Give Your Apples Grill Marks This Summer

June 13, 2016

We partnered with our friends at Stemilt Growers to get you grilling—apples, that is—this summer. Their online resource There's An Apple for That offers a guide to choosing the right apple for your dish, cooking techniques, and recipes.

Grilling season is upon us—and while everyone else is headed down the meat aisle, consider an alternate route and head toward the fruit. It takes to the grill just as well as vegetables or burgers do, whether it's riding a savory wave or carrying those sweet grill marks right to the plate—alongside a mound of whipped cream, even.

Grill, baby, grill! Photo by James Ransom

And apples take to the heat especially well—those that are crisp, tart, and tough-skinned, like a Pink Lady or Granny Smith. They'll keep their body, show off grill marks, and make a great side dish or dessert for your next outdoor meal. Softer, sweeter apples, like Red Delicious or Empire, tend to relax too much when grilled, so go easy on those; they're better suited to snacking on raw.

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You can slice cored apples in half, brush them with oil or a little melted butter, and put them right on the grill over medium or medium-high heat. Let them go for a few minutes—then treat them just like these avocado halves and fill 'em with whatever you'd like. I'm in the camp of ice cream and cinnamon sugar (like you see above), but you could easily do some vinegary slaw or oozy Brie.

Depending on how wide your grill grates are, you could go with wedges or rounds for a side dish to steak, chicken, or portobello burgers (you could also grill the halved apples and slice them after for easy handling). Or use a mandoline to shave apples thin, then cover your grill in foil and arrange them so that they'll still get a little color where the grates are. Serve them with chocolate mousse or pile them on thick-cut toasts with cheese and pesto for a quick dinner. And if you just want to warm them and add smokiness, tuck them into a little pocket of foil and place on the cooler side of the grill for a few minutes.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“As a Californian, I grill all year long, so I can grill apples in October just as easily as in June. Maybe I should take Antonia James' advice and stop reading "partner" articles as well. ;o)”
— 702551

More: Get grilling all kinds of fruit—just follow these guidelines.

If you're looking for more complex flavors or just want to use up dregs from around the house, give your apples a marinade or a quick bath before they go on the grill.

Not sure where to start? Here are a few variations from our Test Kitchen Manager Josh, whether you're looking for something savory or to amplify those sweet/tart qualities:

  • Brandy, dark brown sugar, cinnamon
  • Red wine, honey, cloves, orange zest
  • Maple syrup, bacon fat, rosemary, cayenne
  • Lapsang souchong tea, ginger, nutmeg, pineapple juice
  • Olive oil, ground fennel seeds, roasted garlic puree, lemon
  • Chicken stock, fresh thyme, celery salt, black pepper

And if you want to sub in grilled apples for raw or cooked in other dishes, try swapping them in for what's called for in these recipes:

There’s An Apple for That is Washington-based Stemilt Growers searchable resource for all things apple, from cooking techniques to recipes. See all their apple varieties, like Granny Smith, Piñata, and Pink Lady, here.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Brianna
  • Betsey
  • 702551
  • AntoniaJames
  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel
I love oysters and unfussy sandwiches.


Brianna June 14, 2016
Brianna here from Stemilt Growers! We chose a summer apple post to highlight our new resource, There’s An Apple For That, which shows all the ways you can prepare, pair and cook apples throughout the year. Whether you’re grilling this summer, or looking to create cider for those crisp fall nights, we hope Food52 readers will use There’s An Apple for That as a resource for apple recipes and more. Many of you might know apples are harvested in Washington State from August through October, but are available most months of the year. You can learn more here about the process: To enjoy the best of the summer season, we recommend trying Braeburn and Gala (June only), Fuji, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Red Delicious.
Betsey June 14, 2016
In what part of the country are apples in season in the summer?
702551 June 14, 2016
Here in California, we get local Gravensteins in August. The more common cultivars don't really show up until the autumn.

I'm talking my local farmers market, not what shows up in MegaSuperGroceryStore.
702551 June 13, 2016
For sure Stemilt Growers -- as one of the largest commercial apple producers -- is highly motivated to rid themselves of lingering inventory of last year's crop before this year's harvest commences. I suppose that's the primary motivation for sponsoring a post like this in June.

As a Californian, I grill all year long, so I can grill apples in October just as easily as in June.

Maybe I should take Antonia James' advice and stop reading "partner" articles as well. ;o)
AntoniaJames June 13, 2016
Apples? In June? Where? ;o)
702551 June 13, 2016
New Zealand? ;-)

Last year's crop is still available at the supermarket. We'll see Gravensteins here in California in a couple of months.
AntoniaJames June 13, 2016
Yeah, the timing seems rather odd for a Washington-based advertorial. Although I suppose you might possibly be able to find last year's storage apples, but goodness! In June, who on earth wants those? I'm afraid I just don't understand. ;o)
Sarah J. June 13, 2016
The markets here in NYC are still full of apples. And they're still tasty! Just had a Crispin today (and a Fuji yesterday).
702551 June 13, 2016
It's been several months since I spotted an apple at my town's farmers market. Like you, when it's June, I'm definitely not thinking apple.

Right now, it's all about strawberries, raspberries, various blackberry cultivars, stone fruits (cherries, peaches, nectarines, etc.).

Blenheim apricots made their first appearance yesterday, several weeks early. I also spotted a few melons, also very early. I'll buy the Blenheims next weekend, their season is so short, but I'll hold off on melons until July.
AntoniaJames June 13, 2016
Getting any fruit year round kind of sucks the joy out of it.

Really surprised to see Food52 embracing this. . . . . . I need to remember not to click through to anything with "Partner" (code for "Advertiser") on it. ;o)
702551 June 13, 2016
I'm with you.

*REAL* fruit is seasonal. My town's farmers market runs all year long and there are strawberries every single week, but I refuse to buy them before May and after September.

A lot of the Food52 articles are oddly timed, not just the "partner" ones. There was a white asparagus article that was posted a few weeks ago when the NorCal green asparagus season had already concluded. The asparagus article should have been posted in mid-March, not late May.
Sarah J. June 13, 2016
I'm kind of confused about what's wrong with buying apples that have been in storage. I enjoy eating them year-round and so I'll buy some apples that have been harvested in the fall (they're going to go somewhere, right?) along with my strawberries.

And cv, I think you touch on a point that we are trying to work with and around here, so thank you for bringing it up! Different parts of the country have asparagus—and peas, and tomatoes, and summer squash—at different times of year, as you all point out! Sometimes particular stories come up because we're here on the East Coast and see a certain fruit or vegetable at the market and feel inspired to ask a question about. That's what happened with the white asparagus. We do try to keep other regions of the country and the world in mind, too!
702551 June 13, 2016
This site would be far more interesting to people on the West Coast if you bump up your editorial calendar by 4-6 weeks for produce related posts. The West Coast (particularly Southern California) gets fruits and vegetables weeks before other parts of the country.

The now-discontinued "Your Saturday Farmer's Market Inspiration" made it obvious. The majority of the photos were posted by Californians.

Produce related articles for a site with a largely American readership should ideally coincide with the first arrival of the crop in question in North America, not when it shows up in NYC. More interesting to read about something that's arriving rather than something that has already departed.

Clearly you see it differently, but produce-related articles are more interesting when they are timed with seasonality. Sure, you can buy apples all year around at the grocery store (just like buying tomatoes in the dead of winter). I'm thrilled to read about asparagus in mid-March because I know they are right around the corner. Reading about asparagus in October? Yeah, sure I can buy them at the grocery store, but it's less interesting. If I really want to read about something that's completely out of season, there are search engines to help locate such content.

Anyhow, you're part of the editorial staff, do what you think is best.
AntoniaJames June 13, 2016
Well, the timing is always going to be off for someone. As for whether there is something "wrong" with eating storage apples in June . . . . no, there's nothing "wrong" with it. I just find that eating produce when in season, saying good bye when the season is over (I do make an exception, for a few months in the dead of winter, for local storage apples), and then welcoming it back during its growing season like a friend who's been away, keeps it special. Is that so hard to understand?
I can see why the Stemilt family might want to stimulate sales in June, and I understand that Food52 is beholden to its advertisers, but I respectfully submit that this article would be a lot more interesting, and relevant, in August. ;o)
Betsey June 14, 2016
I wish I could like posts on here :)