Advantages of Preparing Locally Grown Vegetables on Outdoor Grills

5 minute read | Grills

As home gardeners and local farms harvest ripe vegetables, everyday people and eateries have an opportunity to prepare them on outdoor grills.

The prevailing wisdom of farm-to-table veggies cooked on an open flame is that the process locks in fresh, natural flavors. It’s also important to note that produce from farmer’s markets and those from your backyard is typically picked during their peak ripeness. When you buy corn, tomatoes, eggplant, squash, and others at a supermarket, many of the items are plucked from the vine before they are ready to eat. When you serve farm- or garden-fresh veggies hot off stainless steel patio grills, the deliciousness can be out of this world.

Best Farm-to-Table Vegetables for Outdoor Grills

Family chefs have long known the difference between the taste of locally grown crops, and they jump at the opportunity to prepare them on natural gas or propane grills. In recent years, restaurant owners have taken notice and improved their menus by buying local produce and promoting farm-to-table meals. Fully ripe veggies have a signature taste that can be captured by grilling them. Cooking grease, butter, and steaming tends to release the sought-after taste. That’s largely because grilling sears the produce’s exterior while the temperature rises inside, resulting in mouth-watering veggies. These rank among the best veggies to cook on outdoor grills.

  • Asparagus: When prepared on outdoor grills, asparagus takes 4 to 6 minutes and appropriate turning. It can be seasoned directly on patio grills with salt, pepper, or a dash of garlic powder.
  • Bell Peppers: A Bell pepper usually takes 10 to 12 minutes on patio grills. When halved or quartered, grilling usually takes 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Carrots: The veggie best for your vision can be challenging to grill to perfection. It may be prudent to slice carrots and put them in tin foil with water. Place the closed tin foil pouch on the grill and let the carrots soften before moving them to the grates. Then sear them to create the caramelized smoky flavor guests desire.
  • Corn on the Cobb: Husked corn on the cobb usually takes about 15 to 20 minutes on liquid propane or natural gas grills. It will need to be periodically rolled to ensure it cooks evenly on all sides.
  • Eggplant: Cut eggplant into half-inch thicknesses and place on the grates of a barbecue grill for 5 to 7 minutes. Flip just once, and you’ll lock in the natural juices.
  • Mushroom: A good-sized Portobello mushroom takes upwards of 10 minutes on propane or natural gas grills. Smaller Portobellos, or other mushrooms, generally require 4 to 7 minutes on outdoor grills.
  • Onions: Although caramelized onions are delightful on burgers and steaks, direct grilling also has taste advantages. By slicing an onion into one-inch thicknesses and placing it on the grates for 8 to 10 minutes, your family or eatery guests will gain a new appreciation for onions.
  • Squash: After slicing squash into half-inch pieces, lengthwise, grilling takes approximately 4 to 6 minutes. It will need to be turned over during the process.
  • Sweet Potatoes: A grilling enthusiast can set aside the aluminum foil and infuse sweet potatoes with a smoky taste. Consider slicing your freshly pulled sweet potatoes into half-inch portions and slow-cooking them over a low to medium heat. If the lid remains closed, you can even leave them on the warming rack.
  • Zucchini: This garden favorite can be sliced into quarter-inch thicknesses and grilled for 10 to 15 minutes. It can serve as the centerpiece for a vegetable dish or a delectable side.

The idea of serving local or homegrown produce from the grill tantalizes the imagination and attracts friends, family members, and customers to the table. Experience has taught us that local veggies are far and away the best tasting. And when skillfully prepared on outdoor grills, the experience is second to none.

Tips For Preparing Veggies on Patio Grills

It’s important to keep in mind that maximizing the flavor of fresh vegetables requires appropriate thicknesses, timing, seasoning, and a high-quality propane or natural gas barbecue grill. It may be worthwhile to consider choosing a BBQ with a grill timer to ensure they are not inadvertently overcooked. That being said, these are veggie grilling tips to consider.

  • Size Matters: When cutting vegetables for the grill, try your level best to make them all the same thickness. When cooked on patio grills that evenly distribute heat, they will enjoy consistency.
  • Brush with Oil: A little oil can prevent veggies from clinging to grates. It also aids some menu options that require a little moisturizing to ensure successful seasoning adherence.
  • Seasoning: Applying oils and spices when grilling can result in a more robust flavor than marinades. The latter tends to break down the natural essence of local produce.
  • Close the Lid: Because veggies are seen as delicate grill items, chefs tend to grow anxious and check them frequently. This allows heat to escape and potentially throw off the timing. Grill timers and wristwatches are, perhaps, better ways to keep track of their progress.

The best natural gas and liquid propane grills offer zone heat distribution systems and warming racks. These assets allow eateries and backyard chefs to create direct and indirect cooking spaces within patio grills. In the event your veggies are not cooking equally, pivot those ahead of schedule onto grates with reduced heat or the warming rack. This acquired timing skill helps aficionados serve all the veggies on schedule and hot off the grill.

Best Natural Gas & Propane Grills for Veggies

The AEI liquid propane and natural gas grills continue to lead the industry in terms of quality, longevity, safety, and consistently even heat distribution. The company also provides consultations regarding its infrared patio heaters that allow property owners and restaurateurs to extend the season. Essentially, top-of-the-line heating systems complement cooking veggies on patio grills because everyday people can embrace the experience regardless of late-evening chills or cold weather months. These rank among the best AEI products to prepare veggies and expand outdoor patio grilling opportunities.

T-Series Patio Grills

The PGS T-Series grills, by AEI, provide flexible size and mounting options, along with excellent heat distribution. The T-30, for example, provides a modest 330 square inches of direct cooking space while generating 30,000 BTUs. It’s a slim model that can be cart- or pedestal-mounted to reduce its usable space footprint. The T-40 is a step up at 434 square inches and 40,000 BTUs. Like the T-30, there are two options for fuel, liquid propane or natural gas when fixed in place.

Some of the larger T-Series patio grills are installed into countertops or a prefabricated BBQ island. In many cases, they serve as the focal point of an outdoor kitchen when adding side burners and beverage centers. These stainless steel outdoor grills include the S27T, S36T, and S48T, which enjoy grill timers, lift assist handles, and optional warming racks, among other features. With direct grate space running from 540 to 960 square inches and BTUs that hit 90,000, they are ideal for intimate and large gatherings. Needless to say, the T-Series liquid propane and natural gas grills are ideal for preparing fresh vegetables and providing the highly sought after farm-to-table meals community members cherish.

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