Don't Make This Simple Mistake When Grilling Pineapple Slices

Summer food can mean many things, but amid the haze of hot dogs and popsicles two common themes emerge: grilling everything and eating all the fruit. As such, grilled pineapple is the perfect simple yet impressive dish to serve up all summer long. Pineapple is already delicious, of course, but a quick sear on the grill takes it to another level — grilling the fruit breaks down the bromelain enzyme, which is what gives some people a prickly feeling when eating fresh pineapple. It's kind of magical (Actually, it's chemistry, but it certainly feels magical). Plus, grilling is arguably the easiest type of cooking and adds smoky-sweet deliciousness and a beautiful sear to pretty much any food. 


Grilling pineapple is incredibly simple and easy (and totally worth it) — just brush the pineapple with a little butter and sugar, add your favorite spices or seasonings if you're feeling fancy, and slap it on the grill. But there is one simple mistake many people make when grilling pineapple: using unripe fruit. Given how delicious grilled pineapple is, it's totally understandable to get a little impatient and want to prepare it before the fruit is completely ripe, but we promise that waiting a few extra days for peak ripeness is well worth it. Because ripe pineapple contains more natural sugars, the fruit will caramelize better, resulting in maximum savory sweetness.

Pineapple grilling tips

In addition to using ripe pineapple, make sure to use fresh-cut pineapple for grilling. Save your canned pineapple for Watergate salad, as it doesn't hold up well to heat and won't develop those beautiful grill marks like fresh-cut pineapple. Additionally, make sure to slice your pineapple into large strips or rings — if it's cut too small, it may fall through your grill grates, which would be both tragic and messy. Pineapple rings are optimal for grilling because they provide the greatest amount of surface area for caramelization and are easy to flip, but strips will also work just fine. 


Feel free to experiment with different sweeteners and seasonings on your grilled pineapple. You can whip up a quick marinade with honey, hot sauce, maple syrup, cayenne, Tajín, molasses, or really whatever forms of sweetness and spiciness your heart desires. Grilled pineapple is a very forgiving dish, so don't be afraid to have fun and get creative with it. 

How to serve grilled pineapple

Grilled pineapple is wonderful eaten straight off the grill as a fruity snack, or as a side dish to go with pretty much any summer meal. It pairs beautifully with grilled meats of all kinds, particularly if barbecue sauce or teriyaki is in the mix. Grilled pineapple is also an excellent addition to a burger — it adds juicy sweetness, and the circular rings fit perfectly on most buns (if you're not into meat, grilled pineapple works just as well on a black bean burger). 


On the sweet side, grilled pineapple is an incredible addition to an ice cream sundae, and it can even work as a standalone dessert with a little extra brown sugar and cinnamon. No matter how you serve it, grilled pineapple is a fun and easy way to upgrade your backyard barbecue experience. Even if you don't like fresh pineapple, it's worth giving the grilled version a try — just make sure to use ripe fruit.