Grilling Cedar Plank Pork Chops, Step by Step

To know me is to know that I LOVE to grill.  Around dinner time on any given day, you can find me tending to a piece of seasoned meat as it sizzles over hot charcoals.

I’ve been grilling for years and I’ve used plenty of different techniques to flavor grilled meats: rubs, brines, marinades, sauces, and of course smoke.

One thing I’ve never done is cook meat on a plank; a plank of wood that is!  I’ve seen and sampled plank-cooked meats in restaurants but I’ve never tried it at home.

After doing a bit of plank cooking research, I decided to add this style to my grilling playbook.

Here’s the step-by-step approach I used for my first attempt at grilling on a plank.  If you’re following along, you’ll need:

Four half-inch thick Pork Chops
Kosher Salt, Freshly Ground Black Pepper, and other seasonings to taste
One untreated cedar plank
A charcoal or gas grill (or an oven in a pinch!)
At least 12 ounces of chilled beer or wine

Spoiler alert: It’s easy and the results are phenomenal.  Let’s get started!

1.  Soak the plank for at least one hour or more

Soaking the plank will keep it from burning when its on the grill.  It also contributes to the flavor and moisture that will be transferred to the meat.  If your plank floats, use a can or other object to weigh it down.

2.  Lightly season the pork chops

Use a light mix of coarse salt, freshly ground pepper, and other seasonings to flavor the pork chops.  Don’t go overboard with the seasonings, though.  Most of the final flavor will come from the wood.

3.  Set up your grill for indirect cooking with medium-high heat

Getting a grill ready for cooking is a lesson all by itself.  If you’re new to grilling, follow the directions on the charcoal bag. The directions on Kingsford brand charcoal do a great job of pointing you in the right direction.

Indirect cooking makes your grill cook with ambient heat — like an oven.  By pushing the coals to the sides of the grill, the middle becomes the prefect place to put the wood and meat to receive the heat moving around inside the grill.

4.  Heat the planks

Once the grill is prepped for cooking, put the planks on the grilling surface over the coals.  Let them heat up for three to four minutes.  Heating the wood will intensify the flavors transferred to the meat while it cooks.

5.  Flip the planks and add the meat

Once the planks are heated, flip them over so the heated side is facing up.  Place the meat on the heated side.

6.  Cover the grill and cook the meat for 20 to 25 minutes

At this point, relax!  Cover the grill and let the meat cook for 20 to 25 minutes while you enjoy the chilled beer or wine.  This is a very important step in the cooking process!

Do not open the grill!  Removing the lid will allow heat to escape which will make for a longer cooking time.  If you must look in the grill, use a small flash light to peer in through the open vents on the top.

After 20 minutes or so, open the grill to examine the meat.  The chops should be nicely browned and the scent from the grill should be highly aromatic from the cedar smoke.

Use a cooking thermometer to check the meat’s internal temperature.  It should be near 160 degrees Farenhiet for a well done chop.  If they are not done or at the right temperature, replace the grill cover and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.

7.  Time to serve and enjoy!

Remove the meat from the plank and cover with foil undisturbed for three to four minutes.  That should be plenty of time to pour another glass of wine or get another beer from the fridge.

Enjoy your beverage with your delicious, cedar flavored pork chops!

Cedar plank flavored pork chops, plated with grilled sweet peppers and salad.


The wood flavor from these chops was enormous!  I felt like I was getting over because cooking with the plank was so easy and resulted in so much flavor and texture.

I’m so glad I added this style to my grilling techniques.  The next time I need something from the grill with a flavorful result — and not  much effort — I’ll be reaching for a plank!

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About the Author

Michael loves grilling, rum, and has a weakness for key lime pie.

40 Responses to “Grilling Cedar Plank Pork Chops, Step by Step”

  1. Enormous flavor. Enormous style, and my enormous support. Great post. GREG

  2. This is a great tutorial! I love to grill, and have shied away from plank grilling, even though I really want to try planked salmon. Your instructions are so clear, and the pictures really help to visualize the process. Not to mention, your meal is drool-worthy! Nice job, and you get my vote. :)

  3. A guy after my own heart. Love the grill! I also loved your post for the challenge.

  4. I would just like to say that it is awesome that you have a food blog. Im so used to men (a.k.a. my husband) who almost burn the house down making toast. You deffinatly have a vote from me. Keep up the good work. Also im vegan but those pork chops looked delicious.

  5. You had my vote on cedar plank. I was just talking to a friend about grilling salmon on cedar planks, also totally delish.

    Good luck I hope you make it to the next round.

  6. Great post- everything looks wonderful!!

  7. I really like this post, you made it look so easy, I’ve never used those planks, but I want to run out and get some! Good Luck!
    -Gina-

  8. I shouldn’t be surprised that you delivered such yumminess. You’ve got my vote, suerte in the competition!

  9. Looks great Michael…Fantastic entry :)

  10. Great choice for the challenge! I can smell that wonderful smoky aroma over on my side of town! Good luck, happy to give my vote!
    LL

  11. great photos! got my vote!

  12. Yay for Pork! I also love me some grilled peppers. Nicely done Sir!

  13. This totally makes me wish I had a grill of my own!! Beautiful pork chops and awesome technique :)

  14. Thank you! With these planks you can skip the grill and use the same technique in an oven. Make sure you turn the hood fan on high though…your kitchen might get a little smoky but the flavor is worth it.

  15. I love the taste of cedar plank grilled food! Great tutorial – I sent a little red heart your way – Good luck.

  16. Great tutorial! Your pictures on the grill are really great. And the pork chops look mouthwatering. Nicely done. I voted for you!

    Good luck! hope to see us both in round 5!!! =)

  17. Thanks! Also voted for your fruit crisp. I love peaches and that last photo with the ice cream had me drooling for sure. Nice!

  18. can i have my fiance call you for some information? he obviously needs to attend south bay foodies grilling school.

  19. Wow – looks delicious! Never done pork chops on a plank but I love salmon cooked this way so perhaps should give it a try. Good luck and hope to join you in the next round :)

  20. Excellent post – you got my vote for this! Good luck :) Feel free to hop over to leave a comment :)

    Have a wonderful day!
    jen @ http://www.passion4food.ca

  21. Cool! I know so little about cooking meat, especially on the grill. Thanks for sharing this neat technique.

  22. Michael, this is so informative, and true to your personality. It makes me feel like I’m doing it along side of you. It gives confidence and it’s fun. I’m clicking that South Bay Foodie heart right now!

  23. Ok 2 posts in one ! Well one for my hubby on lighting a bbq :) This looks amazing wished that weather in Paris right now permitted for grilling. Going to bookmark this. So happy to have found your blog. Good Luck

  24. Real easy to follow recipe with great pics accompanying each step. And anything with PORK has got my vote. Good luck!

  25. I usually do pork chops with something sweet, but I’ve been looking to dive into the more savory side. Perhaps I’ll give this a try. Also, the beer/wine is an integral part of the grilling process, I’m glad you didn’t omit it. Good luck this week, voting for you!

    Lick My Spoon

  26. I think I want to cook everything on a cedar plank from now on! Luckily I’m already familiar with the chilled beer or wine aspect of the process :)

  27. Yes! Adding beer/wine to the cooking process is a very important step. People fail to realize how much it improves….everything!

  28. Dude. you need to be on Food Network. You’ve got… “the look”. but uh, I think your planks are different than my planks. And only you can make a picture of raw pork chops look appetizing enough to eat just like it is. Can you say, “tapeworm”?

  29. Ha! Bobby Flay and Guy Fieri better watch out! And yes, my planks you can cook on; your planks are for making abs that look hard enough you might think about cooking on them. Either way, everyone wins!

    Please don’t eat my raw pork chops! I will be glad to cook them first. :)

  30. This is the first time my hubby and I have cooked pork chops using the cedar planks. We grill often to keep the house cool in the Summer, but usually we cook steaks, ribs, fish, and vegys on the planks. I followed your step-by-step instructions, minus the beer and wine, and our pork chops were perfect!

    Thank you for the information, Michael.

  31. After finding the dozen cedar planks I ordered from woot months ago in the back of the closet, today I went in search for instructions on how to use them to grill my pork chops. Of all the sites I found, yours was by for the easiest and most fun to read & understand. I’ll be using your recipe tonight. Can’t wait to see how it turns out. Thanks!

  32. Thanks for your comment, Malinda! I’m glad to help out. I’m betting your pork chops turned out great! :)

  33. Very nice, clear, well illustrated instructions. The planks have been soaked (held down by a quart jar of home made apple butter) and the wine is chilled so I’ve taken care of two big steps. I’ll report back. BTW, I’m cookin the chops for 20 minutes and doing so without any questions–just like the LA Archbishop does when listening to the Holy Father, Vicar of Rome.

  34. Let us know how it works out! Oh, and peace be with you.

  35. OK. The pork was perfect. I had some back up sausages, but it just added to the plate. We had local yellow (wax) beans with thyme from the garden as well as marble sized local poattoes with oregano, also from the garden paired with School House Pinot Noire. A fine meal chased with my own canteloupe sorbet. Thanks for the guidance.

  36. Wow! If only I was there to see and exeperience it all! :D

    Sausage side — nice choice — and all of the fresh veggies sound delectable. And you made your own sorbet!?! **bowing down**

    I say you’re welcome to my guidance and at the same time say thanks to you for sharing!

  37. Nice recipe, will have to try it. I’m a huge plank grilling fan and wanted to share my pork chop recipe. I brine my chops in a mix of 1/4 cup kosher salt and 1/4 sugar for few hours in the frig. Then load the room temp chops up on a unheated plank and grill 20-25 minutes over direct medium high heat. This gives a really good wood flavor with a nice pink smoke ring to the meat. Tender and juicy. Brautwurst on the plank (same technique) is excellent as well.

  38. Piet, thanks for sharing your recipe! I hadn’t thought about brats on a plank too. I’ll be moving that into my grilling rotation! :)

  39. I can taste the chops now! I still haven’t tried to use the planks yet.
    Momma Jerrie

  40. I’ve started getting interested in cooking with a cedar plank. My first try was spotty and I ended up over cooking the chicen breast. I used a gas grill and I did not use indirect heat which I think was my first mistake. I’ll give your suggestions a try and thanks for sharing.

    BTW: I’m not sure why you would use starter fluid on charcoal for grilling? Personally, I don’t like my meat tasting like lighter fluid. I use a charcoal starter and I like the Weber best. It has a larger capacity then most and the bottom shape speeds up the lighting process. I also prefer lump coal to prepressed charcoal which is made out of coal and charred wood waste, mixed with chemicals to hold it together.In my experience, the starter fluid does not completely burn off and the prepressed charcoal chemicals will effect the taste of the food. Just saying…

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