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Cyndi Allison - Grill Girl

How to Grill Onions
Onions Add a Little Zest to Your Backyard Cook Out and Can be Grilled Several Ways

Kum Ba Ya
Add Onions - Yum


Onions are healthy and taste great too. They are especially yummy when cooked outside on the barbecue grill. Whether for seasoning or for a main dish, put onions on the menu at your next BBQ. You’ll be in for a real taste treat with grilled onions.

There are a variety of onions on the market. Some are strong. Some are sweet. Some are harder. Some softer. Onions may be yellow (the most common), white, or red/purple. All can be used in various ways in outdoor cooking.

Grilled Onion Slices

If you or your guests are big onion fans, then you can grill onion slices directly on the grill. This works best with large, firm onions. Vidalia (a southern favorite) is an especially good pick for slice grilling.

Cut onion in thick slices (1/4 to ½ inches). Brush with oil. Add seasonings if you like (pepper, salt, garlic, savory, any other family favorites). Place on medium heat. Heat a couple of minutes until char marks show. Flip with a turner (so the onion rings don’t fall apart). Cook the other side until marks show. Again, this takes only a couple of minutes.
Some people like the onions crispy and some like them softer. Cooking time impacts on this. Cook longer if you like softer onions. Cook less if you like a little crunch.

Whole Onions on the Grill

Another good way to cook onions on the grill is to go with whole onions. In this case, medium onions work best. Larger onions take a good while to cook through though can be used if that’s what you have on hand.

Remove the husky cover of the onion. Cut little holes or dints around the edge. This will look kind of like spaceship windows around the middle of the onion. Fill the holes with butter. Place onion on a piece of heavy duty or grill foil wrap. Add any seasonings you like. Close onion up in the foil. Seal up any openings especially if you’re planning to cook in the coals.

If you’re using a charcoal grill or cooking over an open fire, then place the onion bundles in the gray coals to the side. You don’t want them in direct flames, or they’ll burn. They can rest 15 to 20 minutes and slowly bake as other items are being grilled.

Whole onions can also be done on the grate over gas. In this case, it’s a good idea to close down the lid, so the heat gets to the onion. Cooking time runs closer to 30 minutes with the less direct heat.

Wok Grilled Onions

Now that grill woks are on the market, it’s a snap to quick cook onions and other toppings. Simply spray down the grill wok with oil or Pam and toss the onions and other quick cook vegetables in. As in the home wok, it takes only minutes to stir up a side dish or toppings for rice or for sandwiches.

Good combinations with onions include peppers and squash. They take about the same amount of cooking time. Tomatoes can be added too, but add tomatoes later as they are softer than the other items.

Outdoor Hobo Packs with Onions

If you ever were a Scout or in 4-H or went camping with the family, then you probably made hobo packs at some point. You may have skipped the onions back then, because a lot of kids do. Try your hobo packs again and give the onions a try. Even if you don’t eat the onions at the end, you get a real wonderful burst of flavor by having them in the packs.

My Basic Potato Hobo Packs are a good way to start out. They are simple to make and really tasty. Add some onions and you’ve got a side dish with some zip.

You can use most any meat and vegetable in a hobo pack and use onions for flavoring. Kids usually like hamburger and potatoes in the pack for a full meal in foil. Pork chops and pineapple make an interesting variation. Onions work well with both.


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