You can spend all day smoking a brisket, grill up the best shish kebabs of your life, acrobatically flip burgers, but if you grill dessert, that’s what everyone is going to remember. Grilled desserts are rare and wonderful and no one will expect it. This might be because most people can’t think of a grilled dessert. The truth is there are so many things you can do with dessert on the grill it’s amazing you don’t see it more often.
The best bet for grilling dessert is fresh fruit. The high, intense heat of the grill is perfect for heating small pieces of fruit. The heat will caramelize the sugars, heat it through and give you a delicious treat. For example, start with pineapple slices. Throw them on the grill over a high direct heat for about one to two minutes per side. You want the surface to brown, but not burn. Take them directly from the grill, place on a plate and top with a scoop of ice cream and a dash of cinnamon sugar. That’s a great dessert in about five minutes.
Now, you can take if up a notch or two. Take the pineapple slices and soak them in a mixture of rum, brown sugar, butter, lemon juice and cinnamon. Drop them on the grill. The alcohol in the rum will cause them to flare-up. That’s okay, just watch your eyebrows. The heat from the grill will push the flavors into the pineapple. Let them grill until the alcohol is burned off and the surface is brown and shiny. Put them on the plate and top with ice cream, chopped nuts, chocolate sauce, etc. Now that’s a dessert.
Okay, before you start grilling your next dessert there are a couple of things you need to know. First of all, if you have just finished off a pile of burgers you don’t want to throw fresh fruit on the grate. You need to make sure that your grill is clean and that the cooking grates are well oiled before you start dessert. Rib-eye may not be the best flavoring for your grilled peaches.
Secondly, most things that you would want to grill for dessert can burn easily. Fruits contain sugars that will burn at temperatures of 265 degrees F. While you want the grill to be very hot, you don’t want the fruit to sit on the grill for more than a few minutes, especially your moister fruits like pineapple and citrus. Peaches and apples will take a little longer to burn, but don’t test it out. Also, if you soak peaches in wine, pineapple in rum, or bananas in tequila, you need to be careful about the flash flame. Once alcohol is heated and combusted it can burn really good, so keep your distance and keep your eyebrows. Also, make sure that you let these soaked goodies drip dry for a minute before they hit the grill. No point in pouring perfectly good whiskey into the fire.
Third, keep it simple. Grilled desserts shouldn’t keep you from your family or guests. Most recipes are quick and easy. After all, you don’t want people waiting for an hour while you grill up dessert. It also works best if you can grill and serve. You want to get hot grilled items to the table fast. Like with the pineapple sundae above, the pineapple should still be hot when you take that first bite.
Lastly, get everything ready early. Make as much of your grilled dessert beforehand so you are free to do other things. Fruits can soak in their mixtures in the refrigerator for hours before they hit the grill. In fact, it works better that way. Have everything ready and you won’t have to spend much time at all preparing dessert and you can have plenty of time to enjoy it.