Grilled Acorn Squash with Smoky Maple Butter
40 to 60 minutes
For hearty grillers or our friends in warm-weather climes, this super simple side is the perfect combination of sweet and savory. Plus, it not only helps free up precious oven space, but is a really effective way to get your obnoxious uncle out of the kitchen for a bit (“Hey, Uncle Jack. I’ve got an important job for you. Just grab your coat…”).
2 acorn squash (1 1 ⁄ 2 – 2 pounds each)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 teaspoon smoked paprika (pimentón) 1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1. Start the coals or heat a gas grill for medium direct cooking. Make sure the grates are clean.
2. Cut the squash in half from top to bottom. Use a spoon, serrated grapefruit spoon, or melon baller to remove all the seeds and fibers. If necessary, take a thin slice of the uncut side so the squash half sits on the cutting board without rocking. Melt the butter in small skillet over medium heat. Add the paprika and cumin and stir until fragrant. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the maple syrup. Brush the seasoned butter over the cut sides and interior of the squash. Pour any remaining butter into the wells of the squash. (You can prepare the squash up to this point several hours in advance, cover, and refrigerate until you’re ready to grill.)
3. Put the squash on the grill directly over the fire, skin side down. Close the lid and cook until the flesh is fork-tender, 25 to 45 minutes, depending on the size; start checking doneness at 20 minutes. Transfer to a platter and serve.
Grilled Acorn Squash Wedges with Smoky Maple Butter
Faster, with more tasty surface area for the flavored butter to coat: Prepare a medium indirect fire. After removing the seeds, cut the squash into 1- to 1 1 ⁄ 2-inch wedges. Increase the butter to 12 tablespoons (1 1 ⁄ 2 sticks). Pour the flavored butter into a large bowl, add the squash wedges, and toss until they are evenly coated. Put the wedges on the grill directly over the fire (use a perforated grill pan if you have one) and cook, turning as needed, until they are well browned, 4 to 8 minutes per side. Move to the indirect portion of the grill, close the lid, and cook until tender, another 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a platter, drizzle with any remaining butter, and serve.
Grilled Acorn Squash Wedges with Soy-Honey-Ginger Butter
Omit the paprika and cumin, substitute honey for the maple syrup, and add 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger to the butter.