Sunday, August 25, 2013

Grilled Pineapple

Grilled Pineapple wedges on plate with mint garnish

High heat intensifies the rich flavor of this tropical fruit

Fresh pineapple makes any event seem festive. But what a letdown if the pineapple is less than ripe — as are so many you find in the supermarket. It tastes OK, but lacks the full, rich flavor of truly ripe fruit.

Fortunately, there’s an easy way to remedy unripeness: Just grill the pineapple. High heat evaporates water while caramelizing sugars, turning an already good-tasting fruit into a flavor sensation.

No grill? No worries. You can get good results using your oven broiler or even a stovetop grilling pan. 

Grilled pineapple is great served by itself, or dressed up with other ingredients (sweet or savory, as you wish).  So it works as appetizer or dessert. Perfect.


Grilled Pineapple slices on plate with mint garnish

Recipe:  Grilled Pineapple

This recipe is seriously simple: Just trim, core, and peel some pineapple, and cut it into pieces of whatever shape you desire. Then brush the pieces lightly with olive oil, slap them on the grill for a few minutes, and you’re done.

But how do you go about cutting up that pineapple? Here’s my favorite approach: First cut off the top, plus about ½ inch from the bottom. Then cut the pineapple in half lengthwise, and cut each half into halves again (so you have 4 triangular wedges). With a thin knife, remove the core at the apex of triangle. Then with a long thin knife, start at one edge of a wedge and carefully cut as close to the skin as possible to remove a nice wedge of pineapple. Discard the prickly shell of pineapple skin, and repeat with the other 3 wedges. 

You can either grill these large wedges or cut them lengthwise another time or three to create smaller, thinner pieces (so one pineapple will yield anywhere from 4 to 16 wedges, depending on what size you slice them). See Notes for an alternate way of cutting up pineapple.

I usually grill pineapple with just a light coating of olive oil, and sometimes finish it with a bit of honey. But in the Notes I discuss other ways you might want to flavor the pineapple wedges.

It takes about 10 minutes to prep the pineapple, and another 10 or 15 minutes to grill it (less if your pieces are quite thin). 

I generally figure that one pineapple serves 6 people as a dessert, 10 or more as an appetizer. But your mileage may vary. 

Leftovers will keep for a few days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Ingredients
  • 1 pineapple
  • 2 - 3 teaspoons olive oil (as little as you can get away with; I generally use extra-virgin olive oil)
  • ~¼ cup honey (very optional)
  • chopped mint for garnish (optional, but attractive and tasty)
Procedure
  1. Prepare the grill. You want medium heat for this dish. If using charcoal, you’ll need a single layer of coals. If using a gas grill, preheat it to medium. In either case, make sure the grill is absolutely clean! See Notes for more about this, and about lubricating the grill grate.
  2. Cut up the pineapple as directed in the recipe headnote (or use another method if you prefer). When the grill is ready, brush each piece of pineapple on all sides with a thin coating of olive oil.
  3. Grill each side of pineapple for 5 minutes or so until charred lightly (or heavily, if that’s your preference).  Don’t overcook — the pineapple can get too soft.
  4. Remove pineapple from the grill and brush each slice with the honey, if using. Leave the wedges as they are, or cut them into smaller pieces. 
  5. Garnish with chopped mint, if desired, and serve.
Grilled Pineapple slices on black acrylic

Notes
  • Pineapple doesn’t ripen after it’s picked. So when you buy it, pineapple is as sweet as it will ever be. “Aging” it doesn’t help, although with age the fruit will lose some of its acid.
  • A fully ripe pineapple can be green or brown — color doesn’t matter. But aroma does. It should smell like, well, pineapple. If it doesn’t, the fruit is probably not quite ripe. (But that’s why we’re grilling it, no?)
  • BTW, the best time to buy pineapples in the US is from April through June — that’s their peak season. But they’re flavorful throughout the whole year.
  • Want an alternative way to cut up pineapple? Try this one: Cut off the crown and remove a slice from the bottom, then set the pineapple upright on a work surface. With a long thin knife, slice off the skin, making sure to remove all the “eyes.” Cut the pineapple in half lengthwise, then in half lengthwise again, and remove the core. You’ll have 4 triangular wedges, which you can cut into smaller pieces if you wish.
  • When you grill pineapple, it’s important to have a scrupulously clean grill grate. Otherwise, you risk discoloring the pineapple wedges with grit from the grill. So brush your grate thoroughly!
  • It’s a good idea to lubricate the grill grate before using it so that the pineapple doesn’t stick. If the grate is not yet in place over the grill flame, you can use an aerosol kitchen spray. But never spray a grate that’s over fire — you might ignite the aerosol. As an alternative to spraying, you can brush the grate with a thin coating of oil.
  • If you don’t have a grill, you can just run the pineapple wedges under the oven broiler, turning them several times (you won’t get nice grill marks this way, however). Or if you have a grill pan with raised ridges, you can use that (although I think the broiler method is easier).
  • Some cooks like to marinate pineapple wedges for an hour or so before grilling them. To make a tasty marinade, combine about a tablespoon of olive oil, the juice of 2 limes, and a couple teaspoons of lime zest. You can also add a tablespoon or two of honey if you want (though it may char a bit when grilling). Some pinches of cayenne or black pepper are also nice. Place the pineapple wedges in a bowl or a plastic bag and add the marinade, making sure all the wedges are coated with the mixture. Let sit for an hour, then grill. 
  • You can substitute orange juice for lime in the marinade. A pinch or so of ground cloves adds extra flavor. A teaspoon or so of cinnamon is also a nice addition.
  • You may want to drizzle some dark rum over the grilled pineapple slices before serving to add an extra flavor note.
  • Alternatively, you can drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Use the balsamic straight from the bottle, or reduce it to half volume on the stovetop.
  • The serving suggestions mentioned above are appropriate whether you’re treating grilled pineapple as an appetizer or as a dessert. But if you’re looking specifically for a dessert approach, here’s one: Mix ½ cup honey with ¼ cup (or a bit more) of lime juice. Add 3 or 4 teaspoons of grated lime zest. Add a teaspoon or two of orange-flower water (start with less — it has a distinctive flavor, and a little goes a long way). Use this mixture to marinate the pineapple, then pour whatever is left over the pineapple wedges when serving. A fragrant mint garnish adds a pleasant touch. And if you want to zip up the dish, add some cayenne pepper to the marinade — sweet and hot work beautifully together, IMO.
  • Blogging Note: At long last, Kitchen Riffs has a Recipe Index. Thanks to Mrs. Kitchen Riffs for putting it together. I’ve also moved the blogroll to its own page (called Links). This has allowed me to update and greatly expand it. You can access these new features from tabs at the top of each web page.
Grilled Pineapple wedges on plate with mint garnish

Delicious & Nutritious

“Love this!” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs, scooping up another wedge of grilled pineapple. “What a great appetizer!”

“And it makes a nice addition to a pupu platter,” I said. “Perfect for Tiki Month here on Kitchen Riffs.”

“It’s certainly much healthier than some of the other platter choices,” said Mrs K R. “Like Crab Rangoon. Or that wicked — but wonderful! — Candied Bacon. That’s my favorite.”

“Yeah, the Shrimp Toast Dip isn’t too bad health-wise, but this Grilled Pineapple is even more virtuous,” I said between nibbles. “So, do you think it works better as appetizer or dessert?”

“Hmm, it’s dandy either way,” said Mrs K R. “Too hard to decide.”

“Well, we can’t eat all of this as an appetizer today — why not have it as dessert tomorrow?”

“Sure,” said Mrs K R. “And of course make some more Candied Bacon while you’re at it.”

“Because . . .?” I asked.

“Because we don’t want to eat dessert all by itself,” she said. “Haven’t you ever heard of a balanced diet?”

You may also enjoy reading about:
Shrimp Toast Dip
Crab Rangoon
Candied Bacon
Plum Salsa
Peach Salsa
Or check out the index for more recipes

108 comments:

  1. When I met a pineapple farmer at one of the local farmers markets I asked how to tell if it was ripe.

    "Smell it," he said.

    I smelled and said, "It smells like a pineapple."

    "It's ripe," he replied.

    I do love grilled pineapple!

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    1. Hi Maureen, yeah, as far as I know the "sniff" test is the only way to reliably tell if a pineapple is ripe. And I love grilled pineapple too! Thanks for the comment.

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  2. What a great idea. This is a perfect dessert after a BBQ. Thanks for another great idea.

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    1. Hi Debra, this is terrific at a BBQ! Incredibly flavorful. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Hi John, while I am still not back to my blogging and everything, I couldn't skip this post. I love grilled pineapples! The are rich in flavor indeed. I also make vanilla sauce for it, and it became favorite dessert for any party. Great post! I miss all my blogging friends!

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    1. Hi Marina, looking forward to your return to blogging! Vanilla sauce sounds like a wonderful idea. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. I've been having a love affair with pineapples lately. Whenever we go to Costco, I grab a few of the biggest and the most golden pineapples. I have bags of cut pineapples in the freezer for smoothies and a container full in the fridge for sauces. I must go grill them now thanks to this post!:)

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    1. Hi Gomo, you definitely need to try grilled pineapple sometime - it's wonderful! Try it over ice cream. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  5. I didn't realize that a pineapple was like a peach - once picked, it's as sweet as it's going to get. Good to know! Now YOU have reminded ME of something I haven't had in ages! :) I love grilled pineapple but haven't bought a fresh one in a LONG time, much less grilled one. Fresh pineapple is usually too acidic for me. Maybe I should let it sit longer (didn't know that either. :)). Just added pineapple to the Costco list. Thanks John! Hope you've having a great Sunday!

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    1. Hi MJ, happy to remind you of grilled pineapple! I'm having a great Sunday, and hope you are too. Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Oh WOW, you grilled it beautifully John! I love the idea of honey and mint here... Sounds delicious! Have a great week.

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    1. Hi Anne, honey and mint really is a nice addition, IMO - such great flavors! Thanks for the comment.

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  7. That colour is just perfect my friend, I love this simple and elegant tropical dessert :D

    Cheers
    CCU

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    1. Hi Uru, isn't that a cherry yellow? And I'm pretty cheered after I have some! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. I've learned from experience to just buy those gold pineapples. Every gold one I've bought has been amazing.
    I love grilled pineapple and like I said earlier, with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's a great dessert for a cook out, no fuss but tastes amazing. I like your tip about marinating, sounds great with the lime juice and chilli powder. Great reminder John, I haven't grilled pineapple for a awhile. Thanks!

    Nazneen

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    1. Hi Nazneen, vanilla ice cream really is great with grilled pineapple. Terrific idea! Thanks for the comment.

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  9. What a great idea!!
    I hate it when I buy pineapple only to find it isnt as sweet as I imagined, now I never have to worry again... thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Gourmet Getaways, I've been disappointed in pineapple so many times, too. Enter, the grill. ;-) It really does help. Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Yay for a recipe index and yay for grilled fruit! It's amazing what a difference a little heat can make! Thank you for sharing! I'm hosting a giveaway on my blog tomorrow for one of Ryan's necklaces, and I'd love for you to stop by! I hope you are having a wonderful Sunday!

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    1. Hi Monet, that index really was way overdue! Thanks for the heads up about your event - I'll be sure to stop by. And thanks for commenting.

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  11. Great tips.

    Who doesn't love grilled fruit? Pork and pineapple kebabs have a special place in my heart, but you've given me a huge amount of new ideas (hmm drizzling it with rum......) Thanks! Have a wonderful week.

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    1. Hi Alex, pork and pineapple combines so wonderfully well! A super combo. And you really should try the rum on grilled pineapple. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Hi John, pineapple is great for grilling , what a wonderful time I have had learning about Tiki Month , especially the cocktails {giggling} , what's in store for next month ? Know it's something special , thanks for sharing :).

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    1. Hi Nee, one more Tiki cocktail to go later this week. ;-) No special theme next month, though there will be some super dishes. Thanks for the comment.

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  13. Oh yes, I've learnt to smell and get the pineapple too. Love grilled pineapple ..
    growing up, my dad sliced it so neatly, sprinkled with salt and chili powder, I could eat a full one and cry of a tummy ache next day..:)But I still love it.

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    1. Hi Asha, I love spicy with pineapple! So nice. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  14. What an excellent idea for less than perfectly ripe pineapple!!! I grilled peaches this summer, but next will be pineapple :)

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    1. Hi Liz, peaches are a lot of fun to grill. Heck, almost any fruit is! Thanks for the comment.

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  15. I adore grilled pineapple and so true, high heat really intensify the flavor and makes everything taste much better. :) This is definitely a festive treat.

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    1. Hi Amy, I'll eat pineapple any way I can get it, but I do think it's best when grilled. Thanks for the comment.

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  16. I have never grilled fruit. It sounds like a great to serve it.

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    1. Hi Dawn, it's really worth trying - simple to do, and so tasty. Thanks for the comment.

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  17. I didn't know pineapples don't ripen after they're picked. I love grilled pineapple and it goes so well with all kinds of summery desserts xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, it's a bummer that pineapples don't ripen after being picked, isn't it? It's a great fruit, though. Thanks for the comment.

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  18. I lead such a sheltered existence, John. I'm embarrassed to admit that I've never enjoyed grilled pineapple. Never. It's just not something I see at the market and put in my cart. Knowing that it will keep a few days in the fridge is a definite point in its favor. I really should give one a try. Grilling does make everything taste better and, besides, I'm getting a little tired of all these berry desserts. TIme to switch things up a bit. This was a great instructional post for us pineapple neophytes. Thanks for making the effort. :)

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    1. Hi John, grilled pineapple really has terrific flavor, and is pretty versatile. I sometimes use leftovers in a salsa, for example. Have fun experimenting! Thanks for the comment.

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  19. I love any grilled fruit and I was just wondering why I had never tried grilled pineapple? It must be fantastic and great on some ice cream I have here:)

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    1. Hi Smidge, you really need to give it a try, IMO - I think you'll like the flavor. And it does work so well with ice cream! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. I love pineapple. The best I have ever had was when I went to Senegal when I was 7. It was so good, I still remember it! I've never tried it grilled, but it sounds fantastic!

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    1. Hi Melanie, sounds pineapple from your Senegal experience will be hard to beat! But grilling does perk up less than ripe pineapple, plus it's fun to do. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. delicious tropical appetizer,there is something so refreshing about grilled pineapple with mint,it is light,fruity and irresistibly tempting with its charred sunny colors,thanks for sharing :-)

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    1. Hi Kumar, isn't the color of pineapple amazing? The flavor is too, of course, but I really like its color. Thanks for the comment.

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  22. Fantastic recipe John! I absolutely love the grilled char marks that bring that smoky flavour things and pineapple is no different! I once had a dessert like this at a Brazilian restaurant where they grilled the pineapple with cinnamon - it was amazing!

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    1. Hi Christine, cinnamon with pineapple is a wonderful combo! Thanks for the comment.

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  23. Love it! The first time I had grilled pineapple was at an Argentinan grill - it went so well with the meat

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    1. Hi Adrian, I'll bet the grilled pineapple was a perfect match for the grilled meat! Thanks for the comment.

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  24. I could grill every fruit in sight and survive just on it, day and night. Its a shame summer is coming to end. I'm not ready to part :(

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    1. Hi Kiran, losing the fresh fruit is the worst part about leaving summer! And I haven't grilled every fruit I've come across, but that sounds like a worthy goal. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. What a great idea - I have never tried grilling pineapple. When I lived in the Fiji Islands, slices of pineapple were sold on the side of the road and were so sweet you thought you were in heaven.

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    1. Hi Suzanne, it must be great to be somewhere where pineapple grows, so you can get it absolutely fresh and ripe. I'll get you'd enjoy grilled pineapple. Thanks for the comment.

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  26. Grilling and roasting can save so many fruits lacking in flavor. At least here, some fruits are not what they were and don´t know if they ever will. Gorgeous pineapple!

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    1. Hi Paula, I know what you mean about some fruits not being what they were. I don't know if growers are planting different varieties (designed to ship and keep in stores) or we're just getting fruit that's not properly ripened. But grilling (or roasting) does save the day! Thanks for the comment.

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  27. These days, I'm grilling a lot of peaches and nectarines (in my geographic zone). I've never tried the pineapple with olive oil! What an idea, will give it a try the next time I go to market!
    Thank you! Love these pictures.

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    1. Hi La Torontoise, good to see you again! I'll bet you'll really enjoy the grilled pineapple - truly good stuff. Thanks for the comment.

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  28. This grilled pineapple is making my mouth water! And thank you for sharing the marinade ideas!
    Shashi @ http://runninsrilankan.com

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    1. Hi Shashi, you need to grill some pineapple so your mouth stops watering! ;-) It's really good stuff. Thanks for the comment.

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  29. There is just something about sweet fruit on a grill -- summer's delight. Love simple recipes like this, bringing out the natural goodness.

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    1. Hi Judy, fruit really can be so terrific when grilled - it has such great flavor. Thanks for the comment.

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  30. Oh, you are so right about the high heat enhancing the flavor. As the heat works its magic on the sugars the flavor just deepens and gets better and better. This is my first visit to your site, and I'll be a regular reader. It is a pleasure to "meet" you!

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    1. Hi Adri, welcome, and good to "meet" you, too! And I agree grilling fruit turns it into something magical! Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Its tricky to get the pineapple that is ripe and sweet. I usually smell it and it works most of the time. Grilling the pineapple surely enhances the flavor. I loved the addition of mint in your version. Good one!!!

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    1. Hi Shibi, I always do the smell test too, although sometimes it's not as sweet as I expect. But grilling always fixes that! Thanks for the comment.

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  32. I never thought to grill pineapple before! I need to try this as pineapple just happens to be my favorite fruit

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    1. Hi Ashley, since this is your favorite fruit, you gotta try it grilled sometime! It's so delish. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  33. I love pineapple however I can get it. This, though is one of my favorite ways. And yes for Mrs. KR, recipe indexes really are great!

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    1. Hi Abbe, we went way too long without that index! And isn't grilled pineapple great? Such deep flavor. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  34. Such a simple recipe yet so seductive :) Only three ingredients could make a meal of a life time :)
    Thanks for the gorgeous idea, dear john.
    Outstanding photos, again.

    Love.

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    1. Hi Nusrat, simple is often the best (in my case, a good thing!). :D This really is worth making. Thanks for the kind words, and comment.

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  35. I thought I didn't like pineapple until I recently tried it again and fell in love. Grilling and roasting fruits is always a good idea!

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    1. Hi Laura, it's funny, but some foods I swore I didn't like, I liked quite while if I tried them years later. ;-) Pineapple tastes so good prepared this way - hard not to like! Thanks for the comment.

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  36. Ahhh, grilled pineapple- simple but delicious!

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    1. Hi Fran, so simple but so good! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  37. I am LOVING Tiki month. I agree that that the pineapple I buy at the local grocery is either not ripe, or too ripe. No in-between. I'd rather buy it less ripe and grill to sweetness. Great idea!

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    1. Hi Kristi, Tiki month is so much fun, isn't it? ;-) And grilling pineapple really does help sweeten it up. Thanks for the comment.

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  38. Grilled pineapple is such a treat. And so easy to do. The acidity gets a little muted and the natural sweetness just shines through.

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    1. Hi Carolyn, it really doesn't get much simpler than grilling pineapple! And the result is so good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  39. Grilled pineapple looks so nice and yummy.. Loved the clicks too.. Do visit my blog.. http://kitchenserenity.blogspot.in/

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    1. Hi Nilu, welcome! Grilled pineapple has such nice flavor, doesn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  40. What beautiful grill marks you got on those slices, John! I love grilled pineapple, though I must admit to you many bouts of laziness to prep the grill. So I don't have them as often as I would like. I'll have to invest in a good grill pan! (You don't think my kitchen blow torch would do much good, do you?!) LOVE your idea of the drizzle of rum. You know I'd serve this as dessert...with a scoop of coconut ice cream! Beautiful photos as always! (and kudos to Mrs. KR for the new index!)

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    1. Hi Anne, I don't think the blow torch would quite be enough heat, alas, otherwise I'd be doing that! Who doesn't like to play with fire? ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  41. John, I could have sworn I commented on this great recipe, but maybe not. Love it! Love it!

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    1. Hi Lizzy, could be the ether gods made it disappear! Blogging software can be really glitchy sometimes, alas. But glad you persevered! Thanks for the comment.

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  42. This grilled pineapple just reminded me of the endless grilled pineapples served with the typical Brazilian BBQ...yes, simple and delicious...back in Brazil we sprinkle some ground cinnamon on it...yum!
    Have a great week John :D

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    1. Hi Juliana, the cinnamon really sounds nice! Sounds like a wonderful way to serve grilled pineapple. I hope you have a great week too, and thanks for the comment.

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  43. What a great idea! I know that feeling of being let down when I bring a pineapple home from the store (or other fruits sometimes!), but this sounds like a great way to really bring out that flavor!!

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    1. Hi Kristi, grilling improves most fruits that aren't quite as sweet as you want. And it's easy! Thanks for the comment.

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  44. I love grilling pineapple - the flavor and sweetness come out and make the fruit more like candy.

    Great tips and ideas, as always.

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    1. Hi Vicki, isn't grilled pineapple so tasty? And it can taste almost like candy, particularly if you add honey or brown sugar to it! Thanks for the comment.

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  45. Ha! I didn't know that grilling a unripe pineapple would help. I prefer pineapple grilled/baked/fried more then eating it raw. Of course that depends of the pineapple type too. The juicy once always for juices! John can't wait to follow your pineapple grilling tips when the rains are over.

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    1. Hi Helen, I think you're right that generally pineapple is better cooked in some way than raw. At least if the pineapple isn't fully ripe. Thanks for the comment.

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  46. You cut up pineapples very nicely and grilled perfectly with the grilled mark. We all love pineapple in my family and I will definitely remember to pick up a pineapple for this weekend's grill. I had it before (but we didn't grill that time) and it was so delicious. I almost forgot about it for almost years. Great timing John, thank you!

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    1. Hi Nami, grilled pineapple really is so good - and a different way to eat fruit. Have a great Labor Day weekend, and thanks for the comment.

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  47. Delightful! Grilling fruits brings concentrates their flavor wonderfully.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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    1. Hi Rosa, isn't grilled fruit so nice? I haven't tried them all yet - I'll have to! Thanks for the comment.

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  48. Think I’m adding this to our menu for next week!

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    1. Hi cquek, you won't be sorry - it's terrific stuff! Thanks for the comment.

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  49. I totally agree, grilled pineapple has an amazing flavor. This recipe would be perfect with my cocktail I just posted! Looks soooo delicious:-) Take care, Terra

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    1. Hi Terra, this goes so well with cocktails! Or as dessert. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  50. I love grilled pineapple. It's just so yummy. Love your photos as always. And I agree about the candied bacon. There's no wrong time to make candied bacon.

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    1. Hi Kim, grilled pineapple is the bee's knees! Whatever that means - just thought I'd throw it in there. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  51. Hi John, your grilled pineapple look really awesome. Excellent photography skill. 2 thumbs up for you.

    I love grilled pineapple, love to serve it with grill fish or chicken.

    Best regards.

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    1. Hi Amelia, grilled pineapple and grilled fish is a terrific combo! Such a great food. Thanks for the comment.

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  52. I am really lucky to have a pineapple farm down the road who produces the best pineapples all year round - I kid you not. I do live in sunny Queensland in Australia. They are really sweet and I often grill them up with a light sprinkling of brown sugar and pinch of chili powder. Not to make you jealous or anything :-)

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    1. Hi Lizzie, you have made me so, so jealous! You live a great life - and I love reading about it. Thanks for your comment.

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  53. I love pineapple and this is a great yet simple dessert. My kind. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Hi Lail, isn't this nice? And since you like pineapple, this will totally speak to you. Thanks for the comment.

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  54. The flavors of grilled pineapple is bomb.com! :) Great photo!
    www.prettybitchescancooktoo.com

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    1. Hi Tamara, grilled pineapple is great, isn't it? Although most fruits are wonderful when grilled! Thanks for the comment.

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