Crispy Grilled Brussels Sprouts

If you don’t like Brussels sprouts, I blame a traumatic childhood experience that involved the drab, mushy, and overcooked variety. If you’re already a fan, you know sprouts are at their best when they’re nicely browned and crisp. Which takes us to the grill: A quick spin over blistering coals provides charred and smoky flavors that mellow the cruciferous bitterness, make seasonings pop, and a mix of tender and crunchy textures.

As a bonus, the outdoor cook liberates oven space for, say, parade of holiday casseroles. First, you blanch the sprouts in boiling salted water (shocking them in ice water, after, will retain their bright green color). Next, they’re tossed in a seasoned oil made with your Fire & Smoke Society blend. Last night I used Fish Monger, because I knew its base of Mediterranean herbs would be delicious with the sprouts, but Potato Slayer or The Usual would also be excellent choices.

After a few minutes over the fire, the charred, crispy sprouts don’t need more than a squeeze of fresh lime juice. But, feel free to raise the bar with bacon lardons, grated Parmesan, tahini butter, or bread crumbs (more options below). No matter how you finish, these crispy green spheres will be a welcome Thanksgiving side dish alongside richer fan favorites like mashed potatoes and stuffing.

Crispy Grilled Brussels Sprouts

Serves 4 to 6, as a side dish

Optional add-ins:

  • Finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan
  • ¾ cup garlic breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup crispy bacon lardons
  • Citrus Tahini Butter (whisk together  2 tablespoons butter (at room temperature), with 2 tablespoons tahini, 1 tablespoons lime juice and 1 teaspoon soy sauce)

Prepare a charcoal grill for two-zone cooking and build a medium-high fire. 

While the fire heats, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and stem and trim the outer leaves, as needed, from the Brussels sprouts. Generously salt the boiling water, add the sprouts and boil for 2-3 minutes, until just barely tender (remember they’ll finish cooking on the grill). Drain immediately and plunge the sprouts into a bowl of ice water. Drain, pat dry with paper towels and transfer to a  large bowl. Drizzle the sprouts with enough olive oil to lightly coat, season with Fish Monger (or seasoning of your choice), and use your hands to toss until combined. 

Clean and oil the grill grates. When the coals are glowing red and covered with a fine gray ash, place a grill basket over direct heat for 5 minutes. When you’re ready to cook, use a slotted spoon to transfer the sprouts to the basket and close the grill. After 30 or so seconds, open the grill and use tongs to shake the basket and/or stir the sprouts (rotating the basket as needed for even cooking) until they are charred on several sides, 3 to 4 minutes. 

Return sprouts to the same bowl of oil, top with the juice of one lime and toss to combine. Serve immediately, with additional lime wedges on the side.


Grill-side banter provided by food writer, cookbook author and grilling enthusiast, Paula Disbrowe.

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