Grilled Whole Vidalia Onion

Vidalia onions are unique.  There are several sweet onions available, but Vidalias are the best in my not very humble opinion.  They are grown in Vidalia, Georgia where there is a unique and localized soil.  Growing onions in this soil produces those sweet, amazing onions.  They range in size from huge to medium.  I like the ones that are medium the best, although making Onion Blossoms and onion rings and strings from the huge ones is   Really.

They are sweet because they are extremely low on sulphuric acid – the stuff that makes your eyes burn when onion are cut, and gives some people tummy troubles.  And if you are truly blessed by the onion gods, you will also find during the brief season, fresh green Vidalia onions complete with their luscious green tops.  I like to saute these in butter (yes, butter) as a side to cooked meats or a veggie plate.

When I was a kid, we were big on “cooking out”.  A neighbor of ours, the famous Jamie Pollard previously mentioned in a post about my first haiku, shared this recipe with us.  I don’t know the origin of this recipe, but he gave it to us after one of his summer forays to  visit with friends to The Pines at Fire Island.  I am forever thankful to those good men who fixed this and how it worked its way down South to us.  I think this was a frequent, favorite recipe during the late 50’s/early 60’s, either on the grill or in the oven.  But this is how we found this recipe.

At any rate, it is scrumptious. And easy!!!  Good with burgers, steaks, chicken, pork, seafood.  After you get it ready for the grill and wrapped in foil, it looks like a giant Hershey kiss.  Perfect – sweet Vidalia onion – kiss kiss kiss.  And when you open to serve, oh my!  The aroma will just make you want to turn around and slap somebody, as we say down here.

Recipe for One Onion
1 medium onion per person
several pats of butter (save some to spread on top of onion)
1 tsp of Worcestershire sauce
salt and pepper to taste
Optional: few drops of red wine
Optional: 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. of boullion granules or crushed boullion cube, beef or chicken flavor
Optional: sprinkle of paprika to add some color

Peel onion, removing top and making flat surface. Keep bottom (part that looks like little hairy roots) intact. Place onion on square of heavy duty foil for wrapping. Using either an apple corer or very sharp paring knife, remove center of onion to depth of halfway through onion, making a square hole. Put butter in hole and pour in Worcestershire sauce. spread some butter on top of onion, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Carefully pull foil up to cover and wrap onion. keep upright. Place on grill over medium heat and bake 30 – 45 minutes until tender or, place in baking dish in preheated oven 375 F. – for same amount of time.  When cooking on the grill, I VERY carefully will use a long bamboo skewer to test.  I hold the onion with tongs and poke through the foil with the skewer to test tenderness.  I do this after 30 minutes.  You can also put them all in one package.  To do this, I line an 8×8 baking dish with foil and place four onions in the dish and prepare.  I then pull the foil over top and wrap and cover and transfer the whole package to the grilling surface or, place in the oven.  Add about 5 minutes per onion to cooking time.

grilled whole onion


30 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. machinist
    May 25, 2014 @ 15:14:13

    “… in my not very humble opinion.”

    Nor should it be! It is wise, well educated and well informed. It is highly respected and held in high esteem by many of us, who seek it out. See it through our admiring eyes, please.


    • kanzensakura
      May 25, 2014 @ 15:22:15

      Thank you, gentle Mac. It is always good when you visit. Being a very curous old cat and educated in culinary chemistry, I enjoy sharing information when I can. And those who love onions but get tummy troubles from them, may try some of the sweet varieties and begin again to enjoy onions. 🙂 thank you again.


  2. Let's CUT the Crap!
    May 25, 2014 @ 16:21:00

    These sound fan-tas-TIC. It’s about 4:20 p.m. and I’m chomping at the bit for supper.


  3. Willy Nilly
    May 25, 2014 @ 17:37:45

    Ahhh the Vidalia onion. When I was just a tadpole, my grandparents would make the trek from Tallahassee Florida to Vidalia Georgia during the harvest to visit relatives and bring back as many sacks of onions as the truck would hold. You couldn’t buy them in any chain groceries. You had to have connections. And, they never lingered for sale for very long. When they got back, they distributed the onions to relatives and friends and the rest were canned, frozen, dried, and eaten in everything including the eggs for breakfast and the white beans and cornbread for dinner. Fried Vidalia onions and potatoes was my addiction. You have made my day with this post. Thank you KS 🙂


    • kanzensakura
      May 25, 2014 @ 18:44:15

      I am so glad! At the end of the season, I’ll buy several 20 lb. sacks and put in our utility refrigerator to store and keep them. and make onion relish and freeze. and fried potatoes and vidalias…a regular on our weekly menu. My grandfather would make this dish for breakfast – so simple….he would slice the vidalias and saute in butter until they were barely carmelized. In the skillet, he would break 4 eggs into nests of the onions, salt and pepper and then put the lid on to finish cooking the eggs. Oh my, breakfast of champions. he and my mother and I would chow down. it makes a good light supper too. He would drive his truck down to Vidalia and bring back sacks of them for family and friends. I would make a sandwich – thinly sliced onions in barely sweetened white vinegar for about an hour, and then place on a homemade biscuit with slices of tomato fresh out of the garden. I truly do love onions. A friend cross stitched a sampler for a birthday = A day without a Vidalia is like a day without sunshine…. Date: Sun, 25 May 2014 21:37:47 +0000 To:


      • Willy Nilly
        May 25, 2014 @ 19:04:12

        That just made me hungry:-) and gave me a recipe too! What parallels we have in our experiences. It makes it more than just an experience but now a way of life in a time when Southern culture thrived.


        • kanzensakura
          May 25, 2014 @ 20:11:56

          I have many of us Southern folk, over a certain age have these parallel experiences. I’ll have to get the link for Kerry’s blog – he is a great photographer from ‘bama, now living in Colombia with his wife.


        • kanzensakura
          May 25, 2014 @ 20:12:49

          As an addendum, he and I have had discussions about craving Green Top BBQ and a comparison of that vs. Eastern NC que.


          • Willy Nilly
            May 25, 2014 @ 20:18:59

            I fall into the category of complete BBQ lunatic. I loves me some BBQ. I have tried a lot of the different styles from different regions and decided I should just keep eating and not limit myself to my favorite. I attend the Jack Daniels annual BBQ from time to time. That is more fun than should be allowed.


            • kanzensakura
              May 25, 2014 @ 20:28:26

              Indeed. However, when offered Virginia bbq, claim to be vegan – really. these folks either chop it like sawdust or pull the meat into threads…then use a whole bunch of sweet sticky artificial smoke flavored sauce. I never thought I would find bbq I wouldn’t eat, but…. some is good though. those that claim to NC style or Texas style…no, they aren’t but are edible. they had a bbq cookoff several years ago – all the winners were from out of state. That should say something!


  4. wholeproduction
    May 25, 2014 @ 17:47:21

    Reblogged this on WHOLE.


  5. kanzensakura
    May 25, 2014 @ 18:55:05

    Thank you so much for your reblog!!!!


  6. huntmode
    May 25, 2014 @ 20:30:36

    Kanzen, I came to this recipe stuffed from eating a mess of crispy hash browns, 4 eggs over easy, 4 pieces of crispy bacon and two pieces of rye toast with slathers of butter, plus a tall glass of milk and the ubiquitous cup of coffee. I was so stuffed, I thought I might fall over… and now, I’m craving onions a la Kanzen!


    • kanzensakura
      May 25, 2014 @ 20:48:56

      Hooray!!! I do it again. Read my comment to WillyNilly about the eggs cooked in the onions. taste/mouth orgasm for days. My grandpa knew his onions!!! for a little ‘un, you make me proud when it comes to consuming breakfast food. Date: Mon, 26 May 2014 00:30:38 +0000 To:


  7. jaklumen
    May 25, 2014 @ 23:14:34

    There are several sweet onions available, but Vidalias are the best in my not very humble opinion.

    Them’s fightin’ words, Toni-san. *wink* I don’t think Vidalias are even available here, which happens to be 1 hour 30 mins or so from Walla Walla, where the Walla Walla sweet is grown. I’d be fine if you leveled that against the Hermiston or Texas sweet onions, but I still remember getting a box of early Arbini Walla Walla sweets when I was admitted to Whitman College (yes, in Walla Walla).

    Vidalia may have the better cachet and clout, but, I’ll stick with the local offerings, and/or whatever is cheapest. Unlikely to grow such myself– I sincerely doubt I could duplicate soil conditions.


    • kanzensakura
      May 26, 2014 @ 00:26:56

      Sorry. You keep your local Walla Wallas. I’ve had them, the Texas Sweets, the Mayan Sweets, I’ll take my Vidalia any day. Especially when they are fresh and attached to their luscious green tops.


      • jaklumen
        May 26, 2014 @ 00:50:37

        The furthest east I’ve ever gone is Detroit/Ann Arbor, MI, so, eating a Vidalia fresh and local is not going to be too likely.

        Besides… I *have* to have a little local pride, somehow. Much of the nation (especially Sea-Tac, though) acts ashamed of Hanford and is staunchly anti-nuclear. In my days of Facebook, I’d find people slam my hometown area numerous times, as if my home was somewhere to be endured long enough to be fled.

        No one says, “Wow, Washington potatoes are the best!” even though we grow more than Idaho. Even when Washington apples are mentioned, there’s always someone up Northeast that will proclaim the Mahcoun is superior. The mint of the Yakima Valley is not in the national consciousness, either.

        So it comes back to Walla Walla sweet onions. That is the ONLY thing that anyone consistently recognizes.

        I’m hungry, we are scraping the cupboards here, the pain has been even WORSE the past few days, our grill is broken, so YES I am grumpy, grouchy, and rubbed the wrong way about a post that says “Mmm, mmm, these are the best!” when I can’t easily get any of that to eat.


        • kanzensakura
          May 26, 2014 @ 01:24:27

          Oh well. I have found, through long experience, when one is in pain and hungry, life still goes on. I just hang on and know it will get better and when I can, I will enjoy myself and make up for lost time. Since you educated me about the potatoes, I have been most mindful of them. Vidalias don’t get shipped around much. It is good to have pride in something from where you live or where one is from. I will say for Virginia….they have really sucky barbecue. the pits. I am going back to studying. I too am in much physical pain, my right hand isn’t working, and my antidepressants seem to have turned into tictacs for all the good they have been doing me. I have a huge test Wednesday and pain or no pain, sleep or no sleep, I intend to pass with a decent grade. I hope things get better for you soon. Keep the faith, hold on, and keep moving forward. Date: Mon, 26 May 2014 04:50:38 +0000 To:


  8. FlaHam
    May 26, 2014 @ 07:33:16

    Kanzen, I love onion, and I love cooking out. we are having a small gathering of family here week after next. Menu consists of grilled burgers, dogs, chicken, and all the summer salads, but I think I will be adding the grill vaidalia onion to the menu. Cause I love them when I have had them. Take care and Thanks — Bill


    • kanzensakura
      May 26, 2014 @ 11:47:05

      Oh, I hope you all have a glorious time! You can cut the onions into really thick slices, drizzle with the seasonings and seal in foil for quicker cooking. You all have fun on this special holiday. Thank you and God bless you.


  9. Mustang.Koji
    Jun 01, 2014 @ 01:25:01

    I love Vidalias. They are my faces and can be had here in SoCal! I’ve grilled onions before but not like this! And to clarify… When you say upright, that’s the roots down?


  10. humptydumptymuralmagic
    Jun 28, 2014 @ 09:45:46

    This sounds amazing. I am making some today


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