Plank grilling with Australian Smokeboards™
Grill planks and my trade marked variant, Smokeboards™, like hot rocks are not a common food preparation method in Australia whereas one North American distributor alone, annually sells 3 million grill planks through BBQ stores, supermarkets and specialty food stores.
Grill plank cooking was an Inuit Indian method which used cedar slabs placed directly on hot coals to cook freshly caught salmon to perfection. American enterprise has expanded the timbers used to include applewood, walnut, maple and a few other easy to cut softwoods.
The way to use the North American grill planks is to first soak them in water which can also be flavoured with soy, teriyaki, ponzu, Worcestershire sauce, even stock flavoured with spices or other blended condiments. The soggy wood is then brushed with oil and the whole fish fillet or other meat (thinly slice slow cooking meats to improve the heat transfer) and the whole lot smokes, steams and bakes to a delicious finish. These boards can typically only be used once, twice at the most.
However, us Aussies do things a little differently.
Firstly, Smokeboards™ are cut from Australian Bluegum slabs and are off-cuts from sustainably grown and managed plantations. The timber stands are part of the forest stewardship program which is the highest, internationally recognized, environmental care systems for sustainable harvests. This means that our productive forests will remain as eco-systems for the animals and plants that live in them.
Australian bluegum is exceptionally harder than the usual cedar, apple and maple planks of North America which means that you can get to use them 4 to 6 times. We also get them cut quite small so that we maximize the timber resource while still being large enough to cook the protein for a dish for two. If you need more, just butt more Smokeboards™ up against each other and you could cook a snake at full stretch.