Why It Pays To Grill Vegetables With The Lid Off

There is something truly wonderful about grilling vegetables. The flavor that a grill curates — whether it's a gas grill or a charcoal grill — is nearly impossible to replicate inside. A bit of a smoky flavor, particularly from charcoal or wood chips, can make veggies really special. But when grilling them, it's important to know a few pro tips so that they will come out perfectly.

First, it's important for the vegetables to come into contact with some kind of fat. Bon Appétit notes that it can be in your best interest to oil the grates of the grill and not the vegetables themselves. Their philosophy is this will keep the veggies from taking on a rancid flavor from overcooked oils, ghee, or grease. With that said, you need some kind of fat on the veggies so your seasoning will stick, so err on the side of a very light coating and choose a fat that can stand up to high heat. Next up, it's important to season vegetables before they hit the grill. While they are hot, they will be more porous and will absorb more of the flavor from your seasoning. 

In addition, it's important to leave the lid of your grill open.

You don't want to over smoke your veggies

While a bit of smokey flavor is a nice touch when grilling veggies, too much of a good thing is still too much. The Spruce Eats notes that even the highest quality grill can impart a bit too much smokey flavor to your corn, zucchini, portobello caps, or peppers. Keeping the lid open eliminates the possibility of over-smoking the veggies, but enables them to still get a touch of the smoke.

Food & Wine notes that if you are grilling larger vegetables like a cauliflower steak, you might want to keep the lid closed for a time to help create more heat. This will permeate the vegetables faster and cook them through. With smaller or more delicate veggies like asparagus, tomatoes or peppers, an open grill is just fine and will save them from becoming too smokey. 

Next time you're grilling vegetables for a side dish or the main event, you'll have all the information you need to grill them to perfection.