How Not to Burn Veggies on the Grill?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “How Not to Burn Veggies on the Grill?” and will discuss at which temperature different veggies should be cooked?

How Not to Burn Veggies on the Grill?

To not burn the veggies on the grill, avoid using too much oil or salt to prevent them from burning. Cooking with excessive salt causes the veggies to dry out and burn quicker because it draws moisture out of them and adds moisture back in via dripping oil. A good rule of thumb is to cook for 6-8 minutes over medium heat, rotating once.

While fruits and vegetables may not have to reach a safe minimum internal temperature the same way meat, poultry, and seafood do, different fruits and vegetables will have different cooking times. Thicker cut fruits and vegetables, and denser vegetables (such as potatoes), will take longer to cook. Because of the high heat of the grill, this can result in a thoroughly cooked outside but an uncooked inside of the fruit or vegetable. For more even cooking, cut fruits and vegetables into smaller pieces and use a medium to low grill temperature. For thinner sliced fruits and vegetables, turn them often and pay attention to when they may be done so you don’t end up with burnt fruits and veggies (1).

According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque Association, 75% of households in the United States own a grill or smoker. Sixty and 53% of households own a gas grill or two percent charcoal grill, respectively. Ten percent of the consumers that own a grill or a smoker have an outdoor kitchen consisting of a quality grill and premium furniture and lighting. Respondents of the survey often grilled at their primary residence or at a friends ’ or relatives’ home. Although more grilling is done in the summer months, 63% of consumers stated that they are using their grill year round (2).

What kind of oil should you use while grilling veggies?

The heat you generate while cooking over coals, wood, or propane gas is very intense. However, 1 kg of propane generates 46 MJ of energy, while 29 MJ is generated by 1 kg of charcoal and 16 MJ is obtained by the burning of wood (6). The extra virgin olive oil that so many of us like is not always the greatest option for cooking with high heat.

Why? Only 350°F375° is the smoke point of extra virgin olive oil (i.e., the burning point). For example, a standard propane grill has an output of more than 450 BTU per hour, and a wood or charcoal grill may produce an even greater temperature.  Food cooked on the stove top rarely exceeds 350°F. However, this temperature can be exceeded with other cooking techniques such as baking, grilling, and frying (3).

Compared to canola oil, which has a smoke point of 400°F468°, corn, palm and soybean oil have a higher smoke point (>450°F). It’s important to note that 450° is the boiling point of refined peanut oil, whereas 400°F450° is the boiling smoke point of vegetable oil (typically soy or a soy mix). At 450°F478°, sunflower oil takes the cake. Because of this, anything other than olive oil is a far better option for a hot grill (3).

The boiling point of oils are 942, 1043, 1055, 1048, 1065, 1066, 1065 and 1065°F for Coconut, Palm, Cotton, Corn, Soybean, Sunflower, Canola and Peanut oil respectively (4).

The boiling point of a liquid is the temperature where the liquid will change into a gas. The reason that different liquids boil at different temperatures is because of the different chemical bonds between the atoms that compose them. The boiling point of an oil is difficult to measure, because before the oil reaches its boiling point, oil will start to smoke. This is called the ’smoke point’. The smoke point is defined as the temperature at which a visible and continuous bluish smoke appears. At this point sufficient volatile compounds, such as free fatty acids and short chain oxidation products are emerging and evaporating from the oil. The smoke point of an oil generally increases as the free fatty acids content decreases, and the degree of refinement increases (5). 

When grilling veggies, what temperature should they be cooked at?

Corn on the cob, for example, is quite different from bell pepper, as is a thin slice of zucchini. This means that grilling vegetables of varying shapes and sizes won’t provide the same results. Most frequently grilled vegetables benefit from knowing when and how hot to grill them. To avoid burning your vegetables, follow these simple steps.

Most vegetables are consumed after being cooked under different conditions, involving water or oil mediums and a wide range of temperatures. Thus, the heat treatment will become very important since it will directly affect the final composition of vegetables. However, thermal treatment can also improve bioactive compounds availability by breaking down cell structures. The Maillard reaction is also a source of compositional changes in vegetables during cooking, since the carbonyl group of a reducing sugar or other molecule with carbonyl groups (vitamin C, oxidized lipids, etc.) reacts with the free amino group of a protein, amino acid or peptide. Therefore, an aggressive long cooking procedure could result in a loss of bioactive compounds (7).

vegetables to be grilled on the grill at medium heat (350 degrees)

·         Corns (in the husk, silk removed, and soaked in cold water at least 15 minutes) for around 15-20 min (rotating during cooking)

·         Leaks (cut in half down the stalk and brushed with oil) each team gets five minutes of preparation time

·         Artichokes (cut in half, brushed with oil) around 15 to 20 minutes on each side

The medium-high-heat grilling of vegetables (400-420 degrees)

·         Peppers (cut in half, brushed with oil) – 3 minutes on the skin side, 8 minutes on the other

·         Onion (brushed with oil, cut into thick rings) around eight minutes (flipping often)

·         Sprouts (brushed with oil, salt, and pepper) the time taken is 7 minutes (rotating often)

·         Eggplants (cut in half or thick circles, brushed with oil) – 4 minutes/side

·         Mushrooms (remove stem, scrape out the gills, brush with oil) an average of eight minutes on each side

·         Squash and Zucchini (sliced longways in 3rds, brushed with oil and salt) – 6 minutes/side

What’s the best way to gauge how hot your grill is?

A built-in thermometer may be found on a lot of barbecues. Unfortunately, they often stop functioning or the glass becomes so cloudy that it’s impossible to see through it. The surface temperature of the grill where your food is cooking is also not being measured.

As a result, the easiest way to avoid burning your grilled veggies is to use a stand-alone grill thermometer to determine exactly how hot it is. In terms of customer satisfaction, the best thermometer comes from Riida.

 

TM08’s wireless meat thermometer is incredible! Consider the following characteristics and see if this isn’t the PERFECT option for your smoker, barbecue, or BBQ: 

·         Provides access to the temperatures of two different types of meat with the included 2 probes (or one meat and the grill temp)

·         Configure a notification to go off if the temperature is just right or if it rises too high.

·         When cooking meat, you may program it to sound an alarm when it’s at the exact doneness you want (rare, medium, etc.)

·         stainless steel food-grade probes are connected to heat-resistant steel mesh wires using

·         You’ll get warnings and temperatures up to 300 feet away with the included wireless receiver!

Does a charcoal grill need much time to reach the desired cooking temperature?

Novice grillers often make mistakes here. When the embers become white and there is some heat, we have a propensity to put the meal on the grill too soon. If you’ve over-oiled or over-marinated your meal, the coals will catch fire, and the flames will lick the food, resulting in overcooked vegetables and meats.

It’s a wonderful tool to have, but it doesn’t inform you when your coals are at their best, like the thermostat stated above.

After approximately 10 minutes, most charcoal will be a pure white-gray hue. They’ve reached a boiling pitch at this time. Most vegetables, as discussed above, need a medium or medium-high heat to be properly prepared. As a result, we’re stuck waiting. As a result, you’ll want to hold off on adding the vegetables until they’ve been cooking for at least 20 minutes on medium or 30 minutes on low.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “How Not to Burn Veggies on the Grill?” and discussed at which temperature different veggies should be cooked?

References

  1. Carothers, M et al. A Summer Grilling How-To. 2021, US Department of Agriculture. 
  2. Terry, Taylor Lauren. Food handling behaviors of consumers when grilling poultry. Diss. Kansas State University, 2017.
  3. Bancroft, A. Cooking with fats and oils: Can they withstand the heat? 2019. Colorado State University.
  4. Cunico, Larissa P., Roberta Ceriani, and Reginaldo Guirardello. Estimation of physical properties of vegetable oils and biodiesel using group contribution methods. CHEMICAL ENGINEERING, 2013, 32.
  5. de Alzaa, Ana Florencia, Claudia Guillaume, and Leandro Ravetti. Cooking with Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Olive Oil—New Perspectives and Applications. 2021. 1-13.
  6. Sepp, Steve. Multiple-household fuel use-a balanced choice between firewood, charcoal and LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas). 2014.Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development. Germany.
  7. Pérez-Burillo, Sergio, José Ángel Rufián-Henares, and Silvia Pastoriza. Effect of home cooking on the antioxidant capacity of vegetables: Relationship with Maillard reaction indicators. Food Res Int, 2019, 121, 514-523.  
  8. Grenci, A. Tips for great grilled vegetables. 2020. The State University of New Jersey.
  9. Haley-Hardley, C. Grilling Vegetables Can Bring Out Flavor. 2022. University of Arkansas.