Summer’s here, and you know what that means, right? It’s barbecue season! There’s something about the warm weather that makes you want to dust off the old grill and cook everything on it. And, we mean – everything. Meat, chicken, pork, burgers, veggies… even grilled mushrooms! No exceptions.
Besides, who wants to make frequent trips between the kitchen stove, oven, and grill on a hot summer’s day or night? Just throw everything on the grill and make mouthwatering meals at a go.
If you thought sautéed garlic butter mushrooms were as good as it gets in the mushroom-making world, you haven’t tried grilled ones. The direct flames, smoke, and char transform these magnificent fungi into something that’s nothing short of magical.
You need to taste it for yourself to experience the culinary adventure they’ll take you on. Here’s everything you need to know about making the best-grilled mushrooms.
Best Fungi Varieties for Grilled Mushrooms
In reality, you can grill any type of edible fungi. However, some are better-suited for barbecuing than others. Below are the most popular ones for grilling and the prep work involved for each of them.
Smaller varieties of mushrooms like buttons can be grilled whole, although they may not be large enough to place on the grate. So, to avoid losing them in the gaps, it’s always a good idea to skewer them through their caps, to give them a larger surface area.
If they’re large, cut them into half-inch slices along their lengths, before threading them onto the skewers. Alternatively, you can cook them in a grill basket instead.
Big cap mushrooms like Portobellos are no doubt some of the best varieties for grilling. You can barbecue them whole without having to skewer them since they’re easy to flip over, and you don’t have to worry about them falling through the grates.
When preparing them for the grill, start by brushing off any visible dirt with a mushroom brush, before placing them in a perforated colander, and quickly washing them under cold running water. This should take no more than 5 seconds.
Then, place them on a paper towel and pat them dry. Proceed to remove the stems and scrape off the gills before placing them directly on the hot grates. They do well on the low-temperature zones of the grill to prevent them from burning before they cook through.
Baby Bella (Cremini)
These are essentially Portobello mushrooms that haven’t matured. Their firm texture and delicious nutty flavor make them the perfect grilling candidates. Unlike Portobellos, Baby Bellas cook well above direct heat on the hot temperature zones of the grill.
To prepare them, brush off any visible dirt with a mushroom brush, place them in a colander, and run cold water over them for no more than 5 seconds to clean them. Once you pat them dry, slice the larger pieces in half or skewer them whole if they’re small. You could also use a grill basket instead.
Because of how large and meaty they are, king oyster mushrooms work wonderfully for grilling. To prep them, wash and dry them, and then slice their thick stems lengthwise. Thread them onto skewers, or put them directly on the grates, and you’re good to go!
Finally, you can’t go wrong with juicy grilled Shiitakes. Their rich earthy and meaty flavor is partly what makes them the perfect substitute for conventional burger patties. You want to get large shiitakes for barbecuing so that you can cook them whole directly on the grates.
To get them ready, brush off any dirt with a mushroom brush, remove the stems which are usually quite leathery and tough, and wash them for 5 seconds under running water. Pat them dry, and they’re ready to use.
Preparing the Mushrooms for the Grill
Now that you have clean sliced mushrooms to work with, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind before you get started.
- If you’re using bamboo skewers, presoak them in warm water for 20 to 30 minutes before threading. This prevents them from cooking along with whatever’s on them.
- To add flavor, mix a little extra-virgin olive oil with your favorite seasoning and spices, then toss the mushrooms in it before they go on the grill. You could also make a simple marinade by mixing olive oil and a great-tasting vinegar and soak the mushrooms in it for 20 to 30 minutes. This allows them to mop up all that flavorful goodness before they go on the grill.
- If you don’t have a grilling basket to barbecue small-sized mushrooms, foil works just as well. All you need to do is lay-out some heavy-duty pieces of foil, place your seasoned or marinated mushrooms at the center, fold it up, and place the sealed packet on the grates. Ensure that you turn it at least once during cooking.
Best Grilled Balsamic Mushrooms Recipe
- 2 lbs. cremini mushrooms – washed, dried, and sliced into ½ inch pieces
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 tablespoons soy sauce
- ½ cup balsamic vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic – minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A few sprigs of fresh parsley – chopped
- Prepare the marinade by whisking the olive oil, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper together in a large bowl.
- Add the mushrooms to the marinade, mix them, and let them soak in the liquid for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the grill to medium-high and soak the skewers in warm water for 20 minutes.
- Thread the mushrooms onto the skewers and place them on the hot grill. Baste the remainder of the marinade on the mushrooms using a basting brush, to keep them moist and succulent as they cook. Grill for 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
- Serve on plates and garnish with parsley.
Perfect Treat for the Summer
Grilled mushrooms are a tasty low-calorie way to enjoy these delicious fungi. The smoky flavor, coupled with the sweet tartness that the balsamic vinegar gives them, is borderline addictive. So, if you’re looking for a tasty appetizer that your guests can bite on as they wait on the rest of the barbecue, consider serving up these tasty grilled balsamic mushrooms. They’re bound to be show-stoppers.
Be sure to check out our essential guide to cooking mushrooms to learn how to do it the right way.
And take a look at our mushroom recipe page for some other great mushroom recipe ideas.
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