Wondering how to grill asparagus without cursing up a storm when your spears fall through the grill rack? It’s easy once you know this simple trick.
Here’s how to grill asparagus without some ending up charred and others ending up crunchy spears and still others slipping through the grill rack (and you getting in trouble for cursing up a storm). This easy approach relies on a reliable and simple technique of skewering several spears together into a raft of sorts, which makes it easier to flip the asparagus and to ensure all the spears are evenly cooked until slightly charred on the outside and tender-but-still-firm on the inside. Originally published June 21, 2016.–Renee Schettler Rossi
How to Grill Asparagus
- Quick Glance
- Quick Glance
- 10 M
- 20 M
- Serves 4 to 6
Special Equipment: About 12 skewers (metal or bamboo)
IngredientsEmail Grocery List
Grilled Asparagus With Sorrel Cream Variation
- Heat 1/2 cup (118 ml) heavy cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add 2 cups fresh sorrel leaves (available only for a short time during spring), thinly sliced into ribbons, along with 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and a few turns of black pepper. Let the sorrel leaves wilt in the sauce for about 2 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the grilled asparagus.
Recipe Testers Reviews
What a clever method! I couldn’t wait to try this. I grill asparagus all the time in the spring. I don’t usually have a problem with asparagus spears falling through the grates but I do sometimes have a problem with all the spears cooking evenly. This grilling method produces perfect, evenly cooked asparagus spears with just a bit of extra effort—and it's well worth it. Do make sure you use thick asparagus as suggested.
I did not try the sorrel sauce since I couldn’t find sorrel at the market, but a squeeze of lemon was a welcome hit of brightness with the smoky asparagus.
Being the recipe testing geek that I am, though, I wondered why you would blanch the asparagus first, was it really necessary? I’m all about eliminating extra steps if possible. So I tested the recipe both ways. The blanched spears were a brighter green, even after coming off the grill, and they were easier to “pin” together with the bamboo skewers. I can see why the blanching was recommended. The raw spears were a bit more difficult to “pin” together and weren't such a pretty green after coming off the grill. They pinned together easily enough on the bottom part of the stalks. But on the thinner upper part of the stalks, you run the risk of splitting the asparagus. So if you choose not to blanch your spears, make sure you pin them together farther down from the tips in order to avoid this pitfall. In comparing the two results, the raw asparagus gets my vote. I felt that it had a little more flavor, and I liked the texture better.
This was the fastest and easiest way I've ever grilled asparagus and it tasted delicious! No more fiddling around, trying to turn each piece on the grill tray and ending up with half of them burnt. This is definitely the way to go.
I used metal skewers and made 4 rafts of about 9 spears each. The blanch time of 1 minute was accurate and the grill time of 2 minutes per side resulted in slightly charred and cooked-but-still-firm asparagus. Just the way I like it!
This is a super-smart and super-easy way to grill asparagus. The preparation is simple and quick and the asparagus rafts are easy to handle on the grill.
My market was out of sorrel, but I read that spinach and lemon juice would be a reasonable substitute so I decided to experiment with that variation. I used 2 cups baby spinach leaves (3 ounces). I sliced the spinach leaves thinly and added about a tablespoon of lemon juice to the cream. The leaves took about 2 minutes to wilt in the cream. The sauce thickened very slightly and was a great addition to the grilled asparagus—there was a smoky flavor from the light char on the asparagus and a light citrusy flavor from the sauce. I don't think the spinach gave off as much acidity as the sorrel would have, but we think this sauce is a nice alternative to a Hollandaise as it's much lighter and with more subtle flavors.
I also want to give a tip about the skewers. While soaking them in the hot water just before assembling the rafts helps to prevent burning on the grill, I always soak my wood skewers soon after I purchase them, wrap them wet in plastic wrap and keep them in the freezer. Then I always have them on hand and ready for the grill.
I served the asparagus with grilled flank steak. It worked well because I already had the grill heated. The sauce also worked very nicely with the steak.
This is a simple recipe–more of a technique, really—for grilling asparagus. I used the first of the asparagus from my garden so only had about 1 1/2 pounds. This was enough to make 3 rafts of 5 spears each so that each of the 4 of us could have a little at dinner. I did like the ease with which I could turn the asparagus rafts on the grill and would consider this an excellent technique for when we entertain. The rafts are pretty cute for presentation.
Blanching was truly only a minute in and then out of the hot water. There was no need to soak the skewers as I have small metal ones and used those. The end result was asparagus that was tender and had that lovely grilled taste. We served these with grilled chicken and a tomato salad.