With summer in full swing, a lot of cooking happens on the grill. But that doesn’t mean just meat. Many vegetables are both easy and delicious when grilled. One such is the beet.
For many people, beets seem to fall into either the “love” or “hate” category. For me, I SUPER love (new category) beets (but not pickled, because I just don’t think you should do that to a perfectly good vegetable).
You’ve heard of sugar beets, right? They’re called that for a reason: Beets are naturally sweet, due to their high sugar content. But here’s the magic: sugar + heat = caramelization = scrumptious flavor produced by char grilling (think barbeque sauce, for example). That is the magic of grilled beets.
Finding a good sized beet for grilling
When I decided to grill beets, I purchased a small bunch – one medium and a couple smaller sized beets. They were delicious, but the smaller slices cooked very quickly. Too quickly. I walked away from the grill for a moment and bang! the smallest slices were toast. So I went to a different grocery store, hoping to find something “a little bigger.”
I think I succeeded!
The golden beet weighed 1 lb 3oz.
The red beet was a whopping 1 lb 14oz.
If you can only find (or prefer) smaller beets, and would like to grill them in foil, I have included directions for that method right after the recipe card below.
How to grill beets
Grilling beets is very easy. First, peel them.
Note: The red beet juice can be very messy and tends to stain, so I always wear gloves for this step. The golden beets don’t have this problem, which is probably why they’ve become so popular.
Once peeled, cut the beets into slices, about ¼ inch thick.
Grill the beet slices
Then brush each side of the slices with olive oil, and place on the hot grill. I like to cook these over medium heat on a closed grill for about 8 minutes per side. While cooking, give the slices a little squeeze with the grill tongs to check for “doneness”: either pierce with a knife or squeeze with your tongs. When cooked the slices will still be firm but “give” slightly when squeezed. As I remove the cooked slices, I put them on a plate and cover with foil to retain the heat allowing the pieces to cook through.
Now, with two ginormous sized beets like I had, it took up pretty much my entire grill surface. But with normal-sized beets there should be plenty of room for other yummies you will be making to go with those grilled beets.
Ready to serve
The two main ways I serve grilled beets is either as a simple side to go with other grilled food, or as part of a beet salad, which is delicious!
Give this a try. You can’t “beet” it!
- 1-2 lb beets
- 1 TB olive oil
- Peel beets and cut into ¼ inch slices.
- Brush both cut edges with olive oil.
- Heat grill to medium and place the beets directly on the grate. Close the grill and cook for 8 minutes, then flip the slices to cook the other side for another 8 minutes.
- Check for doneness and adjust times as needed.
Nutrition values are estimates only, using online calculators. Please verify using your own data.
How to grill beets in foil
Sometimes, grilling beets in foil is an easier approach. I like to use foil when I have smaller beets and would rather just cut them into small pieces. It’s too much work to keep track of a ton of little circles on the grill LOL. Instead, cut the beets up into equal sized pieces and wrap in foil.
I make the cooking “package” with two sheets of foil. Place the cut-up beets in the center of one sheet, then cover with the other sheet. Fold up the edges a couple times to make a very secure edge, all the way around. You want to be able to flip it without all your beets falling out!
Cooking times will vary some according to the size of your pieces. In general, I cook for at least 20 minutes on indirect heat for bite-sized pieces and up to 30 for wedges. Flip the foil package at least every 10 minutes to promote even heating.
I like to remove the foil packet and let it rest for ten minutes to cool slightly. This also lets the beets steam/finish cooking undisturbed.
Of course, you won’t get the grill marks/caramelization on the beets when using foil. It's more like you are making roasted beets on the grill. The only other disadvantage to this method is you can’t easily give a “squeeze” to test for doneness. However, after cooking on the grill and letting the beets steam a little, I typically have tender and delicious beet pieces, ready to eat. My backup plan? The microwave. 😀
More grilling ideas
While you've got the grill fired up, try some Sweet and Sour Pork Kabobs!
And to make your burgers a little more interesting, try a Juicy Lucy!
Plus, everyone should try Grilled Pizza. So good!