Perfectly grilled, lightly seasoned fresh asparagus during peak season is a thing of beauty, but for many, it’s also a limited-time-only preparation. So, take advantage of grilling season – become one with your grill and learn when to pull your spears. Scroll down for tips on mastering Grilled Asparagus.
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While I stand by my personal assessment that air fryer asparagus is the reigning champion of asparagus cooking methods, nothing will stop me from grilling spears in the summertime, maybe save the odd thunderstorm.
For most of us living in areas with four distinct seasons (sometimes more, like the dreaded second summer or second winter), we also rely on two unofficial seasons to bring us comfort and joy – sweater weather and grilling season. My favorite times of year are when grilling season days turn into sweater weather nights in the same 24 hour cycle.
Because we are subject to sometimes brutal, hourly changes in climate, we must revel in the diverse joys of our seasons when we can. Grilling is a culture. For some, it’s even a personality. And I’m absolutely not ashamed to admit that for a few months a year, I am one of those people.
The beauty of the air fryer is that I can use it any time I want. Tuesday evenings, Saturdays after midnight, at breakfast … whenever. Grilling, on the other hand, has rituals. It requires ideal conditions, preparation, time, accessories, beverages, seating, bug spray. And I, for one, love those rituals – almost as much as I love grilled veggies – so bring on the charcoal!
How to Grill Asparagus
Grilled asparagus is great for several reasons – it’s very easy to prep and cook, and it yields tons of flavor with minimal seasoning. But best of all, asparagus is one of the most “user-friendly” grill veggies. It’s size and shape allow for an even cook right on your grill grate.
- Heat a grill to medium high heat (about 400°F). Grill pan optional.
- Toss and coat asparagus spears with olive oil.
- Place the asparagus on the grill in an even layer – arrange perpendicular to the grates if you’re not using a grill tray.
- Grill with the lid closed until tender, turning once with tongs halfway through. See below for cook times.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
Chef’s Tips for Perfect Asparagus
- Select tightly packed, firm asparagus stalks with firm tips that have no signs of wilt or mush. Look for uniform size.
- Remove the woody ends by bending spears until they snap. Clean the edge by trimming with a chef’s knife (this is optional, but it looks nice).
- Coat the spears evenly with oil – for best results work the oil in with your hands.
- Close the lid while grilling – this will help the stalks both steam and slightly char, creating spears that are cooked through with great flavor and texture.
How Long to Grill Asparagus?
As with all cooking methods, it’s important not to overcook grilled asparagus. No one likes soggy spears!
Cook time is a bit subjective, but it’s also impacted by the size and thickness of the spears. Cook for a shorter amount of time if you prefer spears with a bit of a crunch, longer if you prefer them more tender.
- Grill thinner spears for 6-7 minutes, or until you can insert the tip of a paring knife into a stalk with just a bit of resistance and the tips are lightly charred.
- Grill thicker asparagus 8-9 minutes, again, until the stalks are tender and the tips are lightly charred.
When in doubt? Take a bit! You’ll know by taste when the spears are perfect.
Seasoning Grilled Asparagus
- A drizzle of balsamic vinegar or balsamic glaze
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice and/or zest and finely grated parmesan cheesed
- Toasted pine nuts and thinly shaved parmesan cheese
- Garlic, garlic, and more garlic. Add 1-2 tsp minced garlic or ½-1 tsp garlic powder when oiling. A bit of roasted garlic added just before serving (we loved jarred roasted garlic from DeLallo) is also delicious.
More Ways to Enjoy Asparagus
- Asparagus Frittata
- Lemon Garlic Asparagus
- Lemon Garlic Chicken and Asparagus Skillet
- Spring Vegetable Sorghum Salad
- Mostly Veggie Steak Stir Fry
- Lemon Orzo with Asparagus and Mushrooms
- and even more ways to cook asparagus!
Did you make this Grilled Asparagus? I’d love to know how it turned out! Leave a comment and a rating below.
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- Grill pan
- 1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp kosher salt, or to taste
- ½ tsp ground pepper, or to taste
- Heat a grill to medium-high heat (about 400°F). Place a grill pan on the grill if desired for easy clean-up.
- Combine the asparagus spears and olive oil in a casserole dish. Work the oil into the asparagus spears until well coated.
- Transfer the asparagus spears to the grill in an even layer. If placing directly onto the grill, position perpendicular to the grill grates. Close the lid and grill 6-7 minutes for thinner spears, or 8-9 minutes for thicker spears. Turn once with tongs halfway through.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
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