How to Grill Asparagus

How to cook asparagus on the grill in foil or without. Plus food hacks for how to buy, store, and prepare asparagus to avoid food waste. Everything you need for asparagus season!

Mmm. Asparagus! Fresh, bright, earthy, and grassy, this veggie adds a touch of spring to any dish.

I believe that’s what makes grilled asparagus such a treat. That contradiction. A sunny and bright veggie that is now also smoky and charred. You can’t beat it.

California Asparagus harvest begins in February – supplies peak in March, April, and May – then taper off into June. U.S. asparagus is grown in California, Michigan and Washington.

How to Prepare Asparagus

You probably think you know how to prepare asparagus. If your answer is just snapping it by holding it from end to end, then you would be wrong. It wastes so much of the edible veggie.

The white woody end is the only piece you really need to remove from the asparagus. Instead of holding it end to end, hold it on both sides of that white woody end and snap it there. Far less is wasted!

My preferred method is to cut it. You can line up the asparagus such that the white ends are mostly aligned and just chop it from there. Considering America wastes 40% of the food grown here, doing what you can to waste less really helps.

Grilling Asparagus

One thing to consider about asparagus when cooking is the cook time. The thickness of the asparagus plays a big role in how long it takes to cook. Your biggest indicator is color. Asparagus will go from a rich dull olive green to a bright, vibrant green as it cooks and becomes more tender.

So keep that in mind. You might have to adjust along the way—also, thicker stalks take longer to grill than thinner ones.

On the Grill

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Toss asparagus with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  3. Lay asparagus stalks perpendicular to the bars.
  4. Leave the lid open.
  5. Grill asparagus until they begin to char, about 5 minutes, flipping halfway.

Wrapped in Foil

  1. Preheat the grill.
  2. Place asparagus on a large piece of aluminum foil.
  3. Toss asparagus with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
  4. Wrap foil tightly to fully cover asparagus.
  5. Place on the grill.
  6. Cook until fork-tender.

How to Buy Asparagus

Buy asparagus in season for the best flavor and the best price. Choose spears with tight, firm tips. The bottoms should be firm and not wilted. This is where asparagus loses moisture, so if the skin is not taught, it is not fresh. Thinner, firm stalks tend to have a better flavor.

How to Store Asparagus

Store asparagus just like cut flowers. Yes, you read that right. Trim off just a bit of the woody ends and store them in a jar with a couple inches of water. You may need to place a bag over the top depending on your fridge. Stored this way, asparagus can keep fresh for weeks.