Home-grilled Salt Plate Scallops

For Mother’s Day this year I asked my sweetheart if there was anything special that she would like for me to cook for her. I was of course secretly hoping it would involve meat and fire. Thankfully it did. She said she wanted some sea scallops. I was more than happy to oblige. I’ve done bacon-wrapped scallops for her before on my Traeger. But this time she asked if I could cook them without the bacon. That led me to think about how to infuse them with some additional delicious flavor. Many years ago I got a Himalayan salt plate as a gift from her. And I don’t use it very often – but I’ve been wanting to for a while now. So I suggested salt plate scallops. She was very agreeable – and thus my plan was set. However, knowing me, I wanted to do a couple different things at the same time. So I planned to grill half of the scallops on the salt plate, and the other half were targeted for straight-up grilling. She also requested some roasted brussel sprouts – man I love those things. So those went on my grilling menu as well.

The scallops were very easy to prepare. I first washed and patted all the scallops dry, Then I coated them with avocado oil. Lastly, the salt plate batch got a dusting of cracked black pepper, while the straight-up grilled scallops got a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Of course there was no need to add salt to the scallops that would be grilled on the salt plate, as the cooking surface itself would infuse plenty of savory goodness as they cooked. The most important part of cooking on a salt plate is to not crack it, typically caused by heating it up too quickly. I used my gas grill for the salt plate scallops so that I could use the wood fired heat from the Traeger to add smoky goodness to the non-salt plate batch of scallops, and to roast the brussel sprouts. So I put the salt plate on the gas grill at low heat for the first 10 minutes. Then I upped the temperature to medium for another 10 minutes. And then finally I took it took it to high for 15 minutes. At that point the salt plate was ready. Meanwhile the Traeger had been heating to high as well.

The brussel sprouts were easy to prepare as well – just a light coating of avocado oil and then some Celtic Sea Salt and cracked black pepper. They went on first to give them time to cook through. Half of the scallops went on the sizzling hot salt plate and the the other half went on the Traeger. The salt plate scallops went for about 4 minutes on the first side to make sure a good crust formed. Same time for the Traeger-grilled scallops. When I flipped the salt plate scallops, I added a pat of compound butter I had recently made to the top of each one. It melted into a pool of buttery deliciousness at the base, leaving the aromatic and delicious herbs sitting atop the scallops and infusing them with awesome flavor too. Both the salt plate and Traeger-grilled scallops also went about 4 minutes on the other side. At the end of the day, both the Traeger-grilled and the salt plate scallops tasted awesome. Not surprisingly, they had a very different flavor profile and a slightly different texture. The Traeger scallops definitely had a smokier flavor, even though they were only on the grill for maximum of 10 minutes. I loved the crust that formed on the salt plate scallops. It added a nice visual to them as well. All in all, I could not pick which ones I liked more. Though for the Traeger-grilled versions, next time I think I’ll go back to wrapping them in bacon. The bacon really does add a nice flavor. I know, you’re thinking – “duh, Dave!” Bacon does make everything better.

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