Thursday, April 18, 2013

How to Grill Beets

Did you know you can grill beets?

More importantly, did you know that grilled beets are marvelously tasty?

Even more so than oven-roasting -- which brings out a deep, earthy mellowness in beets -- cooking beets on a grill enhances their natural sweetness and imparts a subtle, gentle smokiness while completely taming any hint of bitterness (not an issue if you're cooking small, young beets) and rendering them melt-in-your-mouth tender.

Beets, along with many other root vegetables, are often overlooked at the grocery store -- which is a shame because they are highly nutritious, inexpensive, surprisingly versatile and downright delicious when you know how to cook them.

When shopping for beets, select small, firm ones without blemishes or mushy spots. If you find beets with their green tops still attached, select ones that aren't wilted or yellowed and save the greens for other recipes (you can cook them like kale, chard, collards, spinach or other greens, and I have several recipes on this blog for beet greens).

Thoroughly scrub the beets under running water to remove any dirt and trim off the ends as well as any little hairy roots. I like to cook beets unpeeled and then either slip off the skin when cool enough to handle, or eat them unpeeled. Depending on how you're preparing the beets, you may want to peel them prior to cooking.

For grilled beets, I dry them with paper towels after washing, leave them unpeeled and cut into quarters, and then again if the beets are larger. The key is for the beet chunks to be relatively similar in size so that they'll cook evenly.

Place the beet chunks in a large bowl or resealable plastic bag, drizzle with olive oil and generously season with Kosher or sea salt plus freshly ground black pepper to taste (I like using a coarse grind). Use a spatula to toss the beets in the bowl until evenly coated with oil and seasonings -- if using a plastic bag, seal the bag and shake until the beets are evenly coated.

Tear a piece of heavy-duty aluminum foil that's large enough to hold the beets in a single layer in the center, and fold the edges up to make a "tray."  Transfer the beets onto this "tray" and carefully place on your grill over indirect, medium-hot coals.  Cover and cook until fork-tender and lightly browned, about 30 to 45 minutes, turning the beets a couple of times to ensure even cooking on all sides.

That's it!

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

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