Cedar Planked Salmon with Cherry Coke BBQ Sauce
By Jen Sommerness
“Mom, you are not telling everyone about your secret BBQ sauce, are you??” Yep, that is what my son asked, as he was using my computer and noticed the recipe that I was getting ready to post. Trust me – if a picky eater such as him asks this question…you know you are in for a treat!
You could make this salmon with any of your favorite BBQ sauces, but take my word for it – this one is truly special made with this sauce. Once you make the sauce, you can use it on anything else that you would use BBQ sauce for, like smoked pulled pork sandwiches…which I used this batch of sauce for as well, but we ate it so fast I couldn’t take a picture of it!! YUM.
This is so simple once you have the sauce on hand, and it impresses every time. This recipe makes about 3 cups of BBQ sauce, and can be kept in the fridge for at least a month in an air-tight container…but believe me, you won’t have it that long!
As you can see by the picture, this makes it super simple to invite friends over and have a fantastic dinner for a crowd in no time. The subtle smoke flavor enhances the salmon, and the smell of the wet cedar while it cooks makes the whole experience even more enjoyable. Personally, it reminds me of being in the Northwoods of Minnesota.
If you like, grill some veggies on the side while the salmon cooks. They will take on the slightly smoked flavor as well. I love to toss asparagus or baby squash with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and grill it right next to the salmon in a grill basket.
All this talk is making me hungry! Enjoy!
Cherry Coke BBQ Sauce
2 T olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 liters cherry coke
2 C Ketchup
1 C apple cider vinegar
2 Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, chopped
2 tsp sweet paprika
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat the olive oil in a large pan or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, until soft and golden. Add the cola and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer, and cook for 45 minutes, until reduced to one-quarter of the amount. Stir in the remaining ingredients, and cook for another 15 minutes, or until thick. Keep in mind it will also thicken as it cools. It is no ready to use, or refrigerate in an air-tight container for up to one month.
Cedar Planked Salmon
Cedar planks (sold at grocery stores in the meat department)
Salmon fillets (I use fresh caught wild salmon, skin them myself, and cut them into serving sizes of about 6 ounces each)
Soak as many cedar planks as you think you will need for at least an hour, preferably two, then drain. Heat your grill to medium-high, using gas or charcoal. When hot, place the cedar planks on the grill to heat them and start the smoking process. Once the cedar starts to smoke (about 4 minutes), add the fillets with the side that used to have the skin down on the plank. Brush on BBQ sauce generously, and close lid. The salmon needs nothing more done to it, so the longer you keep the lid down before peeking for doneness – the smokier your salmon will be. It will take about 20-25 minutes for your salmon to be done, as the cedar slows the cooking time slightly. You can use a thermometer if you would like, the internal temperature should be 135 degrees to get it just about perfect!
Recipe adapted from The Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley Cookbook, 2003.