When you've got a little extra room on the grill, consider elegant asparagus to go with your fish, chicken or steak. The quick, hot cooking method brings out the veggie's natural sugars. In addition, the long, spear-like shape of asparagus means that you won't have to skewer them or wrap them to keep them from falling through the grill.
Prepare your charcoal, wood or gas grill for cooking at medium-high heat.
Wash asparagus spears and pat them dry. If some of the spears have tough patches, peel these scaly bits away.
Place the asparagus in a mixing bowl and drizzle the pieces with a few spoonfuls of olive oil and generous dashes of salt and pepper.
Set the spears on the pre-heated grill. Leave enough space between each spear so that you have room to roll each one.
Cook the asparagus for 5 to 8 minutes, turning the asparagus frequently. Take them off the grill with tongs once the spears have reached the level of charring and tenderness you prefer. The latter can be determined by piercing a spear with a fork or by bending one.
Place the grilled asparagus on a serving platter and add any desired toppings. These might include butter or olive oil, grated cheese, fresh lemon juice or herbs.
When you have an option, choose spears that are thicker than 1/3 inch. The fatter spears stand up best to high heat, allowing them to blacken on the exterior without over-drying the interior.
Keeping the tougher ends of the asparagus spears intact while grilling makes turning the longer pieces easier. It also gives guests something to hold onto if they choose to hold them with their fingers, picnic-style.
If you prefer to trim the asparagus before grilling, snap each spear where the tough part meets the more flexible, edible part -- usually 2 or 3 inches from the base of the spear.
Use long-handled equipment to oil the grill before cooking, if needed, as well as to turn the asparagus and other foods.