Tue Oct 27, 2015
If I were to rank my favorites among the orange-hued vegetables that make up a substantial portion of the fall harvest, it would go: sweet potatoes, butternut squash, then carrots. Although they come in third, carrots exhibit similar qualities that make fall veggies so appealing when the temperature begins heading south—they develop a great sweetness and tenderness during a long roast. It's the long part of that equation that keeps me from grilling them too often, since to get them into their ideal state, it can easily take an entire batch of charcoal. Still, whenever I do grill them, I never regret it, and you can add these grill-roasted carrots finished with a sweet soy glaze to the list of things I didn't regret using a chimney worth of coals cooking.
Size presents the biggest challenge to bringing carrots to a grill—small carrots can easily fall through the grates—but this can be mitigated by choosing large ones and then cutting them on the bias into 3/4-inch slices to create pieces that are less likely to meat a fiery death.
Once they're cut into the appropriate sized slices, they really need no more than be tossed with a little oil, salt, and pepper. It's the long roast that will bring out the sugars and intensify the flavor of the carrots, so even a minimal approach will net fantastic results.
I, though, hardly ever opt for minimal (if I wasn't in need for consistent stream of new recipes, I probably would though), and decided to pair this batch of carrots with a glaze. I made this one have a pretty ubiquitous Asian tilt by starting with a base comprised of equal amounts of soy sauce and honey. To that I added a bit of brown sugar for a extra sweetness and molasses flavor, garlic and ginger to further the Asian profile, and red pepper flakes for a slight heat to contrast the sugars.
Because large carrot chunks like this take a long time to roast, and because they can handle the heat, I like to place my oiled and seasoned slices near, but not directly over, the coals of a medium-high two-zone indirect fire. Being close to the coals lets the carrots get the maximum amount of heat without the fear of burning that accompanies grilling over direct heat.
It takes a good 45 to 60 minutes, but the wait is well rewarded with carrots that look like this—a slightly wrinkles appearance that has large swathes of caramelization. Just looking at these I feel like I can almost taste that distinct sweetness of roasted carrots that brings out the best in them.
Once they were in this state, I applied the glaze by brushing it all over each slice. I then closed the grill again and let the sauce thicken up a bit, which only took a few minutes longer.
Unlike sweet potatoes or butternut squash, I feel like carrots have a more mild sweetness that lets the flavor of the vegetable itself come through more, which I like. Of course, I upped the sugar with the glaze, but it really didn't over due it—instead it added a salty depth with a mild ginger and garlic bite that made the carrots all the better. This created a final outcome that left me thinking that I should really consider bumping carrots up a step in my orange-veggies leaderboard.
Grill-Roasted Carrots With Sweet Soy Glaze
- Prep Time:
- 10 Minutes
- Cook Time:
- 50 Minutes
- Total Time:
- 1 Hour
- 4 servings
- For the Glaze
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon freshly minced garlic, about 1 medium clove
- 1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- For the Carrots
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch slices on a bias
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 scallion, thinly sliced
- Kosher salt
- For the Glaze: In a small bowl, whisk together honey, soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger, and crushed red pepper. Set aside.
- For the Carrots: Toss carrot slices with oil in a medium bowl. Season lightly with salt.
- Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and arrange the coals on one side of the charcoal grate. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Place carrot slices on cool side of grill, close to, but not directly over, the coals. Cover and cook until tender all the way through, about 45 minutes, flipping carrots every 15 minutes for even browning.
- Brush carrots all over with glaze, cover grill, and continue to cook for 3 minutes longer.
- Transfer carrots to serving bowl, drizzle with additional glaze, garnish with scallion, and serve immediately.