Grilled peppers are a delicious and versatile addition to any summer meal. Whether you’re looking to add some color and flavor to a sandwich, salad, or pasta dish or simply enjoy them as a side dish, grilling peppers is an easy and flavorful way to prepare them.
With simple tips and tricks, you can grill peppers like a pro and enjoy perfectly cooked, tender, and slightly charred peppers every time. This guide will show you how to select the best peppers for grilling, prepare them for cooking, and grill them to perfection.
Steps for Grilling Peppers
1. Preheat the Grill
Preheat the grill to medium high heat —375 to 450 degrees F.
2. Prepare the Peppers for Grilling
While the grill preheats, prepare your peppers for grilling. Wash the peppers thoroughly to remove any dirt, debris, or pesticide residue, then pat them dry.
Cut them into halves and remove the stems, seeds, and membranes. However, you may leave smaller peppers as is and cook them without slicing them.
Brush each side of the pepper halves with your preferred high-smoking point oil. The oil prevents the peppers from sticking to the grilling grate. It also enhances the flavor.
3. Grill the Peppers
Place the pepper slices on the grill and cook for 8-10 minutes. Turn them after every 2-3 minutes to ensure even cooking and prevent them from burning. Cook until tender with a slight char.
4. Garnish and Serve
Once the peppers are cooked, remove them from the grill and season with salt and pepper or your desired seasoning. Serve immediately as a side dish or add to your favorite dish.
How Long Should Your Grill Peppers For?
A bell pepper should be grilled for about 5 minutes per side over medium high heat. The exact cooking time will depend on the thickness of the bell pepper slices and the heat of your grill. Keep a close eye on them, turn them as needed, and grill them until they are tender and slightly charred. Peppers tend to burn easily.
Tips for Choosing Peppers for Grilling
- Use fresh peppers. Choose peppers with firm, shiny, and smooth skin, and avoid wrinkled or soft spots. Fresh peppers taste better, are more nutritious, and hold up well to the heat when grilling.
- Go for bigger and heavier peppers. They tend to be more flavorful and provide a larger surface area for grilling.
- If you prefer sweeter peppers, look for fully ripe peppers with a deep, rich color. On the other hand, if you prefer spicy peppers, go for smaller ones with thicker flesh.
- If you plan on grilling various peppers, choose peppers of different colors and sizes for visual appeal.
- Research various pepper types. Each type of pepper has a specific flavor profile. While some are hot, others are not. The Scoville Scale shows the heat level for different types of peppers. When you understand them, choosing peppers with your preferred flavor is easier.
- Consider the availability of peppers in your area. Although they are perennial crops, peppers thrive best in warmer seasons. Therefore, they are plenty during summer, but they may be harder to find in Winter.
Best Types of Peppers for Grilling
These are the most common type of pepper used for grilling. They come in various colors, including red, yellow, orange, and green. They have a sweet, mild flavor and are great for grilling, roasting, and sautéing.
They are mild to medium-hot peppers with a rich, smoky flavor. They are typically used for making chiles rellenos.
These are medium-hot peppers with a slightly sweet, slightly spicy flavor. They are great for grilling, as the heat helps to bring out their flavors. They are also often used to make salsa and guacamole.
These are very hot peppers with a bright, fresh flavor. They are often used to make hot sauce and salsa but are also great for grilling.
These are dried poblano peppers that have a sweet, smoky flavor. They are often used to make mole sauce.
These are extremely hot peppers with a fruity, tropical flavor. They are commonly used to make hot sauce and salsa.
These are smoked, dried jalapeno peppers with a rich, smoky flavor. Aside from grilling, they are also commonly used to make adobo sauce.
How to Season Peppers for Grilling
There is a wide range of ingredients that you can use to season grilled peppers. Here are the most common seasoning options for easy grilled peppers:
- Salt and black pepper. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the pepper slices or chunks before grilling. This will enhance their natural flavor and add a bit of extra seasoning.
- Olive oil. Brush the pepper slices or chunks with olive oil before grilling. This will help prevent sticking and enhance the flavor.
- Garlic. Crush or finely chop garlic and mix with olive oil. Brush the mixture over the pepper slices or chunks before grilling.
- Herbs. Mix fresh herbs such as thyme, basil, or oregano with olive oil. Brush the mixture over the pepper slices or chunks before grilling.
- Citrus. Squeeze fresh lemon, lime or orange juice over the pepper slices or chunks before grilling.
- Spices. Mix ground cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, or other desired spices with olive oil. Brush the mixture over the pepper slices or chunks before grilling.
- Marinate. Soak the peppers in a marinade for at least 30 minutes before grilling. This can be a simple mixture of olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, and herbs.
- Balsamic vinegar. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the pepper slices or chunks after grilling for added sweetness and tanginess.
Experiment with different combinations of seasonings to find the perfect flavor for your grilled peppers.
Best Methods of Grilling Pepper
Skewering the pepper chunks or slices is a great method for grilling peppers as it allows for even cooking and prevents them from falling through the grates. Insert the pepper chunks on the skewer and then place the skewers on the grill for cooking.
Grilling in a basket
A grilling basket is a great tool for grilling small or delicate items, such as peppers, that might fall through the grates. Simply place the peppers in the basket and grill as usual.
Wrapping in tin foil
Wrap the pepper slices or chunks in tin foil with a bit of oil and seasonings before placing them on the grill. This method creates a steaming effect that helps to cook the peppers evenly and lock in flavor.
Grilling in a foil packet
This method is similar to using a wrapping foil. However, instead of wrapping the peppers, you can also make a foil packet by placing the peppers, oil and seasonings on a piece of foil, sealing the edges to create a packet, and grilling it as is.
This method is great for large, thick-walled peppers needing longer cooking. Place the peppers on the cooler side of the grill with the lid closed and the vents open; this will allow the peppers to cook through without charring too quickly.
Grilling on a plancha
A plancha is a flat metal plate that sits on top of the grill grates; it allows for an even cooking surface and prevents sticking. Simply place the peppers on the plancha and cook as usual.
Mixing grilling methods
You could also use a combination of methods, such as skewering the peppers and then wrapping them in foil to finish cooking. This will allow you to get the char and smoky flavor from grilling and cook the peppers evenly.
How to Serve Grilled Peppers
Grilled peppers can be served in various ways, either as a side or main dish. For instance, you can incorporate them in your salads, stews, pizzas, wraps, sandwiches, or soups. You could also eat them on their own.
Stuff them with your preferred fillings and toppings, or serve them as is with your favorite dips or sauces.
As discussed above, grilling pepper is easy and straightforward. Most types of peppers can be grilled, including bell peppers, jalapenos, anchos, etc. Choose your preferred type, cut them up, season them to your liking, and fire up the grill. The peppers will be ready to serve in just a few minutes. Experiment with different types of peppers and seasonings to discover the perfect recipe.
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