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!
Why Smoked Pineapple?
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.
It’s easy to work with on any smoker or grill set up for indirect heat, and you can make it right alongside your favorite protein to have as an appetizer or dessert.
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.
How to Prepare Pineapple for Smoking
Cleaning and Prepping
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 1/2-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 Smoked 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.
Best Times and Temperatures for Smoking Pineapple
Best Temperature to Smoke Pineapple
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.
How Long Does it Take to Smoke Pineapple?
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 carmelized to burnt in a matter of minutes, especially if you see it bubbling on the surface.
Setting up your Grill or Smoker for Smoked Pineapple
New to smoking?
Like we said, you are most likely setting up your smoker to cook a main dish for the smoked pineapple to accompany, or serve as the dessert to.
If so, make sure to follow THOSE instructions for setting up your smoker.
If, however, you are just in the mood for smoking some pineapple by itself, here are the best instructions for setting up different types of grills and smokers to do just that.
Smoked Pineapple in a Vertical or Offset Charcoal Smoker
Fill your firebox or lower charcoal basin with about a chimney’s worth of unlit charcoal and create a small hollowed out depression in the center where you can add your lit briquets.
If your smoker comes with a water pan, like the Weber Smokey Mountain, don’t bother with filling it.
Light a charcoal chimney all the way with charcoal and wait about 20 minutes for it to fully ignite.
Once lit, add the briquets to the center depression you created.
Keep the dampers about 1/2 way to 3/4 open until the temperature is in the 225°F range.
Add 1 chunk of smoking wood once the smoker is up to temperature and put your maple and brown sugar rubbed pineapple on.
Then slowly close down the top and bottom dampers to about 1/3-1/4 open until you are maintaining a temperature of 250° F.
Smoked Pineapple in an Electric Smoker
Place your pineapple in the smoker.
Smoked Pineapple on a Pellet Grill
Fill the pellet hopper with your choice of smoking wood pellets, preferably apple or hickory.
Plug in the pellet grill and turn the temperature to 250°F. Make sure you have the pellet grill set up for INDIRECT cooking.
For instance, on a Pit Boss and Camp Chef pellet grills there is a special lever to pull to switch from DIRECT to INDIRECT heat.
When the pellet grill has come up to temperature, place your pineapple on the grill.
Never used a pellet grill before? Read our Ultimate Guide to Pellet Grills to learn why they are so easy and how to set one up for success every time.
Smoked Pineapple on a Gas or Charcoal Grill
On a gas or charcoal grill you will likely need to use a smoker box filled with wood chips, or a pellet tube smoker filled with wood pellets.
Think you need a fancy smoker to smoke food at home?
Great smoked food can be made right on your current gas or charcoal grill.
If you are unfamiliar with these gas grill smoking devices mentioned above, no worries, we have you covered!
Or check out this handy comparison between smoker boxes and pellet tube smokers if you can’t decide which is right for you.
In the case of smoked pineapple, we would opt for the smoker box with wood chips since we only need about 30 minutes of wood smoking time, which is about how long a full smoker box lasts.
This will save you the hassle of having to waste and extinguish a pellet tube full of pellets that can last up to 5 hours..
Set up your gas or charcoal grill for indirect cooking with the burners or a small amount of lit briquets on one side and plan for your pineapple to be on the other side.
Remember, we are smoking the pineapple INDIRECTLY, like an oven, not DIRECTLY over the burners or coals.
Once the temperature of your grill is around 225°F, place your smoker box or pellet tube smoker over the lit burners and once smoke begins coming out, place your pineapple on the opposite side.
Continue bringing the temperature up to 250-275°F.
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 PhatMat Non Stick 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!
What Other Food Can I Smoke?
Looking for some more smoky inspiration?
So glad you asked.
Check out some of our other great recipes of smoked and grilled food you can easily prepare at your next outdoor BBQ!
- Smoked Swordfish with Lemon and Garlic
- Honey Smoked Salmon
- Smoked Oysters in a Garlic White Wine Sauce
- Smoked Scallops with Lemon Butter Sauce
- Smoked Lobster Tails
- Honey Smoked Tilapia
- Perfect Smoked Halibut
- Smoked Mahi Mahi
- Smoked Prime Rib on a Traeger Pellet Grill
- Perfect Smoked London Broil
- Smoked Ribeye Roast
- Hot and Fast Smoked Beef Brisket
- Smoked Corned Beef
- Smoked and Reverse Seared Ribeye Steaks
- Pellet Grilled Steak
- Perfect Grilled Hamburgers
- Smoked Eye of Round Roast Beef
- Smoked Leg of Lamb with Guinness Marinade
- Smoked Lamb Chops with a Balsamic Butter Sauce
- Smoked Rack of Lamb with Garlic and Rosemary or Smoker
- Smoked and Pulled Lamb Shoulder with a Turkish Spice Rub
- Smoked Lamb Shanks
Smoked Pork, Turkey, and Chicken
- Traeger Smoked Baby Back Ribs
- Pellet Grill Smoked Pork Chops
- Smoked Fresh Ham with Dark Rum Citrus Glaze
- Spatchcocked Chicken on a Pellet Grill
- Smoked Turkey Breast with Cajun Butter Injection
- Spiral Sliced Smoked Hot Dogs
- Smoked Bratwurst with Beer Braised Onions
- Gas Grilled Bratwurst
- Pellet Grilled Bratwurst
- Pellet Grill Turkey
- Roasted Pig in Your Backyard
- Traeger Smoked Pulled Pork
- Traeger Smoked 3-2-1 Ribs
Other Odds and Ends
- Smoked Gouda Cheese
- Smoked Asparagus
- Smoked Cauliflower
- Sticky Smoked Sweet Potatoes
- Perfect Steamed Tamales
Trash Can Turkey – OK, technically not made on a grill or smoker but one of the most fun ways there is to cook a Turkey…at over 700 degrees in only 2 hours!
You’ve got to check it out!
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 Tbsp 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 1/2-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 Tbsp Kosher Salt