Grilled Cauliflower

June 22, 2020 Updated: June 24, 2020

To make grilled cauliflower with a tender interior and a flavorful, nicely browned exterior, we first microwaved it until it was cooked through and then briefly grilled it to pick up color and flavor. To ensure that the cauliflower held up on the grill without falling through the grate and to provide sufficient surface area for browning, we cut the head into wedges. Dunking the cauliflower in a salt and sugar solution before microwaving seasoned it all over, even in the nooks and crannies.

Look for cauliflower with densely packed florets that feels heavy for its size. Using tongs or a thin metal spatula to gently flip the wedges helps keep them intact. 

Serves 4 to 6

Total time: 35 minutes

  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 head cauliflower (2 pounds), cut into 6 equal wedges
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh chives
  • Lemon wedges

Whisk 2 cups water, salt, and sugar in medium bowl until salt and sugar dissolve. Holding wedges by core, gently dunk in salt-sugar mixture until evenly moistened (do not dry—residual water will help cauliflower steam). Transfer wedges, rounded side down, to large plate and cover with inverted large bowl. Microwave until cauliflower is translucent and tender and paring knife slips easily in and out of thickest stem of florets (not core), 14–16 minutes.

Carefully (bowl and cauliflower will be very hot) transfer cauliflower to paper towel-lined plate and pat dry with paper towels. Brush cut sides of wedges with 1 tablespoon oil.

For a charcoal grill: Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter three-quarters filled with charcoal briquettes (4 1/2 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn all burners to medium-high.

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place cauliflower, cut side down, on grill and cook, covered, until well browned with spots of charring, 3–4 minutes. Using tongs or thin metal spatula, flip cauliflower and cook second cut side until well browned with spots of charring, 3–4 minutes. Flip again so cauliflower is sitting on rounded edge and cook until browned, 1–2 minutes.

Transfer cauliflower to serving platter. Drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil, sprinkle with chives, and serve with lemon wedges.

Recipe courtesy of America’s Test Kitchen