Your diet likely doesn’t consistent of many root vegetables and I can guarantee that if you have kids, they may not have tried more than a carrot for a root vegetable. I’m going to introduce you to parsnips which is one root vegetable that when grilled, takes on a flavor very similar to French fries.
That’s why I’m calling this recipe my Smoked Parsnip Fries with Spicy Honey Glaze. As easy to prepare as it’s cousin the carrot, parsnips take no time at all to prepare and smoke on the grill. Go to the market and get yourself about 2 pounds of this lesser used vegetable and let’s convert you from the potato to the parsnip!
What do parsnips taste like?
Parsnips are a sweet root vegetable with a flavor profile between a carrot and potato. While related to the carrot and parsley family, parsnips have a deeper taste and stronger texture, which lends itself to cooking, grilling, and smoking. We recommend smoking this vegetable to improve its woodsy sweetness taste.
Got 5 Minutes?
Just like carrots, likely the more popular root vegetable, parsnips grow as a tuberous root and can be eaten raw, though most people prefer to cook them. Once mature, they are harvested and sold in the grocery stores. I do a simple end trim and peel them with a vegetable peeler. Next, I cut them into 3-inch lengths and the width of an average potato French fry. I then toss them with ¼ cup of oil — I’m using avocado oil but you can also use olive, almond, walnut, grape-seed or similar high heat oil — and kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Now they’re ready for the grill.
Tasting Notes: When selecting parsnips, it’s important to look for ones that have a smooth surface with no cuts or indentations. Because they are a root vegetable, it’s important to rinse them well under water before preparing.
Two-Zone Grill Smoking
The best method of cooking our pre-cut parsnips is on a sheet pan. This will ensure that the cuts of parsnip get equal browning and tenderization. Just like roasting in your oven, I’ll be using a higher grill temperature of 400–425° F on my gas grill. Total cooking time should be roughly 45 minutes to tenderize the parsnips. For added flavor, I’ve included three double filet wood chunks to a metal smoker box. These usually have wood chips added to them but I’ve found wood chunks much easier with less mess and no need to refill with more wood.
I’m using a traditional two-zone setup that involves using ½ the burners of my unit set to a medium-high setting and ½ the burners are left off. The smoker box will go on the hot side of the grill while our sheet pan of pre-cut parsnips will go on the cold side. Half way through cooking time I rotate the sheet pan to ensure even browning. That’s it!
Glaze ’Em for Added Flavor
While the parsnips are turning golden and tender on the grill, it’s time to start on the glaze. Begin by melting 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Add two chiles or ¾ teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes, one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, and 1 tablespoon honey. Stir the parsnips occasionally until the glaze holds together well. Set aside and go to the grill and check on the grilled parsnips. When tender and golden brown, remove from the grill. The wood chunks will be 100% carbonized. I’ll like to save these to use in my charcoal grill as a charwood fuel product for a natural charcoal.
With simple trimming and peeling, these grilled parsnips become even more flavorful when wood flavored on the grill. Two zone cooking makes it easy to step away while the parsnips cook giving you plenty of time to make the great spicy honey glaze to finish off perfectly grilled parsnips.
Remove the parsnips from the grill, place on a serving platter, and drizzle the spicy honey glaze over the parsnips when ready to serve. Today’s Smoky Grilled Parsnip Fries are going beside a ground chuck burger for more of a traditional taste of burger and fries.
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