I have tried to grill asparagus many times over the grill, but the skinny stalks keep falling through the grates, and I lose them.
After some research, I discovered the famous bbq chef – pitmaster Aaron Franklin's tips on foil grilling, and it has been a game-changer.
Summary of the Key Findings
- Grilling asparagus in foil requires little effort but gives you extreme results.
- Once you clean the stalks, lay them on a piece of foil, add a little seasoning of choice, some butter, and other veggies if you desire.
- Seal the foil closed and place it on the grill for 15 minutes.
Let's discuss a few primary pointers for grilling asparagus in foil which include; how to prepare the asparagus, season the stalks, pack and seal the foil.
Additionally and importantly, where to place the foil packet on the grill and how long the grill time should be.
Preparing The Asparagus Stalks For Foil Grilling
The first most essential thing to mention is that you should be using fresh asparagus and not the canned kind.
Wash and drain your asparagus stalks well. Cut about 1½-2inches off the ends of the stalks because those are hard to chew parts of asparagus .
You want to make sure you drain your stalks well and, if needed, dry them over a clean tea towel or paper towel so they don't release too much water when grilling and become soggy.
Seasoning Asparagus For Foil Grilling
You want to make sure to drizzle your asparagus with olive oil and season it with some salt and freshly ground black pepper.
You can use other seasonings of choice, such as chili flakes, garlic salt, garlic powder, a pinch of cumin, and any other spices that you like for asparagus.
You can also add some crushed garlic or garlic paste with dried herbs and some squeezed lemon juice if you enjoy that.
It would be best to add seasonings to your asparagus before grilling, so it cooks through and absorbs the flavor.
You can do it afterward, but the taste will not be as potent, and the stalks will not absorb the spices creating a blended flavor.
How To Pack Asparagus In Foil For Grilling?
You can pack your asparagus in the foil before or after you season them, but it is best to do in a separate dish and then move it into the foil, ensuring you get an even coating and in case of any excess oil and spices,
You want to avoid excess oil because the asparagus will end up too crispy or burnt and because they are so thin, you don't need many spices either, or they will take away from the natural taste you want asparagus.
These mistakes often happen when seasoning directly in the foil, spoiling the crunchy, tender asparagus taste.
Lay the asparagus out as evenly as possible when packing them onto the foil. You want to avoid letting them overlap each other, but if they do, it shouldn't be more than two stacked together.
Giving them the space allows more even cooking and prevents the stalks at the bottom from getting done with the top ones still raw.
Fold the end of the foil together and seal them tight to prevent airflow.
That will help trap the steam when grilling, allowing even cooking, more flavor absorption, and it will avoid your skinny green stalks from falling through the grill .
Where On The Grill Should You Place Asparagus Foil Packets?
When the grill is well heated up, you can place your asparagus packets on the hot part of the grill.
The foil helps prevent the asparagus from burning, but the high temperature helps get the stalks to correct texture – tender with a bite.
If you place the packs on lower heat, you will find your stalks getting soggy and sometimes take extra long to get done.
How Long Should Your Grill Asparagus Foil Packets?
While it takes only 2-4 minutes to grill asparagus directly on an open grill, cooking in foil packets takes about 10-15 minutes.
In addition, it would depend on the thickness of the stalks.
Thin asparagus stalks may take only 10 minutes, while thicker ones can take 15-17 minutes before they turn tender.
You can carefully open the foil packet with a tong and heat-protective gloves to check your asparagus stalks after 10 minutes. If they are ready, remove them and serve.
If they are not tender enough, seal the foil and put them back on the grill for a few more minutes.
How To Grill Asparagus Foil Packets In The Oven?
Oven grilling asparagus in foil is almost the same as doing it on an outdoor grill or bbq.
You follow all the same steps of prepping, seasoning, and packing the asparagus into the foil.
You can preheat the oven to 350-400°F and add your asparagus foil packs to the middle rack. If you want to imitate the effect of open grilling, use the broiler setting in the oven.
Remember to turn your foil packets once in between and let them cook for a total of 15 minutes.
How To Grill Asparagus In Foil With Other Vegetables?
If you want to add other veggies to your foil packet with asparagus, you most certainly can do that.
Chop up your veggies and season them as you typically would, then place them in the foil on top of the asparagus stalks and seal the foil closed.
Grill your asparagus and veg foil packs for 1-20 mins on the hot grill till the vegetables are tender.
How To Grill Asparagus In Foil With Protein?
You can practically grill anything you want in foil. Emeril Lagasse, the famous American chef, talks about adding your proteins to foil packets with herbs and other spices and tossing them on the grill for the flavors to mingle and absorb into each other .
If you would like to grill meat or chicken with your asparagus in foil, you need to make sure your protein is cut into small enough sizes to cook through in the same timeframe as asparagus.
If your meat is too thick or your chicken pieces are too large, you will end up with overcooked asparagus or undercooked protein.
Every other step would remain the same. Ensure you season your protein well and add blobs of butter. Place the meat or chicken onto the asparagus stalks and seal the foil tight to trap the steam when grilling.
There's no more reason to keep losing your asparagus stalks to the fire as they fall through the grill rack.
Now you can follow the above techniques to grill your asparagus in foil and enjoy cooked, juicy, tender, yet crunchy grilled asparagus.