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How to: grilled vegetables

Bring amazing flavors to vegetables by grilling them over Kingsford® Charcoal.

Grilled vegetables not only taste great, but they make every grill look better. One of the highlights of any barbecue is a large, colorful platter of grilled vegetables. Here are some handy tips for grilling vegetables using Kingsford® Charcoal.

  1. The Key to Grilling Vegetables

    The key to cooking most vegetables on the grill is to lightly coat them in vegetable or olive oil. It prevents them from sticking on the grill and drying out, enhances grill marks, and allows seasonings to adhere better. Unless otherwise noted below, coat all vegetables in oil before grilling and season with salt and pepper. When the coals are ready, clean, preheat, and oil your grill grates. Grill the vegetables directly over the coals on a medium-hot [two-zone fire], moving the cooked vegetables to the cooler side of the grill as the others finish.

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    Corn

    In the husk or out? Everyone has an opinion on this popular grill favorite. Both work, but removing the husks and silk is the way to get grill marks, caramelization and smoky flavor — all the things you love about grilled food, right on the cob. Set up a medium hot two-zone fire. Remove the husks and silk from the corn, brush the corn with vegetable oil, season as you like and place it directly over the coals, turning often to cook it evenly and prevent burning (about 10 to 13 minutes total).

    Grilling the corn in the husk provides more of a steam cooking. Learn how, here.

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    Artichokes

    Slice off the artichoke top (about ¾ of an inch) and steam in a pot until tender but not overly soft. Then, using a large knife, slice it in half from top to bottom, place it over the coals, and grill until the inner side of the leaves are tender and the outer part of the artichoke is lightly charred.

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    Eggplant, Onions, Squash, Bell Peppers, and Zucchini

    The easiest way to grill rounded vegetables such as onions and eggplants is to slice them into ¼- to ½-inch disks to increase the surface area (for elongated vegetables such as squash, bell peppers, and zucchini, slice them lengthwise). Turn two or three times while grilling, and remove when tender and lightly charred.

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    Mushrooms

    The most common method of grilling small mushrooms is to skewer them or place them in a grilling basket. Large mushrooms such as Portobello mushrooms can be grilled directly on the grate. Remove the stem, place the cap over the coals, and flip it two or three times until tender and charred—about five minutes for smaller caps and eight minutes for very large ones.

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    Asparagus

    First, trim the woody bottoms from the stalks. Place the stalks directly on the grill (perpendicular to the grate) and cook until just tender but not mushy. Asparagus cooks quicker than most other grilled vegetables, so be sure not to overcook them.

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    Tomatoes

    Small tomatoes such as cherry tomatoes are best grilled on a skewer. For larger tomatoes, trim the ends off, slice the tomato in half, and grill with the flat side down. Grill tomatoes briefly so they don’t get too soft.

Since grilled vegetables taste great at room temperature, you can cook them first and set them aside until you’re ready to serve the entire meal.
Woods infused with fruit flavors such as cherry, peach, apple, pear, and pecan are best for adding smoke flavor to grilled vegetables. Avoid strong-flavored woods such as hickory or mesquite.
The key to getting good grill marks is to not move the oiled vegetables too frequently once they've been placed on the grate.

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