George Hirsch’s Cedar Plank Whole Fish

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I have planked for years it's fool proof and quite impressive for entertaining in your home. Over the past twenty years I've introduced the age old art of hot smoking on wood planks in my TV shows and cookbooks. However, this technique of cooking on planks is far from new. The Indians in the Pacific Northwest cooked on cedar and alder, a tradition done for many centuries, as all cooking on an open fire. Once you try it yourself you'll see why. On a recent visit to my home studio kitchen I shared tips and tricks with Restaurant Hunter TV Series for another great day outdoors around the grill. Enjoy!   

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George Hirsch’s Cedar Plank Whole Fish

Makes four servings | George Hirsch Lifestyle

1 cedar plank

One 1 1/2 - 2 pound whole sea bass, or branzino, etc. cleaned

Juice of one fresh lemon

6 sprigs fresh thyme

sea salt + fresh ground black pepper

3 Tablespoons olive oil

1 lemon, sliced  

Soak plank in water to cover for at least 2 hours; drain.

Pre heat Grill to high.

Rub plank with one-tablespoon olive oil.

Place whole fish on plank; season with sea salt, thyme, black pepper, lemon juice. Top with remaining olive oil. 

Grill 10-14 minutes on a covered grill for optimum smoke or until fish is cooked. The thickness of the fillets will determine final cooking time. 

Grill lemon slices on high heat for two minutes or just until slightly charred. Place grilled lemon slices on top of fish while cooking for added flavor.

Serve with extra fresh grilled lemon slices and top with fresh time leaves.


Soak planks for at least 2 hours or morein cold water before you fire-up the grill.

Make sure the grill is good and hot, this is key! Grilled cedar planked fish takes on a wonderful smoky flavor. The plank will be charred, but the fish will be perfectly cooked. When opening grill if planks should flare up, spray plank with water to dose flame and immediatly close grill cover to reduce oxygen. 

Note: Cedar plank should be untreated non-resin wood, no thicker than 1 inch.