Yes, You Can Smoke Pineapple (And Definitely Should)

smoked spiced pineapple
smoked spiced pineapple - Margouillatphotos/Getty Images

Every summer meal needs the sweet and tart bite of fresh pineapple, but it's an especially great addition to your barbecues and cookouts. Sure, pineapple is delicious on its own, but did you know it's even better when you throw it in the smoker? Smoking your pineapple leads to a caramelized outer layer with a rich, sweet and tender pineapple inside.

Slice it up and skewer it to make pineapple kebabs, cut it into rings and smoke it with your meats, or cut it in half and smother it in marinade. You can also keep it sweet or make it savory, depending on what seasonings you add. There are many ways to customize your pineapple to meet your barbecue needs, and whether you're serving it as an appetizer or dessert, smoked pineapple is sure to be your new favorite smoky dish of the season.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

Prepping Your Pineapple On The Smoker

pineapple cut in half on blank table
pineapple cut in half on blank table - Roman Tishchenko/Shutterstock

While it's easy to grab a can of pineapple from the pantry, smoking works best with a fresh, whole, ripe pineapple. After you've chosen the right pineapple, you could cut it into slices, but to get the most flavor, try only cutting it in half before smoking. Once you've cut it perfectly down the middle, leaving the skin and leaves intact, it's prime time to season your fruit. You can do this by covering it in cinnamon and honey for a sweet, crispy layer, or try coating it in brown sugar and butter. You can brush some teriyaki sauce onto your pineapple for extra tang. Or, if you want to add heat to balance the sweetness, drizzle some Chamoy and sprinkle Tajín over your pineapple.

Pineapple cooks differently than protein, so if you're cooking the pineapple alone, you'll only need to preheat your smoker to between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for about an hour. Smoking your pineapple instead of gas grilling adds woodsmoke flavor to your fruit via wood chips. You can stick to savory wood chips like mesquite, but why not infuse your pineapple with other fruity flavors? Try using wood chips from fruit trees — like cherry or peach — to strengthen the natural sweetness of your pineapple. Note though that you can achieve a tasty smoked pineapple using a gas or charcoal grill if you don't have a smoker. To get that smoky flavor try grilling your pineapple on a cedar plank.

Digging Into Your Smoked Pineapple

smoked pineapple margaritas on wooden cutting board
smoked pineapple margaritas on wooden cutting board - Elena Veselova/Shutterstock

Once prepared, it can be tempting to take a spoon right to the heart of your pineapple. But don't get too eager; there are still ways to upgrade this smoked delight. If you kept your pineapple whole or cut it in half as recommended, you can slice it into cubes after the fact, sticking toothpicks in each one and serving it as an appetizer. If smoking your pineapple on kebab style, like for Spam and pineapple skewers, you can brush marinade on before smoking.

If your smoked pineapple is intended for dessert, spoon some vanilla ice cream on top and serve it a la mode. Smoked pineapple also makes a great ingredient in an oat crumble-topped crisp, which you can make separately in the oven or a cast iron skillet on the smoker.

Don't be shy to lean into smoked pineapple's savory side by making a smoked or grilled pineapple salad with creamy feta cheese and some spicy jalapeños, serving it alongside your grilled proteins. Your smoked pineapple is the perfect traditional topping for tacos al pastor, combining the pineapple's tang with the savory adobo pork. And since you have a main course and dessert, why not add a drink? Smoked pineapple is an excellent garnish for a classic tequila pineapple express.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal.