Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Dances With Wood: Maple Planked Bacon Cheese Burgers

Loitering pond-side, the old Weber kettle puffing quietly away, sweet sugar maple smoldering, wafting into the air. I lay aside the20130629_200406_edit0 pit, in the thick, green grass there, immobile,  in a fashion usually reserved for a coronary thrombosis I suppose. But I didn’t care. I was “hanging ten“, as the surfers out way of Waikiki would say. And the world was mine.  Just staring up at the clouds as they roll past a beautiful, blue sky.  Like Huckleberry Finn on the grassy banks of the Mississippi, I was at ease with everything. A cool summers breeze murmured amid Spruce , and tweety birds on high, serenaded the evening sun. The neighbors are probably used to seeing me “belly-up” in the grass like this, with the ilk of a hobo beside my smoking pits.  But I’m slowly getting them trained in, by and by, and the pay off is high. For rarely now, whence I engage in such childish admissions, am I caught there and taken for dead.

On the grill tonight, we’ve got a dandy. Maple planked bacon cheese burgers. Kind of a two-part post, the first part being the recent write-up on Superior planks. Some of you expressed an interest in seeing more how this planking thing is done, and so that is what we’re up to today, at the patron’s pit. Its real easy to do, and will cast the viable illusion also, of being an experienced and highly-gifted pit master. Which is always nice.

The very first order of business when planking is to soak the wood thoroughly. Doesn’t matter how good your plank is, if it ain’t soaked, you will be singing a sorrowful rendition of Kumbaya around your flaming spoils should you neglect this key step. So just do it. An hour in the sink is suitable for most. But the longer the better. Then, whence your coals, or hark, even your gas grill is up and burning, go ahead then and lay the soaked plank on the grate and over direct heat. Let it preheat there a touch if you please, but you don’t even have to do that. Thus, and at last, place your intended vittles over the plank, and pause momentarily to appreciate the oddity of meat on wood. We formed some nice patties from some 80-20 ground beef, and laid a couple of strips of thick bacon on there too, for good measure. No man worth his tongs will ever argue the judicious use of premium bacon, and we weren’t about to tonight. Then place the lid over your grill, and assume your customary BBQ position – in the lawn chair, lovely beverage in hand, toes pointed to the heavens. And with this, you are half done already, and nearly a budding expert in the planking arts.


It is that easy folks. You nary need even touch it now until its done. You will want to, and its fine I suppose if you do flip the burger over, but we did not. It doesn’t need to be. When the lid is on, and the wood is acting like a heat shield of sorts,  the grill turns into some what of an oven like atmosphere. Would you flip a burger in the oven? I don’t think so! That is half the magic of planking. The other joy tarries in the smoke. Depending on what flavor of plank you pick out, and some folks even soak them in apple juice, or wine, or what ever, the steam and smoke which rises forth, not to mention a hint of tree oil, dutifully impregnates your spoils with a woodsy authenticness like none other. As one of our readers, Carnivore Confidential, once said in his blog, “You don’t have a smoker? You don’t need one!” And its true. A more primal way of infusing smokey goodness into your supper, you shall not soon divine. Meat on wood over flame. Simplicity at its best. And poetry on the pit!

planked cheese burger

You can plank darn near anything too. From meats to vegetables to mashed potatoes, and even mushrooms. But perhaps the best use of planks is for the delicate fish fillet.  No more dropping through the grate! Just put it on the plank and cook it. No flipping. No mess.  No worries. So the next day, and with fish on my mind,  I re-soaked the used plank. If you get good thick, hardwood planks, like that of Superior Planks, you can re-use them quite a bit. After a good soak in the sink, I placed the used-plank back on the hot grill along with some Tilapia fillets. Same process. Put the lid on and just let them do their thing. Many hard core plankers forego the seasonings all together, and just let the plank do the talking. And with that wood smoke and natural oils, turns out them old trees have a thing or two to say about good eating. Amen.


Like all fish, when they flake easily with a fork, they are ready for an immediate rendezvous with your belly! Smoked to perfection and kissed by smoldering wood. Man!


Maple Planked Bacon Cheese Burgers and Tilapia too, just because. Two of many things highly suitable for plank cooking. If you haven’t tried it yet, well, what the heck are you waiting for!

Happy Grilling!


39 responses

  1. Excellent post! I’ve been craving some of my world-famous (at least in my world, famous) burgers on the grill. But this looks so delicious and enjoyable that I think I might have to change my methods and try this one out. Thanks for sharing.

    July 2, 2013 at 10:42 am

    • Hey, thanks Dunk!

      Planking burgers is a good time. We used sugar maple, but most folks recommend oak planks for red meat. Its all good tho.

      Take care dude!

      July 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm

  2. So many juicy words. Great writing. Lovely food, coronary apart. And thanks for visiting my allotment. No meat there, apart from molluscs and pigeons. Once relieved a cat of a pigeon it had caught, and then stir-fried the finely slivered breasts. Very delicious, though something of a shameful admission to steal a cat’s supper.

    July 2, 2013 at 11:19 am

    • Well now that’s quite the story, swiping the cat’s supper! Funny!

      Thanks kindly Tish


      July 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm

  3. Liberty of Thinking

    Now that’s what I call a WOW! And now I’ll go to my oven to turn my frozen chips and frozen “bbq” chicken wings over… Or maybe I’ll try the screen licking again… Now I’m in front of my netbook. The tablet was tasteless…
    And as I promised:

    And as I said, YOU ROCK guys!

    July 2, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    • You are a man with some clean screens, sounds like. Don’t they feed you right over there!

      Thanks kindly!

      July 2, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      • Liberty of Thinking

        Ha,ha, ha! I’ll show my wife what I want for supper, and I’ll get back to the screen if the episode turns blue-eyed, and without edible results! I truly enjoyed your last post’s side story about a good life, and simple to be utterly enjoyed. It helps one relax along, even if the frozen oven bbq doesn’t really help the mood! Keep the coals burning, mates!

        July 3, 2013 at 2:16 am

      • Liberty of Thinking

        Oh,.I forgot to ask if you’d grant me permission to reblog from time to time some of your posts?

        July 3, 2013 at 2:27 am

    • Sounds good old chap. Re-blog at your leisure, and as often as you please.

      July 3, 2013 at 8:51 am

  4. Adam

    This is epifanic! No idea if such a word exists, but it should. And really it is so obvious too. Thanks for educating and sharing. Genius.

    July 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    • Well Adam, we make up words on this blog all the time, so that word fits right in!
      Have an epifanic day!

      July 2, 2013 at 3:27 pm

  5. Nick Trandahl

    That sounds completely delicious! Wonderful post. Thank you.

    July 2, 2013 at 1:44 pm

  6. I am defo onto this shit!

    July 2, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    • Absolutely!

      July 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      • Just bought myself a whole salmon. Having trouble with the plank though…

        July 5, 2013 at 2:03 am

      • Nice! What sort of trouble? The grilling sections of most big box stores have them, leastwise they do up here.

        July 5, 2013 at 10:29 am

  7. Brilliant! Cheers!

    July 2, 2013 at 2:33 pm

  8. Nothing like a good burger, this particular cheeseburger is what I would like right this minute.

    July 2, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    • For sure! You need to try planking on your weber if you havnt yet. Good times.

      July 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm

  9. These sound amazing 🙂

    July 2, 2013 at 6:57 pm

  10. suzieque

    Had no idea that there were other planks besides cedar. Will definitely look at what Superior Planks has to offer. Thank you for the inspiration!

    July 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm

  11. laurie27wsmith

    Oh this was good! I’m even thinking of stopping at the local sawmill to give this a try. However we are limited to eucalyptus timber and I don’t want my burger having that heady taste of Koala poo. Any thoughts on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
    ps I’m at that age when I lie down for lengthy periods people tend to check up on me.

    July 2, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    • Haha, oh man, Koala Poo Burgers. Not my favorite!

      Well to be honest, I have no idea the species of trees you have down there. They are like from another country or something. As a general rule of thumb tho, here in north america anyways, any tree harboring either fruit or nuts is generally good for smoking, and if its good for that, I suspect it would be fair for planking too. I would think you could find planks where ever you buy grills and smokers. Worst case you could order something online, but there’s just got to be worthy woods down under some where. If you mill your own, just be positive it isn’t treated with chemicals or some such nonsense, for obvious reasons not far removed from one Koala Poo Burger.

      Cheers Laurie!

      July 2, 2013 at 8:54 pm

      • laurie27wsmith

        I can give the eucalypts a try, if not as you said look for an imported wood. The oil from eucalyptus trees is used as a medicine and for skin rashes, it’s astringent. The woods are worthy, some are of the hardest varieties on earth. I’m up to the challenge, yeah I’ll keep away from the treated variety I don’t want to turn my toes up because of it. Koala poo would be tastier. 🙂
        Thanks for the reply.

        July 3, 2013 at 6:02 am

  12. Greetings my Smoky friend. I couldn’t agree more, and THANKS for the shout out!! Keep up the awesome work dude!! Staying hungry too …

    July 3, 2013 at 7:57 am

  13. Never thought of planking a burger! Deffinatly worth try.

    July 3, 2013 at 9:34 am

    • Oh yes. Turns out darn near anything is possible to plank, and worth doing so.

      Thanks mrdodd!

      July 3, 2013 at 10:01 am

  14. Reblogged this on Carnivore Confidential and commented:
    Greetings Carnivores,
    If you enjoy reading MY stuff, … you’ll LOVE this Blog. These guys are BBQ/Smoker masters and … pretty awesome writers too!
    I present The Patrons of the Pit.
    Enjoy and … Stay hungry!

    July 4, 2013 at 5:05 am

  15. Pingback: The Friday Five: My Picks of the Week (July 1st – July 5th, 2013) | Jeff Parker Cooks

  16. Looks great!

    July 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm

  17. Liz

    more planks! Ordering mine tonight 🙂 And I always love when the tweety bird makes an appearance.

    July 5, 2013 at 11:00 pm

  18. Pingback: Plank Grilling and Wrap Grilling | jovinacooksitalian

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