Grill vegetables to perfection every time.
Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel

A little bit of blackening is part of what makes grilled food so delicious. Char adds a touch of tangy bitterness and ultracrisp texture that you can't get as easily with other cooking methods. Fresh vegetables take on char like a dream as their natural sugars first caramelize then lightly scorch, like the crust of a crème brûlée. The trick, as with much of cooking, is heat control. Here's what you need to know.

Start Hot, Finish Cooler

The eggplant needs to cook through completely. Set over hot flames first to char the skin, and then move to the cooler side of the grill to finish roasting.

Flames Work Fast

Thin green onions cook in a flash. To retain a little texture, char them over the hottest part of the grill, and remove as soon as they're marked.

Char the Unexpected

Toasting garlic on the grill is a smart way to make it sweet, tender, and slightly smoky. Leave the papery skin on the clove bundle and remove from the grill once the outside is mostly blackened.

Try It! Grill-Smoked Baba Ghanoush

Credit: Photo: Caitlin Bensel

This classic Middle Eastern eggplant dip is known for its smoky flavor and creamy texture. The smoke here comes from four components: charred eggplant, green onions, garlic, and a dash of smoked paprika. To grill the garlic, pull the cloves off in a clump from the bulb so the bundle won’t fall through the grates. Don’t worry if the clump contains more than 4 cloves—you’ll surely find a use for the roasty-toasty extras. Serve with pita bread wedges, pita chips, or crudités.