There’s more to grilling season than hot dogs and burgers, so fire up the grill and make a smoky grilled brie, an unexpected but satisfying appetizer that’s an elevated twist on the traditional baked brie. Here it’s served with a sweet and sour blackberry thyme topping and crispy grilled baguette slices.
Using cedar planks to impart flavor in cooking isn’t new. I grew up craving my dad’s cedar plank salmon, with a sweet smokiness that was cooked to perfection. It wasn’t summer without the smell of cedar smoke coming out of the backyard. Little did I know that there are countless ways to use cedar planks in cooking, well beyond salmon.
Where to Buy Cedar Planks
You can find cedar planks for grilling in specialty grocery shops, but you can also try lower cost spots like Home Depot or Amazon, making cedar planking an accessible way to impart flavor into dishes. If buying from a hardware store, be sure the wood is not treated with any special coating.
Why Soak the Planks?
Don’t skip soaking your cedar planks for at least 30 minutes. The thicker the plank, the longer it needs to soak. Without pre-soaking, the wood will catch fire, char, and burn before it has the chance to smoke whatever you are cooking.
Pre-Grilling the Plank
When using cedar planks, I like to pre-grill the soaked planks for a few minutes on each side. This helps start the process of smoking, for a richer, deeper flavor. Without this simple step, you may find the smoky flavor too subtle. Because brie is so rich, I find that this extra step helps to permeate the smoky flavor into the cheese, without tasting like you are biting into an ashy piece of brie.
How to Serve
Brie is a buttery, soft cow’s milk cheese that is covered in an edible rind. When baked, the center becomes irresistibly runny, creamy, and is great spread onto just about anything, but I like to serve it with a grilled baguette for maximum surface area. Once heated, you’ll have about 20 to 30 minutes to enjoy it before it starts to harden, so don’t be shy, and dig in! If needed, reheat the brie in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds.
Ingredient Swaps and Substitutions
- Instead of the blackberries, use your favorite seasonal berries, but make sure the pieces are small enough to easily scoop onto your baguette!
- In a pinch? Top the brie with 1/3 cup fig preserves, thyme, and a sprinkle of chopped almonds.
- Serve on toasted sourdough, topped with arugula for a light lunch.
More Easy Apps to Grill
- Grilled Okra
- Smoked Chicken Wings
- Grilled Oysters With Spicy Miso Butter
- Cajun-Spiced Grilled Corn
- Grilled Artichokes
Soak the cedar plank:
Soak the cedar plank in water for a minimum of 30 minutes, up to to 2 hours.
Prepare the baguette slices:
Slice the baguette diagonally into 1/2-inch pieces. Brush both sides with olive oil, and sprinkle with the salt. Set aside.
Prepare the blackberry topping:
In a medium bowl, combine the blackberries, honey, balsamic vinegar, thyme, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
Heat the grill:
Preheat a grill for indirect grilling.
Using a gas grill: Light the burners on one side, and set to medium heat. Keep the other side off.
Using a charcoal grill: Light the coals. Once the coals are covered with white ash, spread them over half of the grill.
Once the temperature reaches 350°F, the grill is ready to use.
Pre-cook the plank:
Place the plank on the grill over direct heat for 3 minutes over the heat, flip, and cook the opposite side for an additional 3 minutes. It will start smoking, and start to blacken on the edges.
While the plank is cooking, add the baguette slices to the grill over indirect heat (the side opposite the coals/flames). Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until golden. Set aside.
Cook the brie:
Place the brie on top of the plank over direct heat. Spoon the blackberry topping on top. Close the grill. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the brie is warmed through. To test, gently poke the brie, it should feel somewhat liquid-y inside, it should not be firm to touch. If it’s still firm, continue cooking until the brie softens.
Serve immediately, directly from the plank. Once heated, you’ll have about 20 to 30 minutes to enjoy it before it starts to harden. If needed, reheat the brie in the microwave for 10 to 20 seconds.
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