Roasting Garlic

Garlic is great in many foods and an essential ingredient in almost every culture. It is often minced and sautéed to flavor a sauce or the cooking oil before adding other ingredients or meats. Raw garlic is harsh and sulfury, strong enough to ward off vampires. But it gets mellow, nutty, and sweet when cooked. But not too mellow. It still retains its unique character. One of the best ways to mellow garlic is to roast it with some olive oil. It makes a great spread on bread, toast, or crackers. I also use it in mashed potatoes, salad dressings, soups, and sauces. It's easy.

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Roasting garlic is an easy way to amp up almost any recipe and turn plain bread, toast, or crackers into an extraordinary accompaniment to any meal.

Course. Side dish.

Cuisine. American.

Makes. 1 head of garlic.

Takes. 5 minutes to prepare. 20-30 minutes to roast.


1 head of garlic

2 tablespoons olive oil

salt & pepper


1) Setup your grill for 2-zone or Indirect cooking and preheat to medium.

2) With a sharp knife, cut off the pointy end of each garlic head about 1/2" below the top of the head. This should be deep enough to expose the flesh of most of the cloves within. If not, cut a little further down. Separate the cloves slightly so the head is loose and there is a bit of space between cloves.

3) Tear off a square of aluminum foil, and sit the head on the foil. Wrap the lower half of the head in foil so it will act like a heat shield during re-entry and a base for it to stand up on. Drip some olive oil over the bare garlic meat and let a little run down between the cloves. If you like, sprinkle a little salt and pepper on the exposed flesh.

4) Place the whole shootin' match on the grill in the indirect heat zone. After about 30 minutes stick a pointy knife into one of the center cloves. If it meets resistance, cook another 15 to 30 minutes. If it slides in like buttah, it is done.

Stuck indoors?

Take large cloves, chop off the tips and stem ends of the cloves. Place the flat edge of a chef's knife on each clove and press down until they are crushed, then peel off the skin. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with about 1/4" olive oil. It doesn't have to be really expensive extra virgin. Warm the oil over medium heat and add the cloves. There should be tiny bubbles coming from the cloves. If not, turn up the heat a skosh. Let them simmer until the edges turn golden, but not brown. Remove them with a slotted spoon. Let the oil cool and save it in the fridge. It is now garlic infused and great for salad dressings or sautéing.

In a big hurry?

Cut off the garlic's top, soak it under water for about 3 minutes, wrap in plastic wrap, poke a few holes in the wrap so the steam will escape, and microwave on high for about a minute.

Make extra

You can serve it like this and just spread it on bread or spread it on bread and grill it, or pop the cloves out of the paper, put them in a plastic bag in the fridge for a week, or even freeze them. Keep some on hand. You'll be glad you did.

Meathead Goldwyn

Meathead is the founder and publisher of, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.



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