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Thursday, September 16, 2021
Home Food How to Grill Vegetables

How to Grill Vegetables

On a gas grill, light the outside or front and rear burners and do your indirect grilling over the unlit burner or burners in the center.

On a kamado-style cooker, insert the heat diffuser plate — ceramic in most models, metal in some — to block direct exposure to the fire. The pellet grill set up is, by default, indirect.

Acorn, butternut and other dense squash

Cut in half (cut acorn widthwise; butternut lengthwise) and scoop out the seeds. Generously brush the cut sides with melted butter, season well and indirect grill at medium heat (350 degrees) until tender. Use a slender metal skewer to test for doneness. A drizzle of maple syrup or honey is always welcome. So is a stuffing made with sautéed shallots or leeks, raisins, nuts, and grated cheese.

Potatoes, yams and sweet potatoes

Scrub well and dry, then pierce in a few places with a fork. Brush the outside with oil, melted butter, or bacon or duck fat. Season generously and indirect grill at medium-high heat (400 degrees) until the skins are crisp and the centers soft and creamy (test with a skewer).

Carrots, parsnips and sunchokes

Scrub well (no need to peel) and dry, then place in a cast iron skillet or aluminum foil pan with butter or olive oil, or both; a half-dozen unpeeled garlic cloves or halved shallots; fresh herbs, if desired; and of course, salt and pepper, or your favorite barbecue rub. Indirect grill at 400 degrees until sizzling, browned and tender, stirring every 5 to 8 minutes, about 40 minutes in all. I call this technique pan-grilling, and the last five minutes or so, I like to move the pan directly over the heat to further brown and crisp the veggies. Note: You can grill carrots whole or cut into 2-inch pieces. (Cut other root vegetables into 1-inch chunks.)

Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kohlrabi and Romanesco

Cut brussels sprouts in half; cabbage, kohlrabi, and Romanesco in quarters, and indirect grill in cast iron or a foil pan as described above. Stir every 5 to 8 minutes so the pieces brown evenly. I like to think of whole cauliflower as the pork shoulder of the vegetable kingdom (e.g., a roast): parboil in salted water for 8 minutes, then drain, brush with butter or oil, and indirect grill directly on the grate until browned and tender.

Tomatoes and avocados

When indirect grilling, you can add hardwood chunks or chips (soak the latter in water for 30 minutes, then drain, to slow combustion) to the fire to produce a flavor indispensable to true barbecue: wood smoke. Smoking works particularly well for moist vegetables, such as tomatoes and avocados. Cut in half, season well, and indirect grill next to your wood-enhanced fire until the vegetable is lightly bronzed with smoke (8 to 12 minutes). Until you’ve experienced a smoked tomato gazpacho or smoked guacamole, you haven’t fully feasted.


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