How to Cook Asparagus on the Grill

Learning how to cook asparagus on the grill is essential for your spring and summer menus. Asparagus is at its peak season from February through June, meaning it will be fresh and abundant for spring and early summer barbecues. With only a few months to enjoy this unique and delicious vegetable, you’ll want to make sure to take full advantage of it.


You can prepare and cook asparagus in various ways, but one of our favorite ways to enjoy it is, of course, on the grill. When you lightly char asparagus on the grill, you’re left with a smokey, caramelized treat that’s a great side dish to any spring or summertime meal. Being able to make the perfect vegetable side dish is one of our favorite health benefits of grilling.

Grilled Asparagus Basics

  1. How to Cook Asparagus on the Grill

  • Buying and Storing Asparagus 

  • Preparing the Asparagus 

  • How to Cook Asparagus on the Grill 

  1. The Best BBQ Asparagus Recipes

  2. Tips for Perfectly Grilled Asparagus 

Photo by Amy Burk on Unsplash

How to Cook Asparagus on the Grill

If you’re not sure how to cook asparagus on the grill, have no fear! You’re about to learn all the ins and outs of asparagus grilling. 

Buying and Storing Asparagus 

For the best grilled asparagus results, you’ll need to know how to properly select and store fresh asparagus. When you shop for asparagus, look for firm stalks that stand up straight and have a smooth texture. The tips of the stalks should be closed and compact. 


If the asparagus stalks look limp or wilted, or if the tips are soft or spreading, you should avoid them. Some asparagus might have dark green or purple highlights in the tips. They should also be rich in color and softly fade to white at the bottom. 


Try to buy bundles of asparagus that are roughly the same length and diameter for easy preparation and consistent cooking. 


When you arrive home with your asparagus, trim the bottom of the stalks and wrap the cut ends in a wet paper towel. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. You can also trim the stalks, put them in a vase with about 1” of water, and cover the tips with plastic wrap before placing them in the refrigerator. 

Preparing the Asparagus 

Don’t wash the asparagus until you are ready to cook it. When you’re ready to fire up the grill, clean the asparagus by rinsing it under cool water. 


When it’s clean, use your fingers to snap off the bottom inch of the stem, attempting to remove the tough, woody part of the stem. Snapping it versus cutting it will help it naturally break between the tender and woody part. If you want to save time, you can also line up the asparagus and cut off the bottom inch of all the stems with a knife. 


You will then want to gently dry the stems by rolling them between two kitchen towels. 


Next, choose one of the recipes below to oil and season asparagus as desired. For a quicker, no-fuss option, coat the spears with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 

How to Cook Asparagus on the Grill 

To cook asparagus on the grill, preheat the grill to high heat and clean your grill. We recommend using the Juniper BBQ Scraper to remove any debris before you start to cook. 


Once the grill is hot, and asparagus has been seasoned, add the asparagus directly to the grill grates. Make sure you place them perpendicularly in a row so that they do not fall through the grate. 


Grill the asparagus for a total of 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure you turn the spears every few minutes so they cook evenly and the grill marks surround the stalk. 


When the asparagus can be pierced easily with a fork, it is tender enough to eat, and you can remove it from the grill. 


You can eat the asparagus as is or add your favorite toppings. You can find more topping ideas in the recipes below. 


Another option for cooking asparagus on the grill involves wrapping the spears in foil. Create a foil packet around the asparagus and place it on the grill for 10 to 15 minutes. Cooking asparagus in foil steams the vegetable, so keep in mind you won’t get grill marks or the smokey, charred effect of cooking directly on the grill grates. 

The Best Grilled Asparagus Recipes 

While you can’t go wrong with olive oil, salt, and pepper, there are other ways you can spice up your grilled asparagus and take the side dish to the next level. We always recommend leaning on tried-and-true spices, but also considering some of the most underrated seasonings for a fun twist. Here are some of our favorite grilled asparagus recipes! 


Grilled Parmesan Garlic Asparagus


Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound of fresh asparagus 

  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil 

  • 3 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese

  • 2 garlic cloves 

  • Salt and pepper 


Directions: 

  1. Rinse and trim asparagus. 

  2. Set asparagus in a pan and sprinkle with olive oil, salt, and pepper.

  3. Toss to fully mix in the seasoning. 

  4. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. 

  5. Cook asparagus directly on grill grates for 5 to 10 minutes.

  6. Once charred and tender, remove asparagus stalks and return to the pan. 

  7. Toss the vegetable with garlic and parmesan cheese, and then serve warm. 


Lemon Balsamic Grilled Asparagus 


Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of fresh asparagus

  • 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil 

  • 1 tablespoon of soy sauce

  • Salt and pepper


Directions: 

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a resealable bag and shake to combine. Place in the refrigerator for up to one hour. 

  2. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. 

  3. Remove asparagus with tongs and reserve marinade. 

  4. Lightly oil grill grates. 

  5. Place asparagus stalks directly on the grill and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, occasionally basting them with the remaining marinade. 

  6. Sprinkle asparagus with salt and serve warm. 

Photo by Ashley Byrd on Unsplash

Tips for Perfectly Grilled Asparagus 

Ensure perfectly cooked asparagus by remembering these important tips: 


  1. Always trim or snap off the woody ends of the asparagus stalk.

  2. Use tongs to turn the asparagus rather than a spatula to avoid stalks falling through the grate and to ensure better overall control. 

  3. Don’t overcook the asparagus. Once the stalk can be easily pierced with a fork, it’s done cooking. Any longer on the grill and the asparagus will become limp and soggy. 

  4. While foil packs are a great way to cook asparagus, cooking it directly on the grill grates will ensure the tastiest results. 

Cooking Asparagus on the Grill

Grilled asparagus is a delicious treat in the spring and summer months. It’s easy to prepare and easy to learn how to cook asparagus on the grill. You can customize your grilled asparagus with any flavor combinations and pair this yummy vegetable with some delicious grilled meat for a Kick Ash meal. If you haven’t tried it yet, give grilled asparagus a chance this season!