Are you looking for a delicious and refreshing summer dessert? Look no further than this grilled pineapple recipe! With just a few simple steps, you can transform fresh pineapple into a sweet and smoky treat that is the perfect ending to any summer barbecue.
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Sweet and juicy tropical pineapples are one of the most delicious fruits to grill. You can slice them into spears or rings and cook them with other barbecued foods. They make for a healthy dessert or side dish when in season. I always make them for luau-themed parties to serve with huli huli chicken and Hawaiian macaroni salad.
Grilled pineapples are perfect for outdoor al fresco-style meals to enjoy the warm weather. However, you can easily cook them on the stovetop to prepare them anytime. Brush on a simple brown sugar and cinnamon glaze to boost the flavor. It’s easy to customize with different flavors to keep each meal exciting.
- Pineapple: Choose fresh pineapples, in season during the summer, for super sweet and juicy pieces. Canned rings can also be used for convenience.
- Butter: To create a rich and flavorful glaze. The fat in the butter also helps to prevent sticking on the grill.
- Sweetener: Brown sugar is my top choice for sweetening the glaze, adding a molasses note to the fruit. Maple syrup or honey can also be used.
- Spices: Dried and ground spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt enhance the sweet aroma and flavor of the fruit and glaze.
Make a glaze
Pineapples taste very sweet and balanced with tart notes. Grilled to perfection, the fruit makes for a delicious treat. However, to enhance the flavor even further, add a glaze. Combine melted butter, brown sugar (light brown or golden), cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. This mixture will be brushed onto the pineapple spears as it grills.
Cut the pineapple
Pick out a ripe pineapple with a sweet aroma, mostly yellow hue, and a slight green undertone. Cut the pineapple into spears; this makes it easy to maneuver and flip. Cut off the top crown, bottom, and thick fibrous skin. Make sure to trim away any brown eyes; they are very hard to chew.
Cut the fruit into quarters, then remove the fibrous core. Now you can make cuts lengthwise to create three spears per quarter. One pineapple yields twelve pieces that are about ¾ to an inch thick. You can also cut the pineapple into rings, mainly if used on burgers.
Grill the pineapple
Heat a barbecue grill or grill pan over medium heat. Make sure to clean the grated well and grease them with some olive oil to prevent sticking. The sugars in the will carmelize in just a few minutes, creating grill marks on the surface. Grill the pineapples for about 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
After flipping the spears over, generously glaze them with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. The fruit finishes cooking as the glaze concentrates on the surface. I wait to add the glaze until char marks appear because I don’t want it to burn or taste off. Brush more on the spears once they are removed from the grill.
Grilled pineapples are a delicious sweet dish to prepare for barbecues and luas. Here are some tasty ways to switch up the flavor:
- Spices: Add warm spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, or cardamom to a sugar glaze. The warmth of the cooked fruit adds a wonderful baked aroma.
- Citrus: Enhance the natural sweetness of the fruit by combining lime juice or lemon juice with some honey or maple syrup to marinate or add as a glaze.
- Vinegar: Make a balsamic vinegar glaze with honey to brush onto the pineapple pieces.
- Spicy: Add some cayenne, chipotle, or chili powder to the fruit for a spicy kick!
- Sweet: Brush honey or maple syrup onto the pieces for a sweeter taste.
- Serve with homemade whipped cream
- Top with vanilla ice cream or raspberry swirl ice cream
- Drizzle on some magic shell chocolate sauce
- Add a slice to a dole whip
- Drizzle with caramel sauce
- Glaze with teriyaki sauce to serve with burgers
Frequently asked questions
The natural sugars in the fruit caramelize when the food reaches temperatures of 230ºF (110ºC) and above. This enhances the sweet taste of grilled pineapples.
There are four ways to pick a sweet pineapple. Smell the bottom of the pineapple; it should have a fragrant sweet aroma. The skin should be shiny, yellow in hue, with some undertones of green. When squeezed, it should have some give but not be mushy. Pull a leaf from the center; it should release easily.
Cut the pineapple into ¾ to 1-inch thick spears or rings. This ensures that the fruit will not fall through the grill grates and makes it easier to flip over. Thicker pieces are sturdier, taking on stunning grill marks without becoming overcooked and too soft. If using smaller pieces, place them on a skewer.
Make sure to preheat the grill and grease the grates to create a nonstick coating. Press the pineapple down for complete contact. Do not move the pieces! Once it dries, browns, and creates a crust, it will be easier to lift off. Use the tip of a metal spatula to help release any sticky areas.
Wait to glaze the pineapples
Pineapples naturally contain sucrose, fructose, and glucose. Stunning char marks will form when added to a greased grill as the sugars caramelize. Wait to apply the brown sugar glaze until after the fruit is seared so it doesn’t have direct contact with the grill grates. This prevents the sugars and delicate spices from tasting burnt and losing their baked aromas. The hot fruit will help the glaze melt and infuse into the surface for a delicious sticky coating.
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- 1 ripe pineapple
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt, or kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg, optional
- olive oil , as needed for greasing
- Prepare the Pineapple – Lay the pineapple on its side on a cutting board. Slice off about ½-inch down from the crown and then from the bottom of the fruit. Stand it up and trim off the thick fibrous skin. Use a paring knife to remove any brown eyes. Cut into quarters lengthwise, then remove the core from each piece. Cut each wedge into 3 spears, twelve total. Alternatively, make rings by slicing crosswise into ¾-inch slice rounds. Use a 1-inch round cutter or paring knife to remove the core.
- Make the Glaze – Add the butter to a small microwave-safe bowl, and heat in 30-second intervals until melted. Whisk in the brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg (if using). Set aside. If the glaze cools and solidifies, microwave for 10 seconds.
- Grill the Pineapple – Preheat the grill or a grill pan over medium heat. Clean the grill grates and grease them with olive oil. Once the hot, place the spears cut side down on the grill and lightly press for better contact. Cook until grill marks appear, about 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and brush with the brown sugar glaze. Cook until char marks form on the other side, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the grill and brush with more glaze.
- Yield: About 12 pineapple spears
- Serving Size: 1 spear
- Meal Prep: The glaze can be made 3 days in advance, reheating before using. The spears can be cut and stored in the refrigerator 2 days before.
- Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Freeze for up to 3 months. Defrost before using.
- Using Canned Pineapples: Canned pineapple rings can be grilled. It will take a few minutes less to cook on each side since they are thinner.
- Make it Dairy-Free: Use plant-based spreads, margarine, or coconut oil.
- Make it Paleo: Use maple syrup instead of brown sugar and ghee instead or butter.
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.
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