Is a cedar plank safe to use in the oven?
The technique is much simplified today, usually using an outdoor grill instead of an open fire. Packaged food-grade cedar shelves populate grocery stores, upscale kitchen stores and countless online venues, making it easy to pile on seafood, meats and veggies for an earthy, smoky, flavorful platter of deliciousness. It’s healthy too, as the flavor comes naturally from cedar wood and smoke, with little need for added oils or fats. WebMD shared how plank-grilled salmon is easy to prepare and low in calories, saturated fat, sodium, and carbohydrates.
But what if grilling isn’t your thing, or it’s raining and cold outside? That’s when your oven comes into play, prompting questions about the safety of cedar planks in indoor settings. You’re certainly not the first to wonder if cooking on wooden planks can move into your kitchen without a 9-1-1 call from the fire department.
Baking on wooden shelves in traditional ovens
Many commercially available cedar wood cooking boards come with instructions, and many recommend seasoning the wood with cooking oil before first use. Wild Alaskan simplifies the concept by applying a simple coat of oil directly to the shelf before adding your food. Temperatures are more manageable in an oven than on a grill. Wildwood Grilling recommends heat levels of 350 to 450 degrees F, depending on the recipe, and placing the plank on the top oven rack. Other tips include placing a baking tray on the bottom rack to catch spills and crisping the meat, fish or vegetables under the broiler for a few minutes before removing the shelf.
Choose cedar baking boards
Commercially available cooking boards can be pricey, but the Seattle Times reveals a more cost-effective way to incorporate shelves into your culinary world. Go to your local lumberyard and ask for an “untreated” cedar board, which is free of any chemicals that can get into your food. Aim for at least ½-inch thickness for stability. Choose something even thicker for longer life (multiple uses). Avoid boards with excessive knots that can trap hot oil while cooking.
You can ask the lumberyard to cut the plank for you. In a YouTube video on how to make your own cedar planks for cooking, InnerBark Outdoors suggests buying a 4×4 piece of untreated cedar planks for about $15 to $20, which can make up to 20 or 30 cedar planks for cooking, depending on how you cut them.