Foil pouch vegetables are an easy way to make a side dish directly on the grill. The veggies steam inside the foil pouch, brown a little, and are done in about fifteen minutes, while you work on grilling the protien to a perfect medium-rare.
I got the idea from Let the Flames Begin by Chris Schlesinger and John (Doc) Willoughby. They called them Hobo Packs, and modeled them after the foil wrapped meals you would toss in a campfire.
*Now, back in Cub Scout camp, my hobo packs never worked. A pouch of potatoes, ground beef, and ketchup went into the campfire. What came out was burnt to carbon, except for a couple of lonely potato cubes in the middle of the pouch. They would be raw and crunchy. I ate a lot of baloney sandwiches that week.
Luckily, I learned the steam-saute basic technique before I read Let the Flames Begin. I saw past my Cub Scout charred potatoes to the possibilities. Any vegetable that works in a steam-saute will work in a foil pouch.
*And, I get in touch with my innner McGyver when I make cookware out of aluminum foil.
Schlesinger and Willoughby made elaborate hobo packs; yuca, corn, and tomatoes for example. I tend to make single vegetable pouches as a simple weeknight side dish. My favorite, by far, is green beans. Why? Because my wife loves green beans, and I want to keep her happy.
Recipe: Foil Pouch Grilled Green Beans
Adapted From: Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby Let the Flames Begin
- Grill (I use a Weber Summit. Here is the current version of my grill.)
- 2 (18-inch by 24-inch) pieces heavy duty aluminum foil
Foil pouch grilled green beans. You already have the grill fired up – why not cook some green beans while you’re out there?
- 1 pound beans, ends trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon water
- Wrap the Beans: Lay the pieces of foil on top of each other, and put the beans in the middle of the foil, in a pile roughly following the shape of the foil. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the beans, then drizzle with the olive oil and water. Bring the long sides of the foil together over the top of the beans. Fold the long sides over twice, then keep folding until you have a long envelope with the foil tight against the pile of beans. Fold the open ends of the envelope a few times to seal.
- Preheat the grill: Prepare the grill for cooking on medium heat, then clean with a grill brush. For my Weber summit, I preheat the grill with all burners on high for 15 minutes, then turn the burners down to medium and brush the grate clean.
- Cook the beans: Put the envelope of beans over direct medium heat, and cook with the lid closed for 8 minutes. Flip the bag of beans, and cook for another 8 minutes. Carefully open the bag and check the beans – a bean from the middle of the pile should be floppy, and cooked all the way through. If not, seal up the envelope and cook until the beans are tender.
- Serve the beans: Open one end of the foil envelope – be careful, the steam is hot – and pour the beans onto a platter. Serve.
- This technique will work with any semi-tender vegetable that you can steam in about fifteen minutes. I use it to make make foil pouch baby carrots, asparagus, and broccoli on a regular basis.
- Why two pieces of foil? I can probably get away with one, but I worry about poking a hole in the foil. If there is a hole, all the liquid drips into the grill. This makes a mess, but also doesn’t leave enough steam in the foil pouch for the beans to cook evenly.
- I get my aluminum foil from warehouse clubs or restaurant supply stores – a 500 food roll costs a lot less per foot than the 25 foot rolls they sell at the grocery store.
- The beans usually take longer than my main course when I’m grilling, so I try to get them on the grill first.
What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.
Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby Let the Flames Begin
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