Watermelon on Fire: A Guide to Grilling This Summer Staple

Watermelon: the quintessential symbol of summer refreshment. But did you know this juicy fruit can also be a surprising star on the grill? Grilled watermelon offers a delightful twist on a classic, with smoky char notes complementing the natural sweetness. Here's how to grill watermelon like a pro:

What You'll Need:

  • A watermelon (seedless variety is recommended)
  • Grill with medium-high heat
  • Cutting board and sharp knife
  • Tongs
  • Optional: Cooking spray, oil, or marinade for added flavor

Slicing for Success:

There are two main approaches to slicing watermelon for grilling:

  • Thick Slices: Cut the watermelon into 1-inch thick slices. Leaving the rind on provides a sturdy handle for grilling and flipping.
  • Wedges: Cut the watermelon into wedges, similar to how you might serve it raw. This option offers more surface area for grill marks.

Grilling Magic:

  1. Prep the Grill: Preheat your grill to medium-high heat. If using charcoal, wait until the coals are ashen grey for more even heat. You can also use a grill pan on a stovetop.
  2. Optional Seasoning: Lightly brush or spray the watermelon slices with cooking spray or oil to prevent sticking. For an extra flavor boost, consider a simple marinade of lime juice, honey, or a sprinkle of chili flakes.
  3. Grill Time! Gently place the watermelon slices on the preheated grill. Depending on the thickness, they'll need 2-3 minutes per side. You'll know they're ready when they develop nice grill marks and the flesh softens slightly.
  4. Watch the Flame: Watermelon has a high water content, so be mindful of flare-ups. If flames get out of control, move the watermelon slices to a cooler area of the grill.

Serving Suggestions:

The beauty of grilled watermelon is its versatility! Here are some ideas:

  • Simple and Sweet: Enjoy the grilled watermelon slices on their own, letting the smoky sweetness shine.
  • Salty Contrast: Crumble feta cheese or sprinkle Cotija cheese over the warm watermelon for a delightful sweet and salty combination.
  • Fruity Fiesta: Pair grilled watermelon with other grilled fruits like pineapple or peaches for a vibrant summer salad.
  • Tangy Twist: Drizzle the grilled watermelon with a balsamic glaze reduction for a touch of sweet and tangy.

Experiment and Enjoy!

Grilling watermelon is a fun and unexpected way to enjoy this summertime favorite. With a little creativity, you can create a unique and delicious side dish or even a refreshing dessert. So fire up the grill and get ready to experience watermelon in a whole new light!