For some, grilling fruit may be nothing short of heresy.
A slice of watermelon is a far cry from a perfectly medium-rare ribeye, or a slow-roasted brisket. We will admit to that much, sure. Still, we are staunchly on team ‘grilled fruit’. The smokey, charred flavor from the grill mixes incredibly with many fruits’ natural sugars. A perfectly grilled peach or pineapple is an incredible addition to any burger, despite how odd that might sound. Like anything, though, grilling fruit takes some practice and a little bit of know-how. Today, we’re going to highlight some of the dos (and don’ts) of getting perfectly grilled fruit.
DO: Give it Some Time.
You might think that grilled fruit only takes a few seconds. Throw it on the grill, get the marks, and quickly remove the fruit. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Getting the best flavor out of your grilled fruit is about caramelizing sugars, not just getting grill marks. If you don’t allow proper time for the fruit sugar to caramelize, the result is going to be a warm, mushy piece of fruit. There’s nothing tasty about that.
Instead, use a hot grill (around 400 degrees) with well-oiled grates, and lower the cover. Let your fruit grill for six to eight minutes. This all-around heat is going to cook the fruit more evenly. It’s also going to allow the smoke to penetrate the fruit thoroughly, achieving that lovely grilled flavor. If you’re grilling especially meaty fruit like melons or peaches, feel free to let things go even longer. Just keep an eye on the char. Some blackening is to be desired, but the sugars in the fruit are susceptible to burning somewhat suddenly.
That all being said....
DON’T: Use a Cold Grill
We will admit, suggesting against slow-and-low feels a little odd. At Grillaholics, we might as well have ‘slow-and-low’ tattooed on our foreheads, given how much we champion the technique. But, with grilled fruit, slow and low isn’t going to achieve the caramelization you want. If you try to grill fruits on grates that aren’t properly hot, you’ll end up with a pile of warm, mushy fruit. We want hot grates to properly brown the sugars in the fruit, as well as to create the dark-amber grill marks we love so much.
DO: Get Saucy
Grilled fruit is versatile. One of our favorite uses? Salsas and sauces. Dice up your grilled fruit with some tomato, onion, and cilantro, and you’ve got yourself the perfect summer taco-topper. Alternatively, puree the fruit with a bit of wine, and you’ve got a mighty fine sauce for some grilled lamb. As always, we encourage you to experiment!
DON’T: Knock it Before You Try It
We know -- grilling fruit is weird. But, we encourage you to put your reservations aside and give it a go. Peaches, apples, melons, and pineapples are all fantastic candidates. If you’ve got a grill basket, try smaller fruits like strawberries or blueberries. All of the above can make for versatile, interesting components of larger dishes -- both sweet and savory.