It’s hard to improve on fresh, in-season pineapple—until you throw it on the grill and let its sugars caramelize, bringing out its sweetness even more (not to mention adding a little smokiness). If you’ve been wondering how to grill pineapple, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll guide you through picking the ideal produce, breaking it down (which is honestly the hardest part) and getting those Insta-worthy sear marks.
First: How to Pick a Ripe Pineapple
Pineapple season runs from March through July, but just because you’re not picking one up at its peak doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the fruit. Look one that’s yellow or slightly green (not totally green) and is firm but yields slightly when squeezed. If it’s mushy, it’s likely overripe. It should also feel pretty heavy for its size, which is a sign of high water content, so it’ll be nice and juicy.
Second: How to Cut a Pineapple for Grilling
There are a few ways to go about this, but when it comes to grilling, we've found cutting them into spears makes them easiest to manage (with the lowest risk of them slipping between the grates). The video above will show you how to break down the pineapple, only once you get to the part where you score the score, you simply cut each pineapple half into spears instead of half-moons. Here's what to do, step by step:
Chop off either end.
Trim off the spiny skin, following the contours of the pineapple.
Slice it in half, so you have two oblong semicircles of pineapple.
Use a knife to score around the core.
Cut each pineapple half lengthwise, forming long spears.
Use a spoon to peel away the core.
Third: How to Grill Pineapple
With your pineapple prepped, you’re ready to get grilling. While you can brush that pineapple with a glaze—say, cream of coconut and brown sugar, as Chef Gordon Ramsay does—before placing it on the grill, you don’t need to. That’s just to add additional flavor to it. Similarly, you could dust it with a light sprinkling of cinnamon and cayenne to give it some sweet heat, but that’s also not necessary.
1. Fire up the grill to high heat
2. Brush the pineapple slices with oil
Use a pair of tongs to place it on the warmed grill. Cook until charred, about 4 minutes per side.
3. Cool slightly before serving
You can serve them as is or cut them into chunks.
Lastly: Let’s Answer Your Questions About Grilled Pineapple
What Does Grilled Pineapple Taste Like?
It’s sweeter than fresh pineapple, and a little more tender, with a hint of smokiness from the grill.
Is Grilled Pineapple Good for You?
Yes, provided it isn’t coated in a sugary sauce. Pineapple is a great source of vitamin C, dietary fiber and folate, and it contains an enzyme called bromelain, which has anti-inflammatory properties, according to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. (The institute actually recommends tossing pineapple in a little cayenne pepper, coriander, cinnamon and salt, letting it sit for an hour before grilling, for added flavor without adding a ton of calories or fat. Here’s their recipe.)
Can You Smoke a Pineapple?
Yes, you can smoke a pineapple. You’ll just need to cook it over indirect heat on your grill for a much longer time (say, 2 to 3 hours, instead of a few minutes). You can find a full tutorial for doing so at Food & Wine.
What Kinds of Recipes Can I Make with Grilled Pineapple?
So glad you asked. Here are three of our favorites to get you started: