a cedar plank inside a large rimmed pan. Pour in the beer, plus two beer cans of water to cover the plank. Add more water if needed. Place a couple heavy mugs on top of the plank to push the plank into the liquid. Let soak until ready to grill. If you don’t want to use beer, just use all water. When possible, soak plank overnight.
  2. When preparing to grill, take salmon out of the refrigerator. In a small bowl, whisk together orange zest and juice, olive oil, brown sugar, chipotle powder, and cumin. Set aside.
  3. Drain liquid from pan with cedar plank, leaving the plank inside. Add salmon fillet, skin side down, to plank. Rub chipotle-orange mixture all over the top and sides of the salmon. Sprinkle with a bit of kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Top with fresh orange slices.
  4. Heat grill to medium-high, about 415° F. Place plank with salmon on grill grates and cook for about 25 to 30 minutes for a thicker piece of salmon. Salmon thickness will vary, so thinner fillets will take less time to cook. The salmon is done when the thickest part of the fillet is beautifully pink but no longer has a translucent appearance. It should flake a bit when prodded with a fork. Have a spray bottle of water handy for any flare-ups on the wood plank. The wood will smoke and smolder, and slowly start to char and burn, becoming more fragile and brittle at the end of the cooking process. Your goal is to keep the wood smoking, and not burning up. Just use the spray bottle to keep adding moisture to the exposed wood (don’t directly spray the salmon). To remove the grill plank, use a large grill turner to get under the plank to lift it onto a rimmed pan. Serve the salmon right from the plank inside the pan for a fun and fuss-free presentation.

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