Dirty beets: Fire cooked beetroots

Dirty beets: Fire cooked beetroots

Another favourite side of mine - not only because they are super easy (put them in the coals whilst BBQing other stuff, that’s literally it!), they also plate up great, taste great and as usual, are a little but different that can add a bit of wow factor (or at least a conversation piece) if you are entertaining.

If you are going to do this, I’d aim to get evenly sized beetroots so they cook the same and ideally not too small (you won’t be eating the charred outer shell of the vegetable, you will be scooping out the inside with a spoon, so you want enough vegetable to make the endeavour worthwhile). Because this technique requires live coals, you won’t be able to do this on a pellet grill (like a Traeger), so if you are using a pellet grill I’d just go for a regular roast beetroot. But anything where you have access to live fire (burning not too hot) then you should be good - Kamado or bullet smokers (Kamado Joe, Big Green Egg, Weber Smokey Mountain, Weber Kettle etc) are all perfect for the job.

The downside, is that I have on more than one occasion forgotten they are in the coals (because once the grill is clear, who remembers to check!?), and I leap up either half way through or at the end of the meal and shout “THE BEETS!”.

This is probably my favourite way to enjoy beetroot - it has won over a few people who usually aren’t a fan of beetroots. It’s an earthier, deeper flavour - nice and soft and just so simple. Similar to the taste and experience of roast beetroots, but because they are cooked whole and you don’t eat the charred outer part, its just the softer inner flesh of the beetroot its just great, add a bit of salt and chilli oil (or balsamic vinegar) and you couldn’t want for much more.

I wouldn’t light up the BBQ just to cooke these on their own, but its such an easy side it makes sense to always chuck them on with a BBQ!

  • As many beets as you cook!
  • 2 minutes
  • 2 hours


  • Fresh, uncooked beetroots (as many as you want)
  • Olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • Chilli oil (optional)


  1. Set up your bbq or grill for cooking at about 110-135C. The exact temperature is less important, but we want smouldering coals rather than a roaring fire
  2. Trim the leaves off the beetroots and rub them with olive oil
  3. Gently but the beetroots whole, unwrapped directly into the hot coals (be careful, unsurprisingly, hot coals are hot!)
  4. Cook for about two hours - I usually rotate them half way through cooking but sometimes forget, so don't worry too much
  5. Serve up - chop the beets in to quarters, plate them up and sprinkle with coarse salt and a drizzle of chilli oil (advise guests not to eat the charred outer shell of the beets!)

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