Grilling Product Review : Cedar Grilling Planks from Fire & Flavor
On a consistent basis the team here at GrillJunkie™ sets time aside to evaluate and communicate our formal rating on either a Grilling, BBQ or Burger related product. We do this via our Grilling Product Reviews process. As you certainly can imagine these products run the gamut from: Gotta Have It!, Cool, Useful, Utilitarian, Ridiculous and the, well, Just Plain Asinine! The spectrum of grilling related products is wide.
Today’s Grilling Product Reviews candidate:
The GrillJunkie™ Grilling Product Reviews (GPR) Scale
Based on our extensive field research, the GrillJunkie Product Review team assigns a formal rating to every product that we test. This rating is based on a 1-5 Firepot structure as depicted through our Grilling Product Review (GPR) scale illustrated below. The number of Firepots given to the grilling product indicates its final rating. The higher the number of Firepots, the more positive the review.
Quick Product Reviews Rating: For the more impatient reader who needs to get the rating right away, we gave the Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks a 4.2 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing. The product addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed in an attractively packaged, sustainable, highly effective, affordable and fun to use product. In fact, the Fire & Flavor™ Grilling Planks are not only high-quality, center cut grilling planks, which create a significant taste difference when it comes to the robust aroma and smokiness of the planks, but the company also honors the age-old Indian cooking method of wood plank cooking that has no equal. For more detail on this Product Review, including a History of Wood Plank Grilling, as well as the many upcoming Grilling Product Reviews on our schedule, read on!
First Up: The Why and History of Plank Grilling
In the early days, the catch was hung over open fires or tacked to big wood slabs and then slowly cooked, absorbing the natural flavors from the smoke. As the settlers became more civilized, huts and smokehouses were built to contain and intensify the smoke flavor. As these techniques advanced over the centuries and with the invention of the grill, plank cooking as we know it today was born. The earliest documented recipe for plank cooking appeared in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook in 1911 and was written by Fannie Farmer. This recipe featured planked chicken and duchess potatoes. Today, we have many spices, marinades and sauces to help flavor our foods, but back in the early days wood was the primary source to add flavor. With the evolution of modern smokers and grills, these original methods of smoking have slowly been displaced by easier, quicker techniques. Many traditionalists all over the world still cook over fire pits or in their own hand built smokehouses, but in slightly modified versions. The incredible smoky flavors of wood such as Western Red Cedar, Alder, Sugar Maple, Hickory, Mesquite and Oak from old wine barrels can be infused into your favorite foods as you grill or bake. We highly recommend western red cedar as our choice of wood for plank cooking. It can be used for all types of fish, beef, chicken, pork, even fruits and vegetables.
However, we encourage you to experiment and try other woods on your own. Try to stay away from woods that contain a lot of sap such as Pine. Use of this type of wood will not produce a desirable flavor and could be harmful to your health.
We hope that you will try plank cooking and that you will enjoy one of the most exciting cooking methods in the world. See for yourself why this technique of cooking has become one of the hottest methods of gourmet cooking. Take a look at our Grilled Salmon recipe using Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks!!
Today, chefs and home cooks alike prize the simple, straightforward style of plank roasting that adds complex flavors and moist texture to a range of foods. Plank cooking works because the porous wood surface absorbs moisture at room temperature and then releases the moisture and a smoky aroma to flavor foods as they’re slowly cooked in a hot oven or on a BBQ grill. As a result, plank-cooked foods are juicier, more flavorful and less susceptible to nutrient loss with a complex layering of flavors. An added benefit for health-conscious cooks: most recipes can be prepared using less fat or oil, sauces or liquids.
Now let’s see how well the Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks honor this age-old American Indian cooking method!
Fire & Flavor Product Review – Grilling Plank Masters or Commoners?
The GrillJunkie Grilling Product Reviews follow a comprehensive structure which includes the:
- Problem that needs to be solved or addressed
- Solution to that problem
- Good, Bad and Ugly elements of the product
- Verdict - the official GrillJunkie™ GPR (Grilling Product Reviews Rating)
Official Product Review and GPR
- Problem - The way we view it, grilling salmon can be a challenge as it can notoriously stick to a hot grill, and infusing a natural smoky flavor into the delicate flesh is not easy. Additionally, fish can easily dry out, char, lose flavor and essential nutrients if not cooked correctly, especially on a grill.
Product’s Solution Pitch - The Fire & Flavor™ team’s approach to addressing the problem was to develop, market and distribute their line-up of Grilling Planks and Papers. According to the company’s marketing material and ad copy:
“Plank Grilling adds a delicious smoky flavor to your favorite foods. Fire & Flavor’s planks are perfect for seafood, meats, vegetables, and even fruits. Soak the plank for 1 hour or more, heat on an outdoor grill and cook food right atop the plank. Based on an old Native American technique, plank grilling is a fun and easy way to add amazing flavor to your next meal.“
How to Use Fire & Flavor™ Grilling Planks
- SOAK plank under water for at least one hour.
- HEAT grill to 350F, add soaked plank to grill rack, close cover, heat 3 minutes and flip plank.
- SMOKE add food to heated plank, close cover: cook until done, no turning or flipping necessary.
- EAT super-moist seafood, meats or vegetables with rich, all natural smoky flavor.
The Genesis of Fire & Flavor Grilling Planks
Mission: To change the way people think about food. To inspire optimism, balance, and togetherness among those who come in contact with Fire & Flavor.
Fire & Flavor’s story began years ago in a busy kitchen in Reynolds, Georgia where Gena Knox prepared many delicious meals with her mother and grandmother. It began with a love of family, friends, and Southern cuisine. In 2003, Gena Knox set a cedar plank on her grill and unknowingly started a culinary and entrepreneurial journey with her husband, Davis. Gena’s love affair with cooking became a passion for sharing delicious, gourmet, natural food with the people she loved.
Today Fire & Flavor shares all kinds of ways to make food more delicious, more nutritious and with less work. Davis and Gena are blessed with large families that share in many Southern traditions—in every one of them (it seems), food was the connector. Food continues to be that today. Sharing food at the
table is a time when many memories are created. Laughter, love and happiness make our world a better place.
Great food is so important to us that we anchor our company on a few core beliefs:
We believe in the truth of history and in the optimism of all the tomorrows ahead.
We believe great food is the means; memories and togetherness are the end.
We believe in the blessings of friendship, the power of family, and the reward in adventure.
We believe that great food belongs with people in the places they live.
We believe in helping people make food better than they ever have, more easily than they imagined.
We believe in all natural, made simple.
The Good - The product has a few important positive attributes. First of all, the Fire & Flavor product team did indeed address the problem head on with a top quality, center cut and attractively packaged product. Under extensive product testing using various sized grills and a myriad of food , seafood, burgers, and of course salmon, the hard to impress GrillJunkie team found that this grilling product:
- Is packaged in an attractive, visually-rich and see through packaging
- Comes in a variety of sizes from 6″ square, 4″ x 6″ and the larger 15″ x 5.75″ x .75″, 12.7 oz. size
- Comes with easy to follow 4 step instructions and in-package recipe suggestions
- Is made of all-natural Western Red Cedar
- Derives from the Center Cut of the tree and not lower grade outer cuts
- Derives from sustainable Canadian forrests
- Is certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative
- Infuses a robust but not overpoweringly sweet and naturally rich smoky flavor
- The Cedar grilling planks are great for grilling salmon, beef, pork and other fresh water fish and seafoods
- Is easy and fun to use on a grill or BBQ
- Is re-useable up to 2 times if not overly charred
The Bad & The Ugly- We did not believe that this variable directly applied to this product. In fact, the Fire & Flavor Grilling Planks, albeit a tad pricier than some common, lower grade grilling planks, have a clean and enticing package design and the product itself is very attractive, well produced, instruction-rich and extremely effective grilling plank that creates a juicy, aromatic and lusciously sweet, naturally smoky cedar flavor while minimizing essential nutrient loss and essentially eliminating foods from sticking to the grill. The only ugliness is that the product line is not available in every retail, BBQ or grocery store worldwide, but they’re getting there! We’ll let the Fire & Flavor sales and marketing team tackle that one.
Verdict - We give the Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks a 4.2 out of 5 GrillJunkie™ GPR Firepots. This rating equates to a Hot product but not quite Searing. The product addresses and solves the problem for which it was designed in an attractively packaged, sustainable, highly effective, affordable and fun to use product. In fact, the Fire & Flavor™ Grilling Planks are not only high-quality, center cut grilling planks, which create a significant taste difference when it comes to the robust aroma and smokiness of the planks, but the company also honors the age-old Indian cooking method of wood plank cooking that has no equal.We look forward to conducting our Grilling Product Reviews on the Grilling Papers, Spices and Brines, their Lump Hardwood Charcoal and any new product developments that will come from the Fire & Flavor team.
GrillJunkie Rating of Fire & Flavor Cedar Grilling Planks = 4.2 / 5.0
Next Grilling Review: Kuisiware Grill Light
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