As an alternative to oven roasting, grilling brings out the natural sweetness in beets, as well as adding a smoky flavor that accentuates that of the beet. With a simple preparation, you can have beets on the grill in no time. The wait will be in the grilling, as it takes at least 60 minutes to roast beets to perfection.
Preparing Beets for the Grill
Proper preparation is important to get grilled beets cooked in a limited amount of time while your grill's fire remains hot. Wash beets thoroughly to remove all dirt and trim the ends off using a paring knife. Slice each beet in half and then slice each half into three smaller pieces. If you have particularly large beets, you may need to cut them even more than this to allow for quicker cooking on the grill. Aim for pieces no larger then 3 inches in any one direction.
Seasoning Beets for Grilling
Beets benefit from a good seasoning to lock in flavor before grilling. Toss the cut beets in olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. For more flavor, add other aromatics to the mix such as onions, garlic, shallots or citrus zest. Use a double-thick layer of aluminum foil to wrap the beets tightly, crimping all the edges to form a seal around them. Poke several vents on the top of the foil to allow steam to escape while grilling.
Place beets directly over the coals of a medium-sized fire. Cover the grill and roast the beets for 20 to 30 minutes. Flip the beets over and continue to roast for another 30 minutes or until tender. Test for doneness using a fork; once the fork easily pierces the beets, they are done cooking. If desired, remove the beets from the foil, re-oil them and cook them directly on the grill for a few minutes on each side to add char marks.
Using Roasted Beets
Eat roasted beets as a simple side to your meal or use them as the star of several meals later in the week. Slice them and add them to a green salad for a filling, yet simple meal. Mix them with feta cheese, walnuts and a light vinaigrette to create a healthy side dish. Slice the beets and add them with hummus to a pita for a hearty and healthy sandwich. Add roasted beets to dilly cucumbers for a sour, yet sweet cooling combination.