Grilled Smoked Cabbage on the PK Grill
I sent the boys to get a head of lettuce for a salad, and they found a great price on a big old heavy head of . . . cabbage which they have never liked for some strange reason. I assured them that they were not going to like a tossed salad made with cabbage, but I can make lemonade if brought lemons (and again I do like cabbage).
Cabbage does take quite a while to cook no matter how you slice or dice it, unless you want to make slaw, and that's what the boys have never much liked.
Grilling caggage is not hard, and it keeps the cabbage smell out of the kitchen. It does take a little time, but I just put slower grilling foods like cabbage on the grill and then do other things while the meal is smoking along.
How to Get Cabbage Ready for the Barbecue Grill
There are a number of ways to grill cabbage. You can cut it up and do chunks or wedges. You can wrap cabbage in aluminum foil (a little quicker method - but losing a lot of the smoke flavor).
In this case, I decided to grill the whole cabbage head but add some meat for my meat eating guys. They are BIG on meat around here.
First, I cored the cabbage. Just use a knife and cut around the hard core from the bottom. Kind of bump the cabbage head with your hand or on the counter, and the core comes out.
At this point you sort of have a bowl (but a quicker grilling cabbage with the hard core out).
With the empty space where you cored the cabbage, you can do all kinds of things. Some people put in onions and butter. Very easy. Nice low cost dish that tastes great.
I got some cooked smoked sausage IGA brand (which is a family favorite and quite inexpensive) and rubbed sauage slices with Dizzy Pig seasoning which is a barbecue seasoning or rub and one of our favorites. There are many brands on the market, so play around. Just don't go too heavy on any barbecue product until you know it's a flavor that you really enjoy.
I put the sausages in the hole of the cabbage where the core had been.
I had a little bacon left from breakfast (uncooked), so I wrapped a couple of slices around the top of the cabbage (which I guess is really the bottom, but I had it sitting up that direction). I just drapped the bacon and pressed it down to make a pretty circle.
I also had some onion slices, so I put a couple of rings at the top to cap off the cabbage - for eye appeal and flavor.
Setting up the BBQ Grill to Barbecue Cabbage
I decided to use charcoal on the cabbage to give it a solid grilled and smoked flavor. In this case, I offset the charcoal. In other words, I had coals on one side of the grill going but not the other. This is indirect heat grilling and good for things you want to grill low and slow (foods that don't cook or grill real fast). You can do this over gas by only using the burners on one side - one side on and one side off.
I let the charcoal burn down with no flames and then put the cabbage on the cool side (the side without charcoal). It still has heat but not direct and real hot. The heat just circulates inside the BBQ grill.
To keep the cabbage in place, I took aluminum foil and just made a ring as you can see. That just keeps the cabbage standing up.
Grilling the Cabbage
I put the cabbage on the grill on the foil ring on the cool side, put the lid down on the barbecue grill, and opened the vents on the PK grill to allow the air to flow and keep the heat going to grill the cabbage but at a lower and slower temperature.
Then, I just checked the cabbage every 15 to 20 minutes to make sure it was still grilling (coals still going) and that things were not getting too hot and scorching the grilled cabbage. The PK (portable kitchen outdoor cooker) grill is great at holding temperatures, so this was super easy.
It took around 45 minutes to slow grill or smoke the cabbage. I just tapped the sides of the grilling cabbage with the tongs. If you have eaten cabbage, you can tell if it's soft enough or not (or you could cut a little chunk and taste to be sure). Your temperatures can vary in grilling, so do watch, because you could be done quicker, or it could take a little longer. The 45 minutes is a pretty good ballpark point.
If the cabbage is grilling faster, cut down the heat. You can also lay a little tin foil around the cabbage kind of like a tent to protect the outer leaves from getting too dark if it's grilling quite fast (but can also peel off those very outside leaves too).
Is Grilled Cabbage Good?
If I had to pick the best of all the ways I've had cabbage, I'd say grilled ranks first. The cabbage is not quite as strong on the cabbage taste, and that grilling smoke gives it a wonderful boost.
In this case with the sausages in the cabbage, then it's a full meal on the grill which is nice. We had meat, cabbage, a few bits of bacon all round and some onion. All these flavors came together and melded for a really great cabbage dish.
You can, of course, go veggie on the cabbage and have that on the side. Just change up the stuffing. But, you may want to add some butter or marinade if you don't have meat drippings from the sausage and bacon. Some type of moisture does help.
Don't be afraid to play around when you grill. You just want to go low and slow on cabbage and make sure it's soft in the end. The ideas for stuffing or seasonings is unlimited.