I don't know the answer to your question, but...
if it were me I'd skip the glue & not take any chances
and only use what I know is ok.
1. Tight fitting dowels and secure with nails/brads.
2. Battens and screws on the backside.
3. Drill holes to run wires thru edgewise.
4. Staple the ends, pinch dog style.
5. Sliding dovetails.
I'm sure there are plenty of others but these should get
I have some smaller pieces of scrap (aromatic) cedar that I'd like to
glue up to make planks large enough for cooking fish on the grill. The
way I typically use these planks is to line the bottom of the plank
with foil, place the planked fish on the second level over medium heat
of a gas grill (@ 350-400º inside the hood) for around 20 min. The
plank never chars, but can discolor from the heat on the bottom. The
planks are reusable for about 20 trips to the grill or so.
Can thoroughly cured glue contaminate the fish in any way? I was
thinking of using polyurethane, just because I have some left over, but
otherwise Titebond II.
Glue Chemists encouraged to reply.
I'd avoid the use of any adhesive. Use mechanical fastening methods
only. I am thinking that cured adhesives, in a manner similar to
plastics, will give up compounds you don't want to ingest when heated.
Also, I believe that the cedar planks you're thinking of for cooking
fish or meat are Western Red Cedar, not aromatic.
I'd avoid both, as well as other insect-resistant woods.
They contain a higher concentration of toxins than other woods,
that is what makes them insect-resistant. It is not clear
that those toxins will migrate into the food, but that does
not seem to be too far-fetched .
Maybe Native Americans on the West Coast commonly used
western red cedar for cooking but consider also that their
life expectancy was less than thirty years. Most of them
didn't live long enough to get cancer.
No, aromatic is the way to go. Lot's of restaurants and suppliers will
give you the Western, but I suspect it's because they don't know the
difference and opt for the cheaper more readily accessible wood.
ANY wood can be used to "plank" cook fish. CEDAR-planked fish is only
worthy of the distinction if aromatic is used. It imparts a flavor that
is, IMO and others', stunning. Western Cedar might as well be any other
bland wood. Eastern's not the only wood that gives off a distinct
flavor to fish, but it's my favorite.
de gustibus non disputandum est?
Having spent over 35 years working as a Chef, with 25 as a certified
Executive Chef with stints in East, Southwest, Northwest with
Doubletree, Sheraton, and Hilton. I think I know what woods are used
for cooking and why. Only a fool would make a statement like "aromatic
is the way to go" or "any wood can be used" The reason no one uses it
has nothing to do with providers, its because Chefs like good reviews
and don't like to kill people.There are reasons we only use certain
woods for cutting boards one of which is imparting a bad taste.
Just because you are using it and have found a few poor sods to agree
with you means nothing.
Just the fact you are posting and asking for advise about what effect
heat will have on glue and cooking, speaks volumes to your culinary
Stick to woodworking I can only hope you know more about that.
Well, Mr. Executive, it is in fact my opinion that aromatic is the way
to go for salmon. I like it better than Western Cedar, Alder, and
Apple. That's a fact. That comment was furthermore in response to
George, who questioned whether I meant aromatic or the more commonly
used Western Cedar. If you want to get in a dander about that, then
knock yourself out. If your opinion differs, fine. If you want to call
others fools for not sharing your opinion, really, who's the fool?
If your panties are more wadded up because of the latter statement
("any wood can be used"), let me clarify: I meant most American woods,
which have historically, anthropologically been used or experimented
with as cooking utensils, specifically using the planking method. You
are of course free to disagree with that statement of fact, but we
would verify it from historians and anthropologists (not Executive
Right. Now show me the bad reviews and deaths that resulted from using
aromatic cedar, and you'll begin to show that you know what you're
talking about. I'll even settle for one (even just one!) scientifically
validated study that claims to demonstrate that aromatic cedar is toxic
for plank cooking.
<snip irrelevant comment about cutting boards>
Now you've really hurt my feelings. Being an Executive Chef and all....
Well, you've got me dead to rights there. I mean, me not being an
Executive Chef and all, I guess I had no business asking a question
Oh, and the fact that you didn't answer the question speaks a tome or
Probably good advice (note the spelling there). I'll return the favor
and suggest you stay in the kitchen and not try logic.
Sure, but you may be very unhappy with the flavor if you use
black walnut. Several others may well result in acute toxicity.
Poison Ivy is a woody vine, and old vines can be six inches or more
in diameter. You COULD cobble up a board out of narrow planks
cut from poison ivy (Roy Underhill had a guest who made wooden
spoons from poison ivy) and you COULD cook fish on it but
I personally discourage you from trying.
OK, guilty as charged for assuming the hyperbole would be recognized.
"Virtually any," or "most," how's that?
Underhill's guest, now that's funny: what happened? did Underhill make
fun of him or admire his boldness and ask for a bowl of soup?
: I have some smaller pieces of scrap (aromatic) cedar that I'd like to
: glue up to make planks large enough for cooking fish on the grill. The
: way I typically use these planks is to line the bottom of the plank
: with foil, place the planked fish on the second level over medium heat
: of a gas grill (@ 350-400? inside the hood) for around 20 min. The
: plank never chars, but can discolor from the heat on the bottom. The
: planks are reusable for about 20 trips to the grill or so.
: Can thoroughly cured glue contaminate the fish in any way? I was
: thinking of using polyurethane, just because I have some left over, but
: otherwise Titebond II.
: Glue Chemists encouraged to reply.
Forget the glue. Aromatic cedar is NOT the right stuff to use to emulate
Pacific NW salmon planking, For that, you want western red or white cedar,
which is a very different thing from eastern aromatic cedar.
I imagine fish cooked on closet-liner cedar would taste pretty awful.
-- Andy Barss
"Aromatic cedar is NOT the right stuff to use to emulate Pacific NW
salmon planking, For that, you want western red or white cedar, which
is a very different thing from eastern aromatic cedar."
Your phrasing is correct, but I'm not trying to emulate Pacific NW
Having read all the responses to your question I'm surprised that no
one from the northwest of North America has replied. That's were the
American Indians have been using Alder and Cedar for plank cooking for
a long time..
There are sources for food grade Western Red Cedar that is approved by
USDA for plank cooking. I have had Salmon on Western Red Cedar and
Trout on Alder.
I would not use wood I bought down at the lumber yard and I would not
use aromatic cedar for cooking or smoking. Its oils are too strong. I
have never heard of any one using it for cooking. Western Red Cedar is
what's used. As for glue. Why even go there. I don't care what the
Find another use for your scrap aromatic cedar.
Some reading on the subject, I'm sure there is much more.
Thanks for the link, ED. I was impressed that this mfg. had bothered to
have their boards tested by the NFSC (although I have never heard of
that agency, the FSIS is probably what they meant).
Northwestern Indians using Wester Red Cedar is well known, nor do I
mean to disparage that fine tradition, but aromatic Cedar is what I
meant and prefer.
The USDA giving an imprimatur for cedar planks? That strikes me as odd.
Nothing comes up from their web site: do you have a source for that?
Out of curiosity, why wouldn't you use Western Cedar from the lumber
You're probably right about the glue, and I probably won't ever use
one, but I was curious so asked.
Well darn, that was so obvious, why didn't I think of that? Hide glue
(which is just protein, I think) might work fine too, but fish glue for
fish plank...why oh why was my first inclination towards the most toxic
Now the only question is whether it will hold up under moderate heat.
Thanks for whacking me upside the head,
I think most protein-based glues will soften w/ heat, but perhaps by
combining biscuits w/ the glue, the glue will hold things together long
enough for the biscuits to expand and set the joint tight. Dowels might
work, but biscuits would swell more and perhaps maintain the joint.
Just have to experiment with it and see....
Could try blood - take some blood (Inuit used to use caribou
blood), swish it around in your mouth to get it good and warm
and start coagulating. Smear it on the wood. It will give a
decent bond. Not likely to be dangerous unless the caribou has
a nasty disease.
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