Alder-Planked Filet Mixed Grill

Cooking food on a wooden plank imparts a subtle flavor that varies with the species of wood. It also can be a much more forgiving cooking technique than placing food directly over the fire. There are no flare-ups and the indirect cooking approach slows down all the action.

By Russ Faulk, Kalamazoo Outdoor Gourmet
Serves 4
Image of Alder-Planked Filet Mixed Grill

  • 4 alder wood planks, 5" wide x 16" long x 3/4" thick (see note), soaked for at least 4 hours
  • 4 8-ounce beef tenderloin filets
  • 8 slices prosciutto
  • 2 zucchini squashes
  • 2 yellow squashes
  • 2 small red onions
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt or fine sea salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, in the husks
  • 8 sprigs fresh rosemary

After the planks are soaked, prepare a grill for indirect grilling at 400°F to 500°F (half the grill lit on high and the other half of the grill off – heat with the hood closed).Wrap the steaks with prosciutto and hold in place with toothpicks. Set aside at room temperature while you prepare the vegetables.

Slice the zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise in quarters after trimming off the ends. Cut the quarters into pieces about ¾” long, keeping the sizes as consistent as possible. Transfer to a medium bowl.

Slice the onions into eighths with each wedge ending with a little bit of the root base to hold all the layers together. Peel off the outer layer from each edge and discard. Add the onion wedges to the bowl. Gently toss the veggies in the bowl with a little olive oil to coat.

Brush both sides of the filets with olive oil and season with salt. Place one filet on each board. Distribute the veggies evenly on the boards. Add a clove of garlic, still in its husk, to each board. Add one sprig of rosemary near each steak (you’ll use the other sprigs later). Sprinkle salt over all the veggies.

Place the boards in the indirect cooking zone (the area without fire below) directly on the grill grate. Close the hood and roast for about 30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer registers 115°F inside the meat.

Turn the steaks over at the halfway point. Once they read 115°F, remove the steaks from the boards and put them in the direct zone above the fire. If you are using a gas grill, crank up the heat under the steaks. If you are using a charcoal grill, open up the air vents all the way.

Grill for about 2 minutes per side to get slight grill marks. Return the steaks to the boards and remove the boards from the grill. Remove and discard the exhausted rosemary sprigs. Replace with fresh ones for serving.

You can serve the mixed grills right on the planks. I suggest putting each plank on a platter if you can. Let the steaks rest for 5 minutes before digging in.

Note: You can purchase pre-packaged Alder planks at better food markets or cooking stores, but I find it more economical to go to a hardwood specialty store where you can buy furniture-grade hardwood. There, you can have the staff cut the species of wood you like to the sizes you like. You can also get the thicker boards like I recommend using here. The planks are reusable for at least a few cooking sessions. Simply wash them off after each use and be sure you keep them in the indirect cooking zone so they don’t catch on fire.