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How to Grill a Whole Pineapple: A Guide to Cooking Times

Summer is the perfect time to experiment on the grill. While burgers and hot dogs are a staple at backyard barbecues (even if they’re vegan), you don’t have to turn off the heat when it’s time for dessert. Instead, take advantage of the fresh fruit of the season and throw it on the barbecue too, using these tips to get you started. The sugars will caramelize, the flavor will take on the charcoal’s signature smokiness, and you’ll get all those aesthetically pleasing marks.

If you want to test this out with pineapple, you don’t even have to chop it up in its entirety before barbecuing it, meaning you can spend more time socializing and enjoying the warmth while your dessert cooks itself. A whole pineapple can take anywhere from half an hour to 50 minutes until it’s done on the grill. Because this fruit is so big, if you take it off the heat before the half hour is up, you’ll be left with a cold, firm core — which isn’t exactly the sweet treat we’re going for here. You can expedite this timeframe a little by placing the lid down on your barbecue, but if yours doesn’t have one, you’ll still get delicious results by waiting it out.

A prepped pineapple is tasty to its core

grilled pineapple half

While grilling a whole pineapple is more of a hands-off process than barbecuing slices, it still requires a bit of your attention — and preparation. You’ll first need to remove the leaves and all of that prickly skin, along with all of the “eyes” that no one wants to eat. The latter can be a little time-consuming, since you may need to carve them out one by one. But once your fruit is naked and its sockets are showing, feel free to rub a little brown or coconut sugar and cinnamon, or a whiskey glaze, over all sides, which will help it soften up on the grill. You can also coat it with a little neutral-flavored oil if you wish. To prep a gas barbecue, set it to medium-low; and for a coal one, move the coals to one side of the device, several inches away from your fruit.

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At this point, you can absolutely skewer your pineapple through its core. This is helpful when turning it on the barbecue, although it’s not a necessary step. Then plop your fruit on the grill. You’ll want to rotate it about every five to 10 minutes, checking to make sure it’s not burning and moving it further from the heat (or turning down the heat) if it is. When your fruit is done, all sides will be golden-brown with grill marks, and you’ll be able to easily slide a knife all the way to the middle.

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