Do you love the taste of fresh, artisan romaine lettuce? If so, you’re going to love this easy step-by-step guide on how to smoke it on your Pit Boss pellet grill! In just a few short minutes, you’ll have tender and juicy lettuce that is perfect for salads, wraps, or just eating plain. Let’s get started!
Can You Grill Artisan Romaine Lettuce on a Pit Boss Pellet Grill?
Yes, you absolutely can cook Artisan lettuce on the Pit Boss pellet grill, Traeger, or any other brand pellet grill. If you don’t own a pellet grill, you can use a gas, charcoal, or propane grill.
Once you cook artisan wedges over the grill, you’ll never want to eat your salad any other way. Most people only use their grills for cooking and smoking meats, but you can use it to make great tasting vegetables that will enhance your meals.
This guide will walk you through step by step on how to grill lettuce. But first, let’s take a look at what artisan lettuce is and some tips on how to select the best head of lettuce for grilling.
What You Need
- Grill (gas, pellet, or charcoal)
- Romaine hearts (one half per person)
- Stainless steel tongs
- Your choice of seasonings (I like olive oil, salt, black pepper, and garlic cloves)
What is Artisan Romaine Lettuce?
Artisan romaine is a type of romaine lettuce, but it is in the form of a loaf-shaped, elongated head. It is a highly nutritious vegetable that is high in minerals such as; potassium, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. It is also a good source of vitamins A, C, K and folate.
The hearts leaves range in color from translucent ivory to lime green. They are often referred to as “baby green romaine” because they are picked at a younger stage of growth. Thanks to their texture, they hold up well during the grilling process.
Why Grill Romaine Lettuce on the Pit Boss Pellet Grill?
If you’ve never grilled vegetables on your pellet grill, you’re probably wondering why in the world would anyone want to grill lettuce? Well, there are several reasons.
For one, it’s a great way to add flavor to your salad without using any additional dressing or sauce. The smoky flavor of the grill will infuse into the lettuce and give it a unique taste that you’ll love.
Another reason is that grilling lettuce helps to retain its nutrients. When you cook lettuce in water (such as boiling), 50% of the vitamins and minerals are leached out into the water. You will still lose some nutrients when grilling the lettuce, but not nearly as much as if you boiled it.
Lastly, grilling lettuce is a quick and easy way to cook it. It only takes a few minutes on the grill, so it’s perfect for those busy weeknights when you don’t have a lot of time to cook.
Can You Smoke Artisan Lettuce?
I know that most people say you can smoke anything on a pellet grill. However, the truth is that some things are not meant to be smoked, and romaine lettuce is one of those things.
While I haven’t personally tried it, I can only imagine that it will come out limp, wet, and just not very good. Although, you’re welcome to try it, for the best results, you’ll want to cook it on high for a minimum of 5-8 minutes.
How to Prepare the Lettuce for the Grill
Cleaning and Prepping
Wash the lettuce under cold water to remove dirt, and debris, making sure you get between the leaves. Make sure you’re careful not to separate the leaves, as you want to leave the lettuce head intact. Then use a paper towel to wipe off any excess water.
Whenever I’m grilling romaine lettuce, I always purchase the romaine hearts from Costco. You can get at a decent price, plus they are pre-washed, so you don’t have to worry about it, like you would if you purchased whole heads of lettuce.
Of course, you want to make sure you get organic if possible.
How to Cut the Lettuce
Once the lettuce is washed, use a sharp knife and cut the head of lettuce vertically, or lengthwise. This keeps the leaves connected at the core, making it easier to grill.
Seasoning the Romaine Hearts
Using the right seasoning is what makes the lettuce taste amazing. We like to keep it simple and use olive oil (we love Tuscan olive oil), salt, and pepper. Season the tops (cut portion) of the lettuce, making sure the seasoning gets in between the leaves.
I like to season the lettuce 10-30 minutes before placing it on the grill. This ensures that the seasoning has enough time to flavor the lettuce.
How to Grill Artisan Lettuce on a Pit Boss?
Step One: Preheat the Grill
Before preheating the grill, make sure the grill is clean and free of debris. You can use a brush to remove any excess residue. Then turn the grill on high (which will also remove any leftover residue) and let it heat up for 15-20 minutes.
Step Two: Grill Settings
Grill the lettuce over the highest setting on indirect heat. Meaning, the flame broiler is completely closed. Cooking it over direct heat will cause the lettuce to burn and become inedible.
Step Three: Placing the Lettuce on the Grill
Place the lettuce, cut side down on the grill grates, and close the lid. Grill for approximately 2-3 minutes per side or until you see grill marks. The time will vary depending on how hot your grill is running.
After about three minutes, open the lid and flip the romaine lettuce to the opposite side. Close the lid and let it cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Remember, you’re not trying to cook it, instead you’re looking for a slightly charred, but still mostly green look. The short cooking time will give it just enough time for the seasoning to meld together, resulting in a flavorful bite.
Avoid using a silicone mat like I did, as the lettuce won’t char as well as placing it directly on the grates.
Step Four: Remove from Grill and Serve
Once you see grill marks, remove the lettuce from the grill, and transfer to a plate. I like to drizzle mine with a little bit of balsamic vinegar before serving.
That said, you don’t need to add any salad dressing, as the lettuce tastes great as is without extra seasoning.
What Temperature Do You Cook Artisan Lettuce?
For best results, cook the lettuce on 500°F (or as high as your grill goes). This will enable you to grill the lettuce quickly, without leaving it on the grill too long.
How Long Does It Take to Grill Lettuce?
Cooking the perfect grilled lettuce takes about 6 minutes total cook time. The cook time can be affected by the ambient weather, grill temperature, and the size of the lettuce heads.
That said, it doesn’t take long to grill lettuce, so make sure you don’t leave them unattended. Overcooking them will result in brown, soggy romaine that no one will eat.
Best Pellets to Grill The Lettuce?
Since the lettuce will be on the grill for less than 10 minutes, it doesn’t matter what type of pellets you use. However, whenever I cook any type of vegetables, I always use Apple flavored.
Even though you’re not smoking the lettuce, it may still have a small hint of smoke flavor. That said, it won’t be extremely noticeable, so don’t expect a smoky flavor like you get when you smoke meat.
Do You Let The Lettuce Rest?
As soon as the lettuce is done, you want to cut it up and serve it hot. I like to drizzle mine with a little bit of balsamic vinegar (or you could use Caesar dressing) and serve immediately.
If you wait too long, the lettuce will begin to wilt, and it won’t taste as fresh.
How to Serve Grilled Lettuce
You can serve the hearts whole or slice them up and serve as a salad. Regardless, they make a great addition to any type of dish such as; tacos, steak, burgers, chicken, or fish.
You can also slice the hearts and eat it as a salad by itself. Some people add other ingredients such as bacon, croutons, red onions, etc and make this their main dish.
Either way, you can’t go wrong when grilling artisan lettuce.
Best Type of Grill to Use for Grilling Lettuce?
I’ve grilled lettuce on the Pit Boss and my gas grill. What I’ve learned is that the lettuce tastes much better on the gas grill. It does taste good on the Pit Boss, but we prefer cooking it over a gas grill.
Cooking it on the gas grill results in a different texture and the lettuce is firmer than cooking it on the pellet grill. Of course, you’ll have to test it out yourself and cook the lettuce over gas, charcoal, and a pellet grill to see which you prefer.
If you’ve never grilled artisan lettuce on the Pit Boss, I highly recommend you give it a try. It’s an easy and quick way to cook the lettuce, plus it adds great flavor. Just be sure to season it well and don’t overcook it, or you’ll end up with a mushy mess.
It can be a great way to add more nutritional greens to your families diet.
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