Grilling: Planked Whitefish with Cilantro-Lime Butter

I'm making strides at becoming a seafood eater. If it's fried, I'll most likely at least try it, but I want to step it up and eat fish not just because it has a golden crunchy crust, but because it's fish.

The next step to achieving this was making a mild flavored fish, planked, and mixed with other flavors that I knew I already liked—that's where this recipe for a cedar planked whitefish with cilantro-lime butter came in. Any mild, flaky whitefish will do; my fishmonger had fresh flounder. Coming from a grilling mindset, I thought about rubs, and what would match well with wood flavor from planking—I opted for a cedar plank.

Once the fish was opaque and started to flake, after about 20 minutes over an indirect, medium heat, I slathered on a tasty compound butter of cilantro, serrano chile, and lime.

All of my inclinations here were right on. While both the woody flavor of the plank and butter were excellent additions, they only complemented and didn't mask the fish. It's a great way to enjoy fish, particularly for seafood eaters in training.

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

Grilling: Planked Whitefish with Cilantro-Lime Butter

About This Recipe

Active time:20 minutes
Total time:45 minutes
Special equipment:Grill


  • 2 large or 4 medium fillets of a mild whitefish, such as haddock, flounder, or cod
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • For the Cilantro-Lime Butter
  • 8 tablespoons of butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 medium serrano chile, seeded and finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • Zest of 1 lime
  • 2 cedar planks, soaked for 1 hour prior to use
  • Type of fire: two-zone indirect
  • Grill heat: medium


  1. 1

    In a small bowl, combine butter, serrano chile, cilantro, lime juice, and lime zest. Set aside.

  2. 2

    In another small bowl mix together salt, chili powder, and black pepper. Season both sides of fish with seasoning mixture.

  3. 3

    Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover gill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place planks over hot side of the grill until it start to char and smoke. Flip planks over and move to cool side of grill and arrange fish on top. Cover grill and cook until fish is opaque and starts to flake, about 15 to 20 minutes.

  4. 4

    Remove fish from the grill, spread with the cilantro-lime butter and serve.


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