Salmon Yakitori on Pineapple Planks with Salsa

We love wild Sockeye salmon for its intense flavors and deep orange-red color. Happily, with this Yakitori feast, Sockeye filets are just the right size for pineapple planks and the wonderful full flavor stands up well to the intense umami flavors of the Yakitori sauce. And the bright crisp tropical flavor of the pineapple is a perfect contrasting flavor sensation to the salmon and the intense Japanese sauce, causing a delicious tension in the taste. With the pineapple salsa piled on top, it’s a really delightful feast.

And this fun BBQ is a nice alternative to meat or fish seared directly on the flame, since the pineapple planks heat the salmon slowly and indirectly, and keep the fish tender and juicy. Sockeye has much less fat than either King or farmed Atlantic salmon, so this style of BBQ works well, since the filets will never dry out lying on the juicy bark of the pineapple. Our Salmon Yakitori recipe is a very tasty mashup of Japanese and Hawaiian classic feasts, and very easy to prepare.

This recipe will make more salsa than needed for just these four filets, but if you have 6 to 8 folks to feed, and are using 2 pineapples and 8 filets, it’s just right. The same applies to the amount made using our Yakitori sauce recipe below.

Yakitori Sauce


1 cup Tamari, soy or Dark Soy sauce

1/2 cup mirin

1/4 cup sake

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1 tablespoon corn starch

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 inch of fresh ginger, grated


Mix well and in a 10 inch sauce pan, heat until bubbling, then reduce the heat to low and allow to bubble gently for about 10 minutes until thickened and married.  Allow to cool.  

Ingredients for BBQ Salmon

1 pineapple, with the bark cut off in 4 large planks

4 filets of salmon

3/4 cup Yakitori sauce

1 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste

Ingredients for Pineapple Salsa 

1 pineapple’s interior flesh, minus the core, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 red or orange bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

1 small red onion, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

3 small tomatoes (we use Campari for the flavor and the dense flesh)

1 or 2 jalapeño or serrano peppers, finely chopped, to taste

1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro

1 juicy lime, squeezed 

1 inch fresh ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, crushes

1 tablespoon sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preparing the Planks

Place several  leaves of cilantro onto each pineapple bark plank.  Lightly salt the 4 filets and place one filet on each plank.  Trim the filets to fit.  

Using a fairly wide brush, apply a thick coat of the yakitori sauce on the tops side of the filets.  It’s at this stage that we make the salsa, allowing the salmon filets to marinate.

Cooking on the BBQ Grill

Using all the burners on high, heat the BBQ grill for at least 10 minutes so it’s quite hot.  Place all four pineapple planks over the hottest flames, close the cover and allow the searing pineapple to do its wonders, adding intense caramelized flavors and some smoke to the salmon. 

Check the filets at 5 minutes. 

It will take at least that long and possibly as much as 10 minutes for the salmon be fully cooked, with a beautiful toasty/smoky patina.

Enjoy this beautiful festive feast!