How to Grill Asparagus for the Best 7-Minute Side Dish Ever

Grill asparagus for a pretty (and tasty) side dish that needs just four ingredients, a grill, and a wee bit of know-how.

Asparagus is often a premium side dish at high-end restaurants. Surprisingly, it's also one of the easiest vegetables to make at home. You can roast, steam, or even simmer asparagus, but during patio season, it's hard to beat cooking asparagus on the grill. From there, you can simply serve it hot off the grill, dress it up with a few easy embellishments, cool it for a summery salad, or even stir it into a great Grilled Asparagus Soup. Or fry up some eggs, and grilled asparagus can even become an entrée. We'll show you exactly how and how long to grill asparagus.

Grilled Asparagus with Parmesan Curls
Blaine Moats

The Best Way to Grill Asparagus? You’ve Got Options!

Should you barbecue asparagus in foil, wrap it in bacon, put it in a grill basket, or simply place it directly on the grill rack? Any of these methods will work great! We'll show you how to grill asparagus using the method you prefer.

Before you get started, thoroughly wash and trim the asparagus. Then cook according to one of the methods below.

Test Kitchen Tip: Any time you cook asparagus, try to use spears that are uniform in diameter to ensure all are done at the same time.

How to Cook Asparagus on the Grill

After washing and trimming the asparagus, simply follow these steps:

  • Generously brush the stalks with olive oil or melted butter or margarine. This keeps the spears from sticking.
  • If grilling asparagus on a charcoal grill ($275, The Home Depot), place the spears directly on the grill rack over medium coals, perpendicular to the wires on the rack.
  • If grilling asparagus on a gas grill preheat the grill. Reduce heat to medium and place asparagus directly over the heat, perpendicular to the wires on the rack.
  • Grill the asparagus, uncovered, 7 to 10 minutes or until crisp-tender, rolling asparagus occasionally to ensure even cooking.
  • If desired, scatter some shredded or shaved Parmesan over the asparagus before serving.

Test Kitchen Tip: If you like, you can place the asparagus in a grill basket ($80, Williams Sonoma) so there's no chance of spears falling through the grates; grill as directed above.

Folding ends of foil pack on a light wooden surface
Blaine Moats

How to Grill Asparagus in Foil

Making grilled asparagus in foil (aka Hobo Packs) makes cleanup easy. Here's how to grill asparagus on the grill in foil:

  • Wash and trim the asparagus. Pat dry.
  • Place asparagus spears on a sheet of heavy-duty foil; drizzle with olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and, if desired, other spices or herbs (dill and/or mint are excellent).
  • Fold foil around asparagus to enclose.
  • Place on the grill and cook until crisp-tender, 10 to 15 minutes total, flipping after 5 minutes. Long-handled grilling tongs ($18, Bed Bath & Beyond) are especially handy for flipping the packs. Note: Open the packets very carefully, as they will release hot steam.

How to Grill Asparagus Wrapped in Bacon

Enhance the smoky flavor of grilled asparagus by wrapping it in bacon. Follow these steps for bacon-wrapped asparagus grilled to perfection:

  • Wash and trim 12 ounces of fresh asparagus.
  • On a plate, arrange 12 bacon slices between four sheets of paper towels. Microwave 1½ to 2 minutes or until partially cooked but not brown; cool.
  • Divide asparagus into six portions. Wrap two slices of bacon around each portion and secure with toothpicks.
  • Grill asparagus bundles, covered, on a greased rack over medium 8 to 10 minutes or until bacon is crisp and asparagus is crisp-tender, turning frequently to avoid burning.

Cooking asparagus on the grill is just so easy! So now that you've learned how to make asparagus on the grill, why not learn how to grill other vegetables popping up at the market or in your garden? Just about anything under the sun tastes great when grilled over the coals. And when it's not good grilling weather, there are plenty of other cooking methods for asparagus that don't require a grill.

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