Learn everything you need to know about how to make smoked pineapple!
Smoking a pineapple brings out unique, complex flavors and creates a great appetizer, dessert, or side dish for your next outdoor cookout. Best of all, it's REALLY easy!
Whether you've got a Weber gas grill, a Traeger or Pit Boss pellet grill, or even a Masterbuilt electric smoker, we've got you covered!
If you've spent any amount of time either attending or cooking at outdoor BBQ's, you've probably had some grilled pineapple. Maybe it was on a skewer with some other meats and veggies or sliced up to accompany a fresh ham or some pork chops.
Grilled pineapple CAN be great...if done right. But even more interesting is SMOKED PINEAPPLE.
Pineapple pairs wonderfully with fruitwood smoke such as apple or cherry and added ingredients such as maple, bourbon, brown sugar, and even a little SALT can bring out some amazing complex flavors as the sugars in the pineapple gently caramelize at the lower smoking temperatures that won't burn the sugar so quickly like direct grilling can.
Best Wood for Smoking Pineapple
Cherry, Maple, Apple, and even Oak are great wood choices that pair wonderfully with pineapple.
You can probably get away with Hickory but best to mix it with another wood type.
Stay away from Mesquite for smoking fruit.
You can choose one or the other or mix them together!
You can impart A LOT of distinctive smoke flavor in a relatively short period of time.
Cleaning and Prepping the Pineapple
If you want to make your life super simple, go ahead and buy a container of freshly cut pineapple rings from the produce section of your grocery store.
Or you can use canned pineapple rings, but they may be more likely to fall apart on the grill or smoker compared to thick cut FRESH pineapple rings.
If you can use a fresh pineapple, you'll need to carve it up the right way.
First, cut off the top and bottom of the pineapple.
Next cut lengthwise down the ides, working your way around the pineapple until you've taken off all the outer skin.
Then go back and slice off any brown spots or "eyes" still hanging around.
Finally, lay the pineapple down on its side and cut in ½-inch slices from one end to the other.
Thicker slices will be easier to move around on the grill or smoker than very thin slices will.
Slicing up a thick, fibrous pineapple can be a difficult task, especially getting through the dense core of the center when you make your slices.
We actually found our favorite meat slicing knife did the best job deconstructing the pineapple.
So if you have a good meat slicing knife, give it a try on your smoked pineapple or check out the one we use from Mairico that went through it like butter.
Seasoning the Pineapple
You've got a number of seasoning options for your smoked pineapple. You can even use traditional BBQ rubs and a spicy BBQ sauce if you wish.
It actually tastes pretty good!
Our favorite flavors with smoked pineapple however are maple, brown sugar, bourbon, and sea salt.
You can leave out the maple syrup or bourbon if you don't care for those flavors, but the idea is to get a nice sweet and salty glaze on the outside of the pineapple while its on the smoker.
You can even mix a little cayenne pepper in as well if you want some heat with your sweet!
This all works best, and is easiest to clean up afterwards, if you use a good silicone basting brush like these ones we use.
When choosing what temperature to smoke the pineapple it's important to know the temperature at which sugar burns.
Whether you are using a sugary rub or not, there is TONS of sugar in the pineapple itself, and we want it to gently caramelize, not burn.
Because sugar begins to burn and develop a bitter flavor when cooked above 350°F, you will want to keep your smoker temperature below 350°F, probably below 325°F to be safe, and also watch it like a hawk.
(And by the way, this is true for ALL BBQ temperature selection when using sugary rubs.)
If you want a more caramelized texture on the smoked pineapple, go ahead and turn up the smoker at the end to 350°F or hit them with some direct heat form a gas grill burner, or pellet grill flame for just the last few minutes.
If you are using a grill, make sure to set it up for INDIRECT cooking with all the charcoal or burners lit on the opposite side of the pineapple.
Now, your smoked pineapple will still come out delicious if cooked at a lower temperature like 200-225°F, especially if the meat you are cooking it alongside requires a lower smoking temperature, it just may take longer to get that nice golden brown caramelization.
If you set up your smoker at 250-275° F like we are, it will take about 60 minutes to absorb some smokey flavor.
How Can You Tell When Smoked Pineapple is Finished Cooking?
Unlike many of the meats we smoke around here, where you have to watch the internal temperature like a hawk, you have some pretty good leeway with smoking pineapple.
You don't want to go TOO far and have it start to burn on the outside or get mushy on the inside, but you DO have a fair amount of leeway in how long it smokes.
After about 45 minutes on the smoker or grill, take a peek to see how the outside is progressing.
If it still looks fairly pale and uncooked, go ahead and leave it on a little longer or crank the heat up to 325-350°F for a few minutes to get some more caramelization..
Just make sure to keep watching it carefully as sugar can go from deliciously caramelized to burnt in a matter of minutes, especially if you see it bubbling on the surface.
Optional: Use a Grill Basket or Grill Mat
You may be more successful if you place the smoked pineapple rings or spears in a grill basket rather than directly on the grill grates to avoid losing any pieces through the grates.
We are particular fans of the ORDORA Portable Grill Basket because it comes with its own handle, making it much easier to manage and move lots of delicate food around with one quick motion.
Our personal favorite is the Grillaholics Mesh Grill Mat.
Just throw it down on your grill to keep your pineapple (or any other food) from falling through.
It keeps your grates really clean, and when you are done, you just throw it right in the dishwasher!
Coring and Serving the Smoked Pineapple Slices
Once the smoked pineapple looks sufficiently smoked and caramelized after about 60 minutes of smoking and maybe a few minutes on higher heat to finish, carefully remove it from the grill or smoker and place the pieces on a cutting board or wire baking rack to cool.
If you haven't removed the centers yet, use a biscuit cutter to quickly make them into rings before serving.
We found the pineapple stayed intact better on the smoker by removing the cores AFTER smoking the slices.
Place the smoked pineapple on top of some vanilla ice cream for an extra decadent dessert to finish off a great meal!
If you're looking for some more fruit to try smoking, make sure to check out our Easy Smoked Peaches too!
Smoked Pineapple with Bourbon Maple Glaze
- A Smoker or Pellet grill -OR-
- A Gas or Charcoal Grill setup for indirect heat
- A Carving Knife
- A Meat Injector (optional)
- A Basting Brush
- Fruitwood (Apple or Cherry) or Maple pellets, woodchips, or chunks
- A Small Biscuit Cutter
- A Wire Baking Rack
- 1 Whole Pineapple Top, bottom, and sides cut off
- ¾ Cup Dark Brown Sugar
- ¼ Cup Maple Syrup
- ¼ Cup Bourbon Whiskey or Water
- 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt to finish if desired
Prepare the Grill or Smoker
- Preheat the smoker, or grill setup for indirect cooking, to 250°F. If using a pellet grill, load the hopper with your chosen pellets, turn on the grill, and set the temperature for 250°F.
- If using a grill, once it is near its temperature, add your wood chips, wood chunks, or pellets into a pellet tube smoker and place over the direct heat and close the lid.
Prepare the Pineapple for Smoking
- Cut the top and bottom off the pineapple. Next cut lengthwise down the ides, working your way around the pineapple until you’ve taken off all the outer skin.1 Whole Pineapple
- Then go back and slice off any brown spots or “eyes” still visible on the pineapple.
- Lay the pineapple down on its side and cut it into ½-inch slices from one end to the other.
- Do not remove the centers of the slices until AFTER smoking otherwise the pineapple rings may fall apart on the smoker.
Smoke the Pineapple
- Once the grill or smoker is up to 250°F and producing smoke, place the pineapple slices into the smoker, or on the cool side of the grill.
- Whisk together the brown sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon whiskey. Or use water if you don't want to use bourbon.¾ Cup Dark Brown Sugar, ¼ Cup Maple Syrup, ¼ Cup Bourbon Whiskey
- Every 10 minutes or so, baste the pineapple slices on each side with some of the maple bourbon mixture using a good silicone basting brush.
- Flip and rotate the pineapple slices as need for even cooking on the grill or smoker.
- After about 45-60 minutes, check whether the outside is carmelizing and if not, turn the heat up to about 350°F or move the pineapple slices over the direct heat of a medium gas burner or lit charcoal.
- Watch the pineapple slices carefully at this point and flip as needed just to get some light caramelization and not burn the smoked pineapple.
Remove the Cores and Serve the Smoked Pineapple
- Once the pineapple looks cooked to your liking, remove the smoked pineapple from the grill or smoker using BBQ tongs and place on a cutting board to cool for 5 minutes before removing the cores
- Using a small biscuit cutter (or a paring knife), carefully press down and remove the fibrous centers form each pineapple slice.
- Lastly, sprinkle a little kosher salt or sea salt on the smoked pineapple rings before serving with whipped cream or ice cream.1 tablespoon Kosher Salt