Saturday, July 12, 2008

How To Roast Red Bell Peppers on a Barbecue Grill

How To Roast Red Bell Peppers on a Barbecue Grill found on
It's easy to make delicious roasted peppers on a grill!

Before I tell you how easy it is to roast sweet bell peppers on a barbecue grill, let me first reassure everyone that there's absolutely nothing wrong with roasted red peppers that come in a jar. In fact for years I kind of pooh-poohed the idea of roasting your own peppers, and then about a month ago I had one of those big packages of six bell peppers you get at Costco, and suddenly I just felt like roasting some peppers. It took me a few tries to get a process I thought was actually easy, and while I'm not going to claim I'll never use the jarred red peppers again, there's no doubt that the flavor of the freshly roasted peppers is just wonderful.

The first time I tried roasting peppers, I kept them whole. This worked just fine, but I found it was hard to get the skin evenly charred, and areas that didn't get as much heat were a bit harder to peel. I also decided removing the seeds would be much easier if you did it before you roasted the peppers.

The second time I roasted peppers, I cut them in half (sorry no photos.) That was better, but I still wanted a slightly flatter shape. The third time's the charm, and the method I'm recommending is to cut the whole peppers in fourths like you see above, then cutting the seeds out of each quarter piece and slightly trimming both ends where the pepper curls up.

Here are two peppers after cutting in fourths, just starting to roast on the grill. Preheat the gas or charcoal barbecue grill to high before putting the peppers on. Then lay the peppers on, skin side down, making sure not to put them too close together.

I took pictures of the progress after various intervals, although you should time your own peppers by how they look because your grill may be hotter or colder than mine. This first shot was after 12 minutes. You can see that the pepper on the right is about half charred, but the one on the left is barely starting to roast.

This is the same two peppers after 19 minutes, and it's obvious I'm going to need to rotate peppers on the grill to get them all charred black like I want them to be. Most every type of grill has hot spots, so this is important to check.

Five minutes later, or 24 total minutes, all the peppers are charred enough, although I could have let them go a few minutes more with no harm. (I turned the peppers over only to show how done they were. I prefer roasted peppers on the firm side, so I grilled them with the skin side down without turning.)

When all the peppers are quite black, take them directly off the grill and put them in a small glass or heavy plastic bowl.

Immediately cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or a tight fitting lid) and let the hot peppers sit for about 15 minutes. The steam will loosen the skins so they'll peel right off.

Here's one pepper peeled with the removed charred skin to the left of the pepper. You can see there are some areas where the pepper flesh started to slightly char, which adds a lot of smoky flavor.

Here are all eight pieces peeled, which probably took me no more than 3-4 minutes to do. I rinsed my hand a few times, but it's important not to rinse the peppers because that rinses off some of the smoky charred flavor.

This is the final stack of roasted pepper strips I got from two sweet red bell peppers. Soon I'll share the recipe for the delicious white bean salad I used these in. If you don't have a gas grill, peppers can also be roasted in the oven, under a broiler, or even on top of a gas burner.

If you're lucky enough to have an abundance of peppers in your garden, roasted peppers can be frozen.  I would seal them in a bag using the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer if you have one.

More Roasted Chiles on the Grill:
How to Roast Anaheim Green Chiles on a Barbecue Grill from Kalyn's Kitchen

Other Bloggers Who've Also Tried Roasting Peppers:
How to Roast Chile Peppers over a Gas Flame from Simply Recipes
How to Roast Peppers from A Veggie Venture
The Best Way to Roast a Pepper from A Wee Bit of Cooking
Homemade Roasted Red Peppers from Padma's Kitchen
Piedmont Roasted Peppers from Tamarind and Thyme
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  1. I'm glad you said the jarred peppers are still okay. :-)

    I would like to roast my own peppers, but I just don't really like cooked bell peppers.

    ...(Internet foodie wrath usually descends upon me when I say that publicly, so I'm just waiting a few minutes...All clear I think)...

    I don't find any other kind of red pepper at the grocery store, but I'm growing some italian sweet peppers on my patio, and if I have enough of them I definitely want to follow your BBQ grill directions for roasting them.

  2. I will definitely try this. I have only roasted them whole, and agree that it is difficult to get them evenly cooked through and peeled and seeded. I always thought that there was some magic going on, but now that I know that you can seed and cut them first, I will try again!

  3. What's great about roasting your own is that you can take advantage of all of the wonderful colors of peppers available in the markets these days. There's nothing more beautiful than a platter of red, yellow and orange peppers, roasted and sliced, drizzled with olive oil and black pepper and sprinkled with fresh herbs from the garden.

  4. That is such a good idea. I have always roasted mine under the broiler (I also have a jar in the fridge for those I don't have time for this days) But the grill is always hot way after I am done with the food. So I think I'll "plan" to have extra peppers when I grill out from now on. Does anyone know how long they last in the fridge grilled? Not that there will be any leftovers. . . Thanks.

  5. Cool cooking style. I never tried cooking grilling pepper before. I bet the sweetness and smell of the pepper would be attracting. Thanks!

  6. Lulu, I laughed when you admitted (publicly) that you don't like cooked red peppers. My across-the-street neighbor Brooke hates bell peppers raw or cooked, and her husband loves them. So, you're not the only one.

    Pam, soooooo much easier than roasting whole peppers.

    Lydia, while I was experimenting I made a salad very similar to what you're describing, just delish.

    Sherrie, I think they would keep at least a week in the fridge.

    M&M Sound, they do smell great while they're roasting.

  7. One more reason to get an outdoor grill! Fabulous tutorial, Kalyn. Those roasted peppers look delicious.

  8. Roasted red peppers are among my favorite vegetables. In the winter time I make them on my gas stove. It makes the house smell delicious!

  9. thanks for the primer. i 'll try it your way next time. lovely pics.

  10. Yeah, when they're whole they don't always want to sit just the way you want them to. Cutting them in fourths is brill!
    You rock, Kalyn. And you're always grilling this time of year... Perfect.

  11. grilled peppers are probably my favorite food...or really close. they're so amazing! we always add spices, I'll post for sure when peppers are in season.

  12. Roasted red peppers are one of my favorites things! Unfortunately I will have to stick with the broiler method for the time being though.

  13. What a great idea! I always do mine on the gas burner of my stove, and they usually end up making a mess.

  14. I love roasted bell peppers.
    I usually roast them whole but I think I'll try your way. It seems much easier.
    Yes, I'm going to BlogHer. I look forward to seeing you there.

  15. I love all roasted peppers, but I prefer to roast my own whenever possible. Nice post, Kalyn.

    Thanks for sharing!


  16. wow those look gorgeous, lemme try this weekend :) thanks for the idea!

  17. Yeah, I think this was way below your skill level. Nice to share with others though, that's always a good thing.

    You, need to look in to cold smoking. It not that tough and smoking your own peppers, onions and such things sends goodness to a completely different level. Even years later, I've never had better chipotle peppers than my own.

    MmMmmMM, cold smoking.


  18. Karina, thanks. So much easier than I thought it would be.

    Christine, I'm imagining that smell!

    Bee, thanks.

    CC, just that little change made a big difference for me. (You rock too!)

    Cheryl, will watch for it.

    Kevin, broiler will work too, no problem!

    Pam, I haven't tried that, but this was really easy.

    Chigiy, can't wait to meet you!

    Lynne and Mochachocolat rita, you're welcome.

    Biggles, yes, but if it was so easy why did it take me so long to try it. Smoked peppers sounds awesome. Maybe when I'm retired (soon!) I will look into getting a smoker.

  19. I love roasting my own peppers! I've been getting adventurous lately and roasting a variety of peppers like cubanelles, poblanos, hungarians....they are great with everything!

  20. We don't have a barbecue, but we do have a gas stove. First we put down some aluminium foil around the gas burner so it doesn't get messy, then we put a metal cake rack over the burner which we use flat out. We put the bell pepper straight over the flame on the cake rack and rotate the pepper as it chars, which is usually pretty even. Our cake rack is large enough to extend over two burners, so we can do two peppers at a time. Curses to Biggles and his smoker, I'm drooling!

  21. Aggie, I have some poblanos coming in my garden; can't wait to roast them.

    Neil, your method sounds very ingenious. I agree, Biggles is always tempting me to get new things!

  22. I eat roasted peppers with the peel on, is that a problem? I suppose they taste good both ways :)

  23. Hillary, not a problem at all. I eat them raw all the time with the peel on too.

  24. I dunno. You grilled fruit yet? I did it years ago, but saw someone, somewhere, grilling halves of grapefruit. Will be going that direction, very soon.

    Don't wait for retirement!


  25. OH, forgot to mention a smoker is easier than a grill!


  26. Biggles, I'm doing a huge project on the outside of my house this fall (siding, eaves, rain gutters, porch, steps, sidewalks, new covered patio, new deck, etc.) and probably a lot more money than I'm thinking, so a smoker is definitely not in the budget this year. But I am retiring NEXT YEAR. Oh, sorry to yell, but I am a little excited about it.

  27. Doing all that outside work: this is a perfect time to build an outdoor wood-burning oven. Let's all take up a collection for Kalyn's oven!!

  28. Hi CC,
    I've been trying to e-mail you to see if you're coming to the gathering on Sunday? Hope so, would love to see you.

    It's a nice thought, but remember, this is Utah, too cold to even be outside for much of the year, and restrictions on burning for lots of the year too. Probably not too practical here. Rand and Bradley were also trying to convince me to get an "indoor-outdoor room" instead of a covered patio when I reminded them it would cost a fortune to heat it for much of the year.

  29. CC, also forgot to mention that for a major part of the year when it's not too cold to be outside, it's too HOT to want to have a wood-burning stove going for any reason. Like now, when it's been 90+ here for weeks!

  30. In the winter, I roast peppers in our little toaster oven. I only just recently realized that it was OKAY to cut and core the peppers before roasting them... duh....

    It's WAY easier to peel off the skin when the seeds have already been removed, isn't it?


    P.S. I agree that using the barbecue to roast the peppers is preferable - I love the little bit of smoky flavour that permeates the peppers.

  31. Perfect!!! Thanks Kalyn, this post on roasted red peppers was the most thorough after doing a Google search. Squidoo can't even touch this post! I have some roasted red pepper soup to make, so keep posting please.

  32. Marlou, so glad it worked well for you! Thanks for the nice feedback.

  33. Kalyn,
    Your blog has not only inspired me to try roasting the box of peppers that were just dropped off, but it got me to finally get a blog account. I think that is what you call it.
    Thank you sooooo much for the detail, both with roasting the peppers and freezing basil.
    My Hubby will flip when I roast them tomorrow.

  34. Tapestrygal, hope you enjoy the peppers, and congrats on becoming official too!

  35. Thanks for the pepper roasting instructions. We just roasted 4 tonight and they were great!!

  36. Oh good, so glad it was helpful for you!

  37. I googled "roasting bells peppers on a grill" and your pictures and descriptions were exactly what I grill was pretty hot and I got the perfect char within 10'ish minutes and the skins peeled off. Thank you so much!

  38. This looks perfect for what to do with all the peppers from our garden. Now retired, we put in a big one last summer, and just simply froze a bunch to try during the winter.
    Just to share, I stumbled upon a red pepper called Carmen, bought two plants at a local gardening shop, they are the very best sweet red peppers we have ever had, we just ate them whole and raw. They produced from June through October here in North Florida.
    Thank you again for all that you share so generously, it is so helpful!

  39. Francie, thanks for the tip about Carmen peppers. I will look for those in the spring!

  40. This was so easy and great! My first time ever roasting pepper and it worked perfectly. Thanks a bunch :)

  41. Eva, you're welcome. Glad you had fun trying my method.

  42. If you haven't bought a smoker yet, until you get one you can just use an inexpensive smoker box, sold for around $10 at Lowe's and other hardware stores. It's a small stainless steel container with a perforated sliding lid. You fill it with wood chips of your choice (also at the hardware store), turn one side of the grill on high, set the box over the flame, close the lid, and wait till smoke starts to pour steadily out of the holes. You can also use a foil packet of wood chips and poke holes in it with a skewer. I don't bother soaking the chips first.

    When the smoke starts to flow, cook/smoke on the opposite side of the grill, at the appropriate temperature for the food. For delicate fish and seafood, once the smoker gets going turn the heat underneath it down to medium–low and leave the grill off on the other side—low and slow does the trick.

    I've tried maple, pecan, and fruit woods for a subtle flavour, but my hands-down favourite is mesquite, which is unmistakably bold. So far, I've smoked salmon, eggplant and other veg, and vertical-roasted chicken. Now preparing smoked eggplant for baba ganouj, and I have a bunch of peppers from a neighbour's garden, which I'll add to the grill.

    Thanks for the tip about seeding and quartering the peppers. I'll also use a grill wok (the perforated, slant-sided kind) to hold them. Eggplant, halved lengthwise, goes in foil with the top open a bit.

  43. I agree that prepping the peppers and cutting them into segments before roasting is easier and less messy but I have not had good success with this method; the segments tend to dry out and scorch or burn rather than just char the skin. Also agree that the irregular shape of whole bell peppers can be a problem. I use Carmen, or sweet Italian, peppers which are longer and have flatter sides; they are fantastic.

  44. I haven't had trouble with the peppers drying out or getting too done, but if you have a gas grill you could solve it by turning the heat lower. Haven't heard of this type of pepper, but they sound great!


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