Grilling Seafood

Beer-Planked Lake Erie Walleye

Yes, I soaked the planks in beer.

We have a number of walleye in the freezer of different sizes, but I thought I would try the planks with the big 28″ one. I made a marinade with beer, but only marinated the fillets for an hour, because I didn’t want to significantly change the texture of the fish. It worked and they remained juicy and tender, with a slight taste of the cedar planks and a little smoke. I think you can tell which one we ate out of this bunch:

I would have used whatever beer was on hand, but it turned out that we have some Leinenkugel’s® Summer Shandy, which already has a lemon flavor. I added some lemon zest and juice, as well as some chives to the marinade, keeping it simple. The rest of the bottle of beer went into the soaking liquid, with water, to soak the cedar planks.

As you can see in the photo, I grilled some skewered zucchini over the coals while the fish were cooking. You can also see that using two planks in a kettle grill takes up a lot of space. I found that the two planks made it hard to keep the heat much above 300° and I would have preferred something around 375°-450°—next time, I’ll leave out the veggies and use some of the smaller fish. Still, it was pretty wonderful, juicy and tender.

Beer-Planked Lake Erie Walleye

  • Servings: 2 (maybe 3-4)
  • Difficulty: easy
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Marinade

  • 1/2 cup beer
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup chopped chives
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 1 teaspoon coarse-ground black pepper

Pour marinade over fillets in shallow glass dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour. Remove from the refrigerator when setting up the grill, so they come to room temperature. It takes about an hour for charcoal to be ready, but a gas grill would be much quicker.

Soaking the planks: Soak planks for at least an hour in a shallow dish with the remaining beer from the bottle and enough water to cover. Put something heavy on the planks to submerge them, like a big jar of peanut butter.

Grilling

  1. Set up charcoal grill with two zones—direct and indirect.
  2. When the coals are covered in white ash, place the planks (I needed two for my large fish) over the direct heat and close the lid until they begin to char and smoke.
  3. Flip them over and place on the indirect side. Place the marinated fillets on the charred side and close the lid. Cook for about 12-15 minutes or until the flesh is white and flaky. Cooking time depends on the size (thickness) of your fillets. Even though mine were long, they were not too thick, plus I cut each fillet in half to fit on the planks better.

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