Growing up with apple orchards all around me, little in life is more comforting than anything with apples. Taken crisp and fresh off the tree, I’m a thief among the leaves and branches. But baked with sugar and cinnamon, the apples become the thief of all life’s problems.
Truly, almost nothing goes better with pork than apples. The sweetness is a perfect complement while that bit of tartness balances out any fat that comes with certain cuts like ribs or chops.
And, as you may have determined by now, I don’t turn my oven on very much during the summer, so the question was how to make baked apples on the barbecue? The recipe that follows tells you how easy it is to make this mouth-watering side any time of year … and all the easier when the grill is already on and you’re grilling the meat too.
Serve with Barbecued Ribs with Root Beer Sauce.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Rest time: 20 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Servings: Enough for 4-8 people, depending on how you split and serve the apples
- 4 crisp red apples (e.g. Braeburn, Fuji, Gala)
→ You want something that isn’t too juicy (not a Macintosh) and something that will keep its shape during cooking
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1½ tablespoons butter
Note: You will need an 8-inch cast-iron skillet as well and high-quality oven-proof gloves.
- If your grill isn’t already on, heat grill to to about 300°F .
- Mix the sugar and cinnamon together so that the cinnamon is evenly incorporated.
- Wash and core the apples using an apple corer. Cut ½” (1 cm) off the bottom of the removed core and press it back into the bottom of the apple. This will prevent the sugar from falling out (see picture below ↓).
- Using a small spoon or your fingers, light pack the cinnamon-sugar into the cored apples holding the bottom plug at the same time to prevent sugar from passing through.
- Place the apples together in a cast-iron pan just large enough to hold them (an 8″ skillet should be plenty big) and top with a small pat of butter.
→ Don’t use a bigger without also using more apples or the apples and sugar will burn.
- Place skill on grill over direct heat and cover and let bake for about 20 minutes until the sides of the apple are just soft when pressed with a finger.
- Remove from heat with heavy oven-proof gloves (silicone would be best). Be very very careful because the cast iron will be extremely hot. and set on heat resistant surface or trivet to cool slightly. This prevent the remaining liquid in the apples from leaking out.
- Using a very sharp knife, cut the apples into quarters or thirds and serve onto plates. Now for the best part — all that gooey yumminess in the bottom of the pan. Juices from the apples will have mixed with the butter and sugar to create a decadent caramel. Spoon some of this caramelized sugar/sauce over the apple slices and enjoy!