The next time you grill, don’t leave the vegetables behind. Yes, vegetables are grillable! What exactly makes them taste so good? The juices stay concentrated in the middle, while the outside becomes seared with smoky flavor. So why heat up the kitchen when you can do it all outdoors?
Building Better Kebabs
- Combine foods that cook in about the same amount of time. Or, if timing worries you, keep meats and vegetables on separate skewers.
- Cut foods in roughly equal sizes for even cooking.
- If you don’t have metal skewers, disposable bamboo will do fine, especially for quick-cooking foods like vegetables and thin strips of chicken, beef or pork. Soak bamboo in water for an hour before cooking to keep them from burning.
How Hot Is the Fire?
- Hot coals are barely covered with gray ash.
- Medium coals glow through a layer of gray ash.
- Low coals are covered with a thick layer of gray ash.
More Grill Advice
- Assemble everything ahead of time to avoid unnecessary trips back to the kitchen.
- Keep the grill clean; charred buildup encourages food to stick. Scrub rack with a wire brush between grilling and oil regularly.
- Use vegetable cooking sprays to coat the rack and help keep foods from sticking.
- Keep a spray bottle handy, filled with water, in case of flare-ups; aim where fat is dripping onto hot coals.
- Use the microwave as a time-saver. Precooking chicken parts or larger cuts of meats will cut down on grilling time without loss of flavor.
- Discard leftover marinades that have been in contact with raw meat, fish or poultry.
- Don’t put grilled meats back on the same plate that was used to carry raw product from house to grill.
Vegetable Grilling Guide
To keep vegetables from drying out and sticking to the grill, marinate or simply brush with a little olive oil before cooking. Start vegetables over medium-hot coals to sear their skins (turn every 1 to 2 minutes), then remove them to the side of the rack (over indirect heat) to finish cooking.
Use this chart as a general guide. The easiest way to tell if they’re cooked is to poke them with a skewer. If it goes in easily, the vegetables are done.
|Artichoke||Halve lengthwise; steam or boil until just tender||8 to 10 minutes|
|Asparagus||Trim tough end||6 to 8 minutes|
|Corn||Soak ears in water 20 to 30 minutes (leave in husks)||30 to 40 minutes|
|Eggplant||Slice 3/4 inch thick||8 to 10 minutes|
|Fennel (Anise)||Remove leaves; cut bulb into quarters||10 to 12 minutes|
|Leeks||Halve lengthwise; rinse well||10 to 12 minutes|
|Garlic||Wrap whole bulb in foil; place over indirect heat||30 to 40 minutes|
|Mushrooms||Leave whole||6 to 8 minutes|
|Onions||Peel; cut in halves or quarters, then skewer||15 to 20 minutes|
|Peppers||Cut in halves or quarters; seed||10 to 12 minutes|
|Potatoes (white, yams)||Slice 1/2 inch thick||15 to 20 minutes|
|Squash, summer||Halve lengthwise or slice 1 inch thick and skewer||8 to 10 minutes|
|Tomatoes||Skewer quarters and cherry tomatoes, slice plum
|3 to 5 minutes|