As much as I love spending hours prepping and smoking meats, there are days when I simply don’t have the time. Melt-in-your-mouth beef-wrapped asparagus – or meatcicles as my young son once referred to them – are the perfect cook when time is tight.
Use fresh, thick asparagus. If you can only find the thinner variety, that's OK too, but use two or three stalks per meatcicle. Snap off the bottom inch or two of the stalk’s tough, woody end.
For the beef, very thin shabu-shabu cut ribeye works best. You can also use thin-shaved pork if you’d prefer but it's a little tougher to wrap. Or better yet, do both. We wouldn’t want to show favoritism to any one barnyard animal. Costco will occasionally have thin-shaved ribeye and Don Quijote regularly does. If you don’t see it in the meat case, ask the butcher to shave a ribeye roast for you.
Carefully pull apart a few razor-thin sheets of beef and place them flat on your work surface. I use a wire rack that spans my kitchen sink, making cleanup a breeze. Lightly sprinkle your favorite rub on the beef then wrap it tightly around the flowered, speared end of the asparagus. Once wrapped, give the beef a tight squeeze to help prevent it from unraveling while cooking.
Place in refrigerator to cool while you heat up the grill.
This is a simple cook over direct heat. Depending on your coals and the size of your meatcicles, it often takes less than 10 minutes. With such a fast cook time, the meat will not absorb much smoke flavor, so consider adding a chunk of kiawe, pecan, apple or cherry if you’d like.
Arrange your coals into a long strip about 8 inches wide. Set the beef-wrapped asparagus on the grill with the wrapped end over the hot coals and the unwrapped end over the cooler areas.
The trick is to grill the meat to caramelized deliciousness while keeping the asparagus crisp but tender. Turn the meat to ensure all sides cook evenly. Asparagus tends to keep cooking after being removed from the heat. To avoid overcooking, pull them off before they go limp. The other trick is to eat these quickly before they melt in somebody else’s mouth.
Scott Schumaker is president of aio Media and interim publisher of Hawaii Home + Remodeling. He is also an avid barbecuer, who often tempts co-workers by posting images of his culinary feats on his Instagram, @schuboxphoto. We convinced him to share his secrets each week this summer with our readers in our Fired Up Friday blog. His grill smoker of choice is a Big Green Egg he purchased from POP Marine and Fishing. He also uses a Weber Summit gas grill, especially for rotisserie cooking, which he got at AirGas Gaspro Kapolei.