Grilling Asparagus

Grilling asparagus is fast, easy and delicious, requiring very little oil and just a sprinkle of salt to bring out the full flavor. Even people who dislike asparagus when it's been steamed often like it quite a bit when it's grilled.

Preparing Asparagus

Choose spears with tightly closed tips (if they're starting to look loose or flowery, this can mean that they're old and likely to be tough). Fat spears are no more likely to be tough than thin spears.

To prepare the asparagus for the grill, snap off the bottom of each stalk, and then lightly coat them with olive oil.

Frustration-Free Grilling

The trickiest part of grilling (a problem ignored by many recipes for grilled asparagus) is keeping the asparagus from falling through the openings in the grate. There are a couple of ways to avoid this. The easiest is to get a rack designed for grilling vegetables. Grocery stores often sell these next to the charcoal.

  Place the asparagus on the rack and it is ready to go onto a grill.


You can then set the whole rack on your grill. Grilling asparagus is easier with a rack designed for that purpose.

If you don't have one of these racks, there are two other simple options. One is to use foil. Tear off a piece of foil about twice as long as it is wide. Toss the asparagus with oil and any spices you'd like to add, and then lay it on the foil in a single layer. Fold the foil over the top, and crimp the edges. Lay the packet on the grill (to the side, not over the very center) and cook for about five minutes. You can even flip the packet (carefully) about halfway through grilling.

The other option is to use bamboo skewers. Take two bamboo skewers (the kind used to make shish kabobs), soak them in water, and thread them through the asparagus spears to make something that looks like an asparagus picket fence. Like the foil, this lets you grill the asparagus spears as a unit.

How Long and How Hot to Grill

You can grill over charcoal or on a gas grill.

On gas grills, set the heat to medium. On charcoal grills, set the asparagus away from the center. You'll want to grill for about five minutes.

If you'd like to grill asparagus in your oven, toss it with olive oil, put it on a lightly sprayed cookie sheet, and set it under the broiler for three to five minutes.

Regardless of where you're grilling your asparagus, if it's not wrapped in foil (so you can't see) be sure to keep an eye on it. You want it to be brownish and a little crispy when you're done, but not charred.

Season with salt and pepper. Some people like to marinate in oil and vinegar before grilling, or to put a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar inside the foil packet. Grilling asparagus has such great results you probably won't even need a sauce.


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