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What Are the Best Tips for Grilling Butternut Squash?

Article Details
  • Written By: T. Alaine
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 24 July 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Butternut squash is a member of the winter squash family, but thanks to its hard rind, it stores well and resists spoiling long enough to be enjoyed in the summer months long after harvest. Grilling butternut squash is a versatile seasonal preparation of this vegetable that can be approached in several different ways. Whether the squash is being grilled in slices over direct heat or as cubes on skewers or in foil packets, the key tips to remember when grilling butternut squash are to remove the rind and break down the flesh, keep slices or cubes consistent in size, and to maintain mid-level heat for thorough and even cooking.

Careful preparation is essential to successful grilling of butternut squash. Unlike oven roasting, grilling butternut squash requires removal of the rind and subsequent breaking down of the flesh. The thick rind, which is beneficial when roasting a whole squash in the oven, actually inhibits even cooking on the grill. To remove the rind, cut both ends off the squash to create a stable surface, then stand the squash on end and strip the rind away with either a vegetable peeler or sharp knife. After the rind is removed the squash can be cut in half lengthwise and the seeds removed with a spoon.

Grilling butternut squash in large pieces is difficult because the direct heat might cause the outside to burn while the inside remains raw. Therefore, it is necessary to break the flesh down into smaller pieces with more surface area. One option is to cut the squash into slices that can be laid down directly on the grill grate and flipped with tongs.

Cubes are also a viable option, but usually need to be contained in some way lest they risk falling through the grates. Vegetable baskets are convenient for grilling butternut squash, but the cubes can also be skewered or wrapped in aluminum foil packets. Wooden skewers should be soaked in water prior to grilling to prevent them from catching fire, and heavy duty foil or foil made especially for grilling is recommended.

Regardless of which method of preparation is chosen, the pieces should all be as close to the same size as possible to ensure even cooking. Even and thorough cooking is also dependent on keeping the heat at medium-level. Squash flesh is hard and dense when raw, and cooking it over too high heat can also cause burning on the outside while the insides remain raw and hard. The squash is finished when the flesh is easily pierced with a fork and has a uniform, soft texture all the way through.

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