Beets are fantastic grilled. Like most root vegetables, beets are high in sugar, which melts and caramelizes on the grill and creates complex flavors. We like to grill these roots whole via indirect heat and then slice them, fan out the slices, and drizzle on a sauce. Lightly sweetened, honey-scented butter is just the ticket here.
Soak wood chips: 1 hour
Prep: 5 minutes (plus 5 minutes for glaze)
Grill: 40 to 50 minutes.
BBQ TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT
– 2 cups wood chips or chunks (apple, pear, or oak)
– Smoker box or foil packet, if using a gas grill (see page 39)
– Long-handled tongs.
– Buy beets with the leaves attached for the best flavor. Remove the leaves for this recipe. But don’t throw them out! Cut the stems and leaves into 2-inch lengths and sauté them with some garlic, ginger, soy sauce, and a bit of sesame oil for a delicious side dish to an Asian meal.
Indirect heat, medium-high (350° to 400°F)
3- or 4-burner grill-middle burner(s) off
2-burner grill – 1 side off
Clean, oiled grate
Indirect heat, medium ash
Split charcoal bed (about 2 dozen coals per side)
Clean, oiled grate on medium setting.
INGREDIENTS (MAKES 4 SERVINGS)
4 large beets, without leaves (about 1 pound), scrubbed
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ cup Orange Honey-Butter Glaze
1 scallion, thinly sliced.
1. Heat the grill as directed. Soak the wood chips or chunks in water for 1 hour.
2. Prick the scrubbed beets all over with a fork. Rub with the oil, then sprinkle the salt and pepper all over them.
3. When the grill is hot, put the soaked wood chips or chunks over the coals on both sides of the grill. If using gas, put the wood in a smoker box or in a perforated foil packet directly over one of the heated burners.
4. Put the beets over the unheated part of the grill, cover, and cook until tender, 40 to 50 minutes. A skewer should slide in and out of the centers very easily. If your grill has a temperature gauge, it should stay at around 350°F.
5. Let cool for a few minutes, then slice the beets crosswise and fan out the slices on plates or a platter. If you prefer, remove the peels before slicing, but it’s a messy proposition. Plus, the peel should be tender enough to eat, and that’s where the seasonings were sprinkled, so you’ll lose some flavor if you remove it. That’s three good reasons not to peel them.
6. Melt the glaze in a microwave oven or in a small saucepan over low heat for 10 to 20 seconds. Drizzle over the beets, then sprinkle with the scallions and serve.