The trunk of a tree is made up of long tubular cells that go from the roots to the branches, carrying water and nutrients to all parts of the tree. The distinctive flavors of each wood species are contained in these cells. Cross cut grilling planks slice across these cells and the result is the slow releasing of the wood flavors passing through the cells into the food as it cooks on the grill or broils in the oven.
There are different flavors in one cross cut grilling plank:
Heartwood is in the center of the tree and captures an aged flavor.
Sapwood is between the center and inner-bark, is lighter in color and is sweeter than the wood flavor.
Inner-bark and outer-bark have the most natural flavor of the tree.
Combining all of the above is a cross cut grilling plank with natural bark that captures each tree's unique flavor by utilizing all of the tree's cells.
Cross cut grilling planks absorb liquid 20 times faster than traditional lumber cut grilling planks. Depending on the nature of the wood, either soft or hardwood, it will take between 20 minutes to 2½ hours to soak the planks in the liquid of your choice. For example: soak White Cedar planks in liquid for at least 20 minutes; for maximum absorbency, soak it for 1 hour. Sugar Maple planks can be soaked in liquid for at least 1 hour; for maximum absorbency, soak for 2½ hours.
As a recommended option, grilling planks can also be soaked in other water-based liquids: red wine, white wine, beer or apple cider depending on the recipe and kind of meat or fish you are cooking. The soaked liquid will add an additional essence and flavour of its own, as it steams into the entrée.