Fruit Grilling Tips
Know Your Fruits. Just like meats, poultry and seafood, fruits come in different shapes and densities as well as grillability. The fruit should be ripe, but just barely. Too ripe and the fruit will fall apart quickly
Bare Is Best. There is no need to do anything to the fruit… it is perfectly grillable the way it is. Perhaps rub the fruit with a little neutral oil such as canola, or try coconut oil to add a little tropical flare!
No Added Sugar. Do not sugar the fruit before it goes on the grill…. sugar will burn quickly and you want the natural fruit sugars to caramelize. If you want to add a little flavor, try marinating fruit like pineapple in a little rum for 30 minutes before grilling.
Clean And Preheat Those Grates. Be sure to brush those grates clean and oil them to help prevent the fruit from sticking to the grill. Also you don’t want the salmon you just finished cooking to flavor your pineapple sundae. Preheat the grill for 10 to 15 minutes before grilling.
Not Too Hot. Grill most fruit over medium to medium high direct heat. Medium heat allows plenty of time to start caramelizing the natural fruit sugars, to get those pretty grill marks and warm the fruit through without turning them to mush.
Grill Grids, Baskets and Skewers. Nothing is worse than losing food through the grates. Stainless steel grill pans or grids are great for grilling most sliced fruit – just preheat the grid at the same time you fire up the grill and you still get that great sear.
Shaker baskets (like this one from Bull) is great when you have smaller roll-y things like cherries and berries. A quick shake every once in awhile keeps them cooking evenly.
Skewers are great for smaller slices that might slip through the grates or fruit kebabs to be served with a decadent chocolate sauce– just double up the skewers or use double-prong skewers to keep things from spinning while you flip.
Serve It Simply. Vanilla ice cream, berry sorbet or coconut gelato all make wonderful accompaniments to grilled fruit. I also like to serve it with some Greek-style yogurt with a squeeze of lime juice, a little honey and a small pinch of cayenne.
Few people think to grill watermelon, but it is absolutely one of my favorites. Cut into 1-inch thick “steaks with the rind on and grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side to evaporate some of the water and mark.
Cantaloupe is excellent grilled as well — my grandpa used to gill wedges of cantaloupe and serve it with vanilla ice cream. 🙂
TRY: Grilled Watermelon, Heirloom Tomato and Blueberry Salad
Grilling the pineapple sweetens and intensifies the flavor of the fruit as it’s sugars start to caramelize, plus it gives the fruit a slightly smoky flavor. Cut pineapple into 1-inch thick rings or spears and grill for about 5 minutes per side to mark and caramelize.
TRY: Pineapple Pork Loin
Peaches, Nectarines, Plums and Apricots
Why miss out on the caramelization of the fruit resulting in a more intense flavor contrasted with the little flecks of char from the grill? Cut fruit into halves or quarters and grill for 3 to 4 minutes per side (about 1 to 2 minutes less for apricots).
TRY: Grilled Nectarine Shortcut Shortcake, Spiced Pork Tenderloin with Apricots, Pork Chops with Grilled Peach Mostarda
Honestly, figs are probably my favorite grilled fruit because I think they are the most versatile. As an appetizer with a soft room temperature wheel of brie drizzled with honey and thyme leaves; tossed with a balsamic reduction and served over beef, pork or chicken; or over the top of a cheese cake for dessert. Simply cut in half and grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side.
TRY: Pork Chops and Grilled Figs with Balsamic Reduction
Just as a special mention… citrus isn’t ideal to grill for eating; it is, however, ideal for juicing. The juice sweetens as the sugars caramelize and develop a deep smoky flavor. Great for squeezing over grilled meats. Cut the fruit in half and grill for a few minutes as you cook your food. Or better yet, squeeze into your favorite cocktail!
TRY: Charred Citrus Margaritas
Cheers and Happy Grilling!