Campfire cuisine: Grilled asparagus a great way to welcome spring


asparagus2

Yes, it was snowing and cold and not exactly the sort of weather that one pictures when cooking over an open flame.

But I just didn’t care. Not after a fairly rough winter here in central Pennsylvania. Call it cabin fever — but I was itching to cook outdoors — even if the heat source was from our new charcoal grill.So, in a way, I cheated. All our previous campfire cuisine experiments centered around cooking over a robust hardwood-fueled fire in our campsite.

After a teary farewell last fall to the family’s previous grill — a wedding gift my wife and I received 13-plus years ago — it was time to invest in a new grilling machine. A day after assembling it, the grill was lit and we were ready to cook some tasty treats.

Ribs and chicken made the maiden voyage — but this campfire cuisine focus is on grilled asparagus.

Whether you cook the asparagus on a campfire or a grill, the concept is the same — at least to me.

We begin with fresh, washed asparagus. I chop off the tip of the stem and then cut each spear in half. You can leave the asparagus spears whole, too. It’s all a matter of preference.

As with previous campfire cuisine expeditions, I incorporated some aluminum foil. One sheet is laid flat on the counter, and the asparagus is piled on top, leaving at least two inches of foil on each side.

asparagusprep

I then use butter or margarine, lumped on top of the asparagus. Again, this is a preference thing. Some may just use some cooking oil. Others, nothing at all. I do recommend something to counteract any possible burning/sticking to the foil. For this particular asparagus grilling experience, I added a secret ingredient — a container of Papa John’s garlic butter dipping sauce.

With the ingredients all in place in a neat little pile on top of foil sheet No. 1, I then place a second sheet of equal size over top. Using the careful folding outlined in my foil pack campfire cuisine post, I fold each side several times to create an air-tight foil packet with the asparagus, butter and “secret” ingredient nestled inside.

The asparagus foil pack was then placed on the grill. I put it off to the side from the hottest coals — saving them for the ribs and chicken which needed extra cooking heat. The key to avoid burning is regular flipping of the foil pack … something that can be a little rough because the foil can be a lot harder to tear than you might think. I personally use a combination of a metal spatula and a pair of tongs to flip packs on the grill (or campfire). Even then, I have experienced plenty of tears.

The foil pack, if it doesn’t tear, will actually plump up to look like a small metallic pillow as the asparagus nears completion. At this point, I simply slice open the packet and dump (carefully, obviously) the contents (sauce and all) into a serving bowl.

The end result … some extremely tasty asparagus and the perfect complement to ribs, chicken and a successful maiden voyage for the family’s new grill.

Check out some of our other campfire cuisine experiences:

Traditional breakfast done ‘over-easy’

Homemade macaroni and cheese

Campfire tacos

Family foil pack meals

Campfire eclairs

Scrambled eggs with sausage

Pizza over an open fire

Tasty mountain pies

Gourmet mushroom Swiss burgers

 

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~ by zaktansky on March 28, 2014.

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