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Since wooden cutting boards are safe for use with meat, I was wondering if I can reuse the cedar grilling planks.

Yossarian's answer to this question about how to prepare a plank says you can use one again depending on what you're cooking.

  • So, what determines whether you can reuse the planks?
  • How should I clean them after use?
  • After too many uses, will they lose the ability to impart flavor to what's being grilled?

The ones I bought were fairly expensive, so I'd like to get as much use out of them as possible.

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up vote 8 down vote accepted

I will generally reuse a plank on two conditions:

  1. The bottom isn't completely charred. Sometimes, the bottom ends up complete black. I find that this won't start to smoke a second time. It's also a mess to store anywhere.
  2. The top isn't a mess of food. This is largely dependent on what you cook. Fish skin sometimes gets cooked on, glaze bubbles and chars, oil lights on fire and the top surface chars. Something like shrimp, tomato, or sausage will be fairly clean though, and nothing will cook on to the top.

In order to reuse the plank, I clean it with soap and water, the same way I'd clean a wooden chopping board. I've never managed to use a plank more than twice and I usually just toss them after a single use.

Keep in mind that a dried cedar plank is a dried cedar plank. Cost is generally more based on the store that you buy it in than the product you're buying. A hardware super store (like Home Depot) will generally have these quite cheap.

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Be careful you don't get treated wood at Home Depot! – ceejayoz Sep 18 '10 at 0:15
Cedar isn't treated, SPF is. SPF is spruce, pine, fir, and these woods are generally considered susceptible to rot when used on or in the ground, that's what you buy treated lumber for. It is distinctively green and smells pretty bad. Cedar is never treated this way, and should be dry as parchment and smell nice. – Escoce Mar 22 at 13:32

You can absolutely reuse wood planks if they are prepared and cared for properly. Unlike what yossarian says I would never use soap to clean them unless I absolutely had to. The soap will absorb into the wood which can alter its aroma when burned. Also I would be very careful when reusing to always use the same types of meat/fish. For instance if you are cooking salmon on the cedar plank I would always try to use a fish for that plank from then on. Typically I can get 3-4 uses out of my plank if I'm careful to soak it for a decent amount of time.

A good resource I've found for this:

Hope this helps!

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I routinely reuse cedar planks 1 or 2 times. I use an indirect charcoal grilling method that tends to char the bottom less. I simply scrub with a brush under running hot water promptly after removing the cooked food. Let dry and resoak when needed again. Never had any problems. The likelihood of any bacteria surviving the grilling is quite remote.

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This is essentially my strategy; I get a hot grill with a cool side. – JasonTrue Sep 8 '15 at 5:15

I believe I can reuse a plank for salmon cooking several times. Wash with hot water, not soapy. Then microwave if it will fit in. The microwaving will kill bacteria. Then bag and store frozen until thawing for next use, so it doesn't grow anything in the meantime. Microwave again before next use. If unable to microwave and freeze, discard and buy a new one.

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I bought two planks from homedepot.I used them in my green egg, after soaking overnight. 20 mins at 400 degrees, using a ceramic deflector plate, not direct heat over coals. The planks' bottoms turned a light honey tone but no charring whatsoever. Washed off in the sink with hot water and kosher salt and microvaved.

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This sounds like it is a good cleaning method. How long can the planks be reused (safely, and so they continue imparting flavor)? – Erica Mar 22 at 11:42

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