Grilling eggplant is a fantastic way to add a smoky note to its sweet flavor. In this video, Fine Cooking test kitchen contributor Nicki Sizemore demonstrates how to grill your eggplant so it cooks all the way through without getting too charred on the outside.
The simplest method for grilling eggplant is to cut it crosswise into thick slices, brush the slices with olive oil and sprinkle them with salt, and grill over medium-high direct heat, turning once. Usually, this will cook the slices all the way through, but if you find your eggplant is still raw, there are a few tricks to get the insides cooked before the outsides burn.
Great ways to use your grilled eggplant:
How to Grill Eggplant
Turn all burners on your gas grill to medium high, or if you're using a charcoal grill, let your coals burn down until you can hold your hand a foot above them for 3 seconds.
While the grill's heating, we prep the eggplant: use a vegetable peeler to peel lengthwise strips of skin from the eggplant: to give it this striped pattern. When the entire skin is left on it can be too tough and bitter, but leaving on some of the skin helps it stay intact and just, well, makes it a little prettier.
Slice the eggplant into rounds. The thickness of the slice can depend on what you're using it for, but it should usually be around 1/2 inch thick: they need to be thick enough that they won't go completely limp when they're cooked.
Brush the eggplant with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Flip them over and do the same on the other side. Put the eggplant slices on the grill, and close the lid. Cook, turning once, until both sides have good grill marks, about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
At this point, cut into a slice to see if your eggplant is fully cooked. The eggplant will often look nicely cooked but will still be raw in the middle. To make sure it's cooked well all the way through, so you want to give them a little carryover cooking. There are a few ways to do this. You can stack them up and put them either on the grill's upper rack, if you have one, or just turn off the burners and let them sit in the ambient heat of the grill. Or you can just take them off the grill and wrap them in foil. However you do it, let them sit in this residual heat for another 5 to 15 minutes, and you'll find the eggplant is perfectly tender.