How to Grill Watermelon
Learn how to give this sweet fruit an irresistibly smoky twist.
Grilling and watermelons, these two summertime favorites were just meant to be together. If you've had your fill of cold and sweet watermelon slices this season, then it's time to try firing up the grill next time you're entertaining.
Seasoned with a sweet and spicy rub, when grilled watermelon gets extra juicy and flavorful. Plus it's a versatile dish that doubles as an appetizer or dessert depending on what seasoning blend you use. Follow our four simple rules for making the best grilled watermelon:
How to Make Grilled Watermelon
Keeping the watermelon flesh attached to the rind makes it less likely to fall apart on the grill. Cut your watermelon into wedges, which will be the perfect serving size for guests. If you're intimidated by slicing up a big watermelon, try buying a mini watermelon to make it a more manageable task.
Related: How to Pick a Watermelon
Sprinkling a rub on your watermelon adds extra zing to complement the grill's smoky flavor. A good formula is sugar, salt, citrus, and spice. Sugar caramelizes to create beautiful grill marks, while salt balances out the naturally sweet fruit. Citrus — such as zest from a lemon, lime, or orange — makes the whole dish taste a little brighter. And spice, whether packing in the heat or just a boost of flavor, balances everything out. We recommend reaching for chili powder, red pepper flakes, or cumin. Rub a light coating of your seasoning over each slice before grilling.
Make sure your grill, no matter the type, is set to a high heat. This will almost instantly give those photo-worthy grill marks, but not overcook the watermelon to mush. Each piece should be cooked until just warm through, which requires about two to three minutes on each side. Watermelon can be grilled with a gas or charcoal grill for smoky outdoor flavor. If you're more interested in getting grill marks, and the smokiness isn't a big factor in the final dish, watermelon can even be cooked on an indoor grill pan.
Grilled watermelon is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of recipes, or just enjoyed as-is. Serve it on kebabs, in a salad, chopped into salsa, or even blended into margaritas. You can also make it a sweet dessert by mixing it into a fruit salad or serving it with a scoop of ice cream.