If you’re gonna make your pee smell, you might as well do it outside, enjoying the warm weather that comes with spring, at the grill. In all seriousness though, this is something I’ve been doing a TON lately. And I stumbled upon it through J. Kenji López-Alt. I’ve talked about this dude before. He has a phenomenal book out, as well as many culinary writings in print and online. He has a very scientific approach to cooking. Through trial and error he finds the most efficient AND tasty ways to prepare foods. Culinary experiments.
So it was only natural that when I had some asparagus, I consulted him – via the internet. I’d first heard of this thing he does called “Micro-Steamed Asparagus.” Just a really fancy way of saying, “I made this asparagus in the microwave and it’s better than any other method for getting perfectly al dente greens.” I was intrigued. For the record, I am neither pro nor against microwaving things. I rarely use the microwave, but that’s only because I find it takes the joy out of “doing it the old fashioned way.” And I’ve had my share of watery asparagus. PLUS, done in 3 minutes? I’m listening.
But I got on his article, All About Asparagus, and realized I had a problem. My asparagus, the FAT kind, was not conducive to steaming. Fat asparagus is apparently best for high heat cooking, because the stalks are more tender (/have more water) than their thinner counterparts. Grilling ensures that you can get a caramelized exterior AND an al dente cook inside. No watery asparagus!! Because your pee’s gonna smell, so you might as well enjoy the process – i.e. eating the asparagus.
This method is GREAT to try in the coming months. The asparagus cooks in the time it’ll take you to rest meat, should you so choose to eat meat. I’d suggest serving it with some cast iron chicken thighs, or a steak the size of your head. And maybe a cold salad or some cole slaw.
Okay, here’s what it’s gonna take to make the asparagus.
- A gas grill (coal burning could work too, I am just not familiar with that)
- A bunch of FAT ASS asparagus
- Coarse grain sea salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- Olive oil or avocado oil
- Cut your asparagus stalks at the very end, just where the woody ends get soft and smooth. You could snap them, but after reading that asparagus article I will only cut from here on out. You want about even length stalks. Discard the woody ends.
- Throw the prepped asparagus in a colander and rinse with cold water.
- Fire up your grill and get it hot AF (~550 F).
- Take a towel and lightly dry your asparagus stalks. Throw them on a baking sheet. You don’t want them to be extra watery going in because that will promote steaming. We want char here folks.
- Drizzle 2 tablespoons of either olive oil or avocado oil. Take about 2-3 teaspoons of coarse grain sea salt and sprinkle over as well. Shake the s*** out of the pan (alternatively, you can rub all the asparagus together with your hands). You want the oil and salt to be evenly distributed. You can also crack some black pepper over them now if that’s what you’re into. I don’t think it needs it, but I do it sometimes.
- Throw only the asparagus on the top rack of your grill. READ THIS: you’re NOT using the sheet pan on the grill! That’s just for transportation. You should space out all the asparagus stalks on the grill ALONE.
- Close and grill for 5 minutes. Open, flip the stalks, close, and cook for another minute.
- Pull the asparagus off the grill and throw them back onto your baking sheet.
- Shake again, serve immediately.