Parboil Vegetables for the Grill

by R.B. Quinn and Min Merrell
parboiled and grilled vegetables

Parboil vegetables (or nuke them) before grilling to keep the bright green bright.

Because R.B. is a grill guy who once wrote weekly column on outdoor cooking for our local newspaper, you can imagine the over-grilled dinners we have pretended to enjoy. We put everything on the grill in search of column material. Carcinogens anyone? No wonder our Fire Zone rebellion produced our indoor barbecue book, Cheater BBQ, with it’s “living the liquid smoke dream” theme.

Now we often parboil vegetables before putting them on the grill. Drop vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and cauliflower into a pot of salted boiling water until bright and crisp tender so that last minute cooking is really just reheating.

Don’t leave your post when finishing off the vegetables on the grill and test them for doneness after a few minutes. It all depends on the vegetable. It’s routine restaurant kitchen pre-prep that leaves only last minute warming and assembly (so, if a chef does it, it must be good, right?). 

Parboiling takes longer than blanching, but also preserves the vibrant color of green vegetables like Brussels sprouts and broccoli. We grill parboiled vegetables only for a last minute finish—to rewarm them and add a little char. They’ll be perfectly cooked and crisp tender.

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