Why Firm Bananas Are Best For Grilling

Bananas are cool, but to many palates, they're best served warm. Ever crunched into that burnt top layer of a hot Bananas Foster? Banana slices deep-fried make for a perfect summer snack. Don't even get us started on banana bread fresh out of the oven.

For another hot twist on a fruity favorite, we present to you: bananas on the grill. Thought the grill was just for meat? Think again. The grill might be an unexpected kitchen tool, but its natural cooking process infuses your sweet fruit with a caramelized, smoky flavor, according to Simply Recipes. For a dish with hot bananas as the star, and oaky nuttiness as the supporting actor, try tossing a couple of peels on the grill. Your barbecue guests will thank you.

But, before you do, make sure to test their ripeness. Eat Simple Food advises that the key to a successful grilled banana is firmness. Nobody likes biting into a bitter, underripe banana, but hear us out. Fruit on the grill plays by a different set of rules: here's why.

Firm bananas hold up to heat

Riper bananas are soft and won't hold their shape when exposed to heat, says Eat Simple Food. If you lob on a ripe banana, it says, there's a good chance it'll stick to the grill. Martha Stewart explains that the heat from the grill caramelizes the natural sugars in fruit (like bananas), which makes them break down and become mushy. Luckily, this won't impact the overall taste as much as the appearance, according to A Couple Cooks. Still — for a pretty plate, a firm banana is your best bet.

To keep those soft bananas intact, Peach Depot recommends grilling in "boats." Food Network suggests leaving those bananas unpeeled in the skin. You could even cut a thin slice along the length of the peel for ventilation. The peel will act as a barrier between the soft fruit flesh and the grill. For added protection, Epicurious suggests covering the grill with a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Just be sure to oil both the banana peel and your cooktop before cooking to prevent a sticky mess. To get that crispy outside, Food Network recommends grilling them cut-side down. If the finished product looks a little, well, ugly, not to worry. Betty Crocker warns that a grilled banana peel usually turns black, but it's no cause for concern –- the fruit inside isn't burnt, and the sweet flavor profile will still be intact.