Grilled Beets



I have a confession to make: I fear beets. It is one of the few food phobias I have.* Whenever I think of beets, I think of the color and smell of canned beets. That horrifying, blood red color, and that tinny, sweet, off smell. Eyuck.
*That, and tripe. I tried to be tough and ordered a bowl of menudo at a local mexican diner. Boy, was that a mistake.

My problem is that Diane (aka Mrs. DadWhoCooksDinner) loves beets. Just loves them. When we'd go to the farmer's market, the beets would sit there, in their bunches, looking colorful and innocent.  Diane would insist on getting some, and then it would be up to me to cook them.
*This is one of the few downsides to being a Dad who Cooks Dinner. Sometimes you just have to buck up. Luckily, nobody I love wants me to cook tripe.
**OK, I confess. First I tried to distract her with brussel sprouts, her food phobia. She would not be denied.

After a few rounds of this, I learned to roast beets. If you roast them, the result is a nutty-sweet vegetable that I...I...I kind of like. There, I said it.

Recipe: Grilled Beets

Cook time: 60 minutes

Equipment:
  • Grill (I used a Weber Summit 650. Here it is.)
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
Ingredients:
  • 6 medium beets (between the size of a baseball and a golf ball)
  • Sprig of thyme (optional - you can substitute any fresh herbs you have on hand)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper

Directions:
1. Prepare the Beets: Scrub the beets, then trim the root and stem ends. Leave the skin on - we'll peel it off later. In groups of 3, put them on a sheet of aluminum foil, then drizzle with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with some salt and pepper.  Add the thyme sprig, then fold the foil over and crimp the edges to tightly cover the beets.

2. Prepare the grill: Set your grill up for indirect cooking at medium to high heat. For my Weber Summit, this means turning the two outer burners (burners 1 and 6) to high, and leaving the middle burners unlit.

3. Cook the Beets: Put the foil wrapped beets over the unlit burners (indirect heat) and cook with the lid closed for 45 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the thickness of your beets. They're done when they can be pierced easily with a skewer.
*I use the pointy end of my probe thermometer for this, and I poke right through the foil into one of the beets. I don't check the temperature, though. I'm checking that there's no resistance when I poke the beet.
Cooked and ready to peel


4. Clean and Serve the Beets: Remove the foil pouch from the grill, and let it rest for 5-10 minutes to cool down. Open up the foil, and peel the skin off of the beets using paper towels. Cut the beets into halves or quarters, depending on their size. Put the beets in a serving bowl, sprinkle them with a little more salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil.
Peeled and ready to slice


Variations:
*Blue Cheese: Beets and blue cheese are a classic combination - crumble some blue cheese over the top of the beets just before serving.

*Goat Cheese: See blue cheese, above. Another classic combination.

Notes:
*Beet juice stains everything it comes into contact with.  For easier cleanup, I use a cutting board that can go in the dishwasher when I trim the stem and root ends.  This is why I don't peel them until after they're cooked; not only is it easier to peel them (the skin just slips off), but you don't make as much of a mess.
Even so, I try to peel them over the sink, and put them directly into their serving bowl.

*This is another recipe that is almost impossible to overcook. If you do manage to burn the outside, just peel the burnt part off with the skin.

*If you're beet phobic like I am, try the orange or yellow beets. I'm not sure why, but they don't bother me as much. I think that deep purplish-red color reminds me too much of beets from the can, and starts to set me off.

Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:
Grilled Asparagus
Grilled Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Grill Roasted Fennel

Inspired by:
The picture of striped choggia beets in Five Ways to Eat Beets [thekitchn.com]

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12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Mike,
This is timely! I have a few huge beets that I needed to cook. Like Diane, I LOVE Beets!

I am going to use the oven instead of a grill. What temp and time should I use?

rhonda :)

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@rhonda
I'd cook them at 400*F for the same length of time - 45 minutes to an hour, until they can be pierced easily with a skewer or paring knife.

If you're cooking them with something else, use the temperature for that item. You can go as low as 325*F, and as high as 500*F; just adjust your cooking time with the temperature.

As I said in the notes, beets are hard to overcook, so always err on the side of cooking them a little longer.

Good luck!

MikeV

Peahioi said...

"Sweet foil pouch"???

'Thickness of your sweet potato'???

Did I miss something here???


Dave from the Left Coast

MikeV @ DadCooksDinner said...

@Peahioi:

No, I missed something. A couple somethings. I copied the basic directions from my grilled sweet potato recipe, and, well, cut and paste will be the death of me.

Thank you for letting me know, and check the recipe now...

Shawn said...

The beets were delicious (despite the fact that I didn't cooking them long enough)! They were on the grill for 60 minutes but they definitely needed more time. As I transferred from the grill to the oven, one foil pouch broke open and beet juice went everywhere. The kitchen looked like a crime scene. I'm a little embarrassed to ask this but am I supposed to close the vent on the top of my Weber Kettle grill while I'm cooking? I've always left the vent open but I fear too much heat escapes? What is your standard charcoal grill vent procedure?

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Yes, keep the vent open! You'll smother the coals if you don't.

As for the beets...yes, the take a long time to cook. I try to get smaller beets to keep the cooking time down. I go by "can I pierce them with a knife" more than the cooking time.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

No, I haven't used the PC with beets. Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a try.

Julie in Colorado said...

Mike - love your site, lots of great ideas here. Have you tried cooking the beets in the pressure cooker? about 10 - 15 minutes 15psi and quick release to check doneness. Like your wife, we love beets in our family and cook them every week when in season. I'll try the grill method, but i'm pretty impatient! ;)

vlizzle said...

You lost me at your over $2,000 grill - must be nice

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Oh yes, it is. But a $79 charcoal kettle can cook just as well, if you know what you're doing.

Melissa said...

Try slicing them into coins and then grilling. It cuts down on the time and tastes just as great.

Mike V @ DadCooksDinner said...

Thanks for the tip!

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