Summer entertaining means constantly firing up the grill for barbecues, and by proxy, weeks of menus packed with barbecue chicken, ribs, grilled vegetables, and mayonnaise-laden potato salads. Beyond the usual scope, however, we also love serving grilled fruit. The process caramelizes the sugars and intensifies the flavors, adding a nice smoky touch—grilled peaches and watermelon work especially well in salads. (You can even make a grilled fruit sangria, to switch things up.) If you’re new to grilling fruit, it’s a fairly quick process, about three-four minutes—in fact, keeping cooking time short is key, according to Queer Eye’s Antoni Porowski. In a recent interview with Food & Wine, the chef and TV personality told us about the one mistake people need to watch out for when they’re grilling fruit this summer.
“Don’t treat it like meat where it has to be on there for a very long time,” Porowski says. “I love a grilled peach, but it’s about kissing it on the flame. You don’t want to fully cook the fruit, because then it just kind of gets jammy. You want it to still keep the form, and even with watermelon, keep it on high heat, get the char, and then take it off.”
Angie Mar, the F&W Best New Chef behind New York’s critically-acclaimed Beatrice Inn, also gave a few tips last year. She likes to grill red meat with fruit—especially cherries and blackberries, and says that “plums are the perfect pairing with beef,” creating a magical flavor profile with the fat. Mar grills halved stone fruit (such as peaches and plums) over direct heat, and cooks smaller fruits like cherries and blackberries separately in a small sauté pan.
If you’re inclined to try grilling fruit this summer, we have plenty of recipes for you to explore. For dessert, Justin Chapple’s grilled peach and pineapple melba sundaes combine vanilla ice cream, grilled pineapples, and grilled peaches with a grilled sugared raspberry sauce; on the savory side, Travis Lett grills apricots and adds them to a salad with burrata, country ham, and arugula. (You can also spin it with peaches, plums, or pears, depending on the season.) For more grilled fruit dishes, check out our recipe roundup.