The Role of Caramelization in Grilling


Have you ever noticed that a grilled meal gets twice the raves of a non-grilled meal? I watched this happen over and over again and decided I would investigate why. After my extensive “investigation,” I have concluded that the reason is that grilled food becomes caramelized. That is a big word that means the cooking process concentrates the natural sugars (all food contain sugar naturally) and the high heat browns or “caramelizes” those sugars.

Take this simple asparagus test at your next cookout. Boil or steam asparagus in the kitchen in salted water until bright green. Next, grill asparagus by brushing it lightly with olive oil and seasoning it with kosher salt. Grill the spears for about 8-10 minutes or until brown on all sides.

When the asparagus is done, take the taste test. Close your eyes and eat a spear of steamed asparagus, sip water and then eat a grilled piece of asparagus. 99.9% of the time, it is no contest! The grilled entry wins the taste test. The reason: The grilled asparagus is caramelized and the flavor is much more pleasurable and intense. 


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a food fanatic and the Grill Girl from North Carolina who has seasoned, basted and tasted my way across the country. Please join me on my non-stop, culinary journey...

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