Wednesday, March 16, 2011

T-Bones with Charred Pineapple

It's really getting to be grillin' weather out here, and I've got the bug big time.  One thing that doesn't get grilled by most people nearly as often as it should is pineapple.  When you get this right, it's like a big, juicy piece of candy.  The charred outside is reminiscent of toasted marshmallows, and the ultrasweet, juicy interior is a completely unique experience in the food world.  I highly recommend grilling the next ripe pineapple you come across.

I was out doing the grocery shopping earlier this week and spied this pineapple:

Note that there is no green anywhere to be seen in the crevices between the bumps on the outside, and it has a nice uniform golden brown color.  This is a pineapple at the peak of ripeness and flavor, so naturally I had no choice but to snap it up.

The recipe for grilled pineapple couldn't be easier:

Grilled Pineapple:
  1. 1 ripe pineapple
  2. (optional) a sprinkle of organic dark brown sugar
To clean your pineapple, start by slicing off the knobby outer layer with a knife.  When you have that done, quarter the pineapple along the long axis.  You can see some of the knobby outside that I cut off in the corner of the picture to get an idea of how much to remove.  It feels like waste, but if you eat enough of the little spines you'll see why you have to cut that much off:

When you have it quartered, cut the core out of each piece with your knife by standing the piece on end and slicing off about 3/4"-1" of the point of the triangle you made:

Now cut each quarter in half to end up with eight pineapple spears:

If you want, you can sprinkle some of them with brown sugar.  If you do this, they will be glossier and have a sweeter caramel taste.  If you like the toasted marshmallow flavor (I do) you can leave off the sugar:

After you've done the initial sear of your steaks and moved them to indirect heat, toss the pineapple spears on directly over the coals.  They need to cook for about 5-7 minutes per side.  Don't be shy about this, the blackening really is tasty in this case:

Here's a closeup of the pineapple so you can see the difference in texture of the sugared ones a little better.  The one on top is sugared, and the one on bottom is not:

I tried a slightly different rub on my steaks this time, and I thought it was quite good.  I just added about 1-1/2 tsp dried oregano from my garden to each steak (in addition to the salt and pepper) and worked it into the meat a little on one side.  Start the grilling with that side down, then leave it on top for the rest of the time after the first (and only) flip.  When everything is done, let the steaks rest under cover for about 5 minutes, then put it all on a platter and serve it up.  This meal is great with a full-bodied red wine.

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