Grilling Sweetness: Exploring BBQ Desserts


When we think of barbecues, our minds often drift to savory delights like juicy steaks, succulent ribs, and perfectly charred vegetables. However, the realm of barbecue cuisine extends far beyond the savory spectrum. Discover the delightful world of barbecue desserts, wherein the grill serves as a platform for crafting exquisite delicacies that entice the palate and bring outdoor get-togethers to an unparalleled level.

Exploring BBQ Desserts

Grilling desserts isn’t just about adding sweetness to your barbecue spread; it’s a culinary adventure pushing traditional cooking methods’ boundaries. By harnessing the heat and flavor of the grill, dessert enthusiasts can unlock a world of creative possibilities, transforming familiar ingredients into extraordinary indulgences.

  1. Infusing Flavor with Fire: Grilling desserts isn’t just about imparting heat; it’s about infusing each bite with the irresistible smokiness and caramelization that only an open flame can provide. Whether it’s the charred edges of a grilled pineapple slice or the subtle hint of smoke in a caramelized peach, the grill adds a depth of flavor that elevates simple fruits to gourmet status.
  2. Creative Combinations: One of the joys of grilling desserts is experimenting with unexpected flavor combinations. Take, for example, grilled watermelon drizzled with balsamic glaze and sprinkled with crumbled feta cheese. A dish that surprises and delights the palate is created when the sweetness of the watermelon properly balances the tanginess of the balsamic and the creaminess of the cheese.
  3. Embracing Seasonal Bounty: Grilling desserts allows home cooks to make the most of seasonal produce, highlighting the natural sweetness of fruits at their peak. In the summer, juicy peaches and plump berries take center stage, while in the fall, apples and pears lend themselves beautifully to grilling. By adapting recipes to reflect the changing seasons, grillmasters can create desserts that celebrate the bounty of each harvest.
  4. Pushing Boundaries with Technique: Grilling desserts isn’t just about what you cook but how you cook it. From using cedar planks to impart a smoky flavor to grilled cakes to mastering the art of indirect heat for perfectly roasted marshmallows, mastering grilling techniques opens up a world of culinary possibilities. With creativity and a willingness to experiment, dessert enthusiasts can create grilled treats that rival anything in a five-star restaurant.
  5. Sharing the Experience: Perhaps the greatest joy of grilling desserts is sharing the experience with friends and family. There’s something magical about gathering around the grill, swapping stories as you watch fruit skewers sizzle and marshmallows toast to golden perfection. Whether it’s a casual backyard barbecue or a special occasion celebration, grilling desserts brings people together, creating memories that last a lifetime.

Fruit Infusion

Grilling fruit isn’t just about heating it; it’s about coaxing its natural sweetness and enhancing its flavors through caramelization and smoky undertones. Below, we explore some of the most compelling grilled fruit combinations that will elevate your barbecue dessert game to new heights:

Grilled Fruit Ingredients/Preparation Serving Suggestions
Pineapple Rings – Fresh pineapple rings – Serve plain for a refreshing treat
– Honey, cinnamon (optional) – Drizzle with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon
– Skewers for grilling (optional) – Use in fruit skewers or as a topping for ice cream
Peach Halves – Fresh peaches, halved and pitted – Serve as an accompaniment to grilled meats.
– Brown sugar – Sprinkle some vanilla ice cream on top.
– Butter – Serve with a dollop of whipped cream
Watermelon Slices – Thick slices of seedless watermelon – Add some crushed feta cheese and mint leaves on top.
– Balsamic glaze (optional) – Drizzle with balsamic glaze for added sweetness
– Feta cheese, crumbled – Serve as a refreshing appetizer or dessert
Mixed Fruit Skewers – Assorted fruits such as strawberries, grapes, and kiwi – Serve as a colorful and nutritious dessert option
– Wooden skewers – Drizzle with melted chocolate for added indulgence
– Honey, lime juice (optional) – Garnish with smashed feta cheese and mint leaves.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Serve grilled pineapple rings plain for a refreshing treat, or drizzle them with honey and sprinkle with cinnamon for added sweetness.
  • Grilled peach halves are delicious topped with a dab of whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a dusting of brown sugar.
  • For a savory-sweet option, grill watermelon slices and sprinkle them with crumbled feta cheese and fresh mint leaves, then drizzle with balsamic glaze.
  • Skewer assorted fruits like strawberries, grapes, and kiwi to create colorful and nutritious desserts. Drizzle with melted chocolate or honey for added indulgence.

Grilling fruit enhances its flavor and adds a touch of excitement to barbecue desserts. Whether serving them as a refreshing treat, a side dish, or a colorful dessert option, grilled fruits will impress your guests and elevate your outdoor dining experience.

S’more Elevation

While the traditional s’more—a combination of roasted marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers—holds a special place in our hearts, there are countless ways to elevate this beloved treat on the grill. Here, we’ll look at creative takes on the traditional s’more that will wow your palate and elevate your outdoor get-togethers:

Grilled Marshmallow Mastery: Before assembling your s’mores, appreciate the art of grilling marshmallows to golden perfection. Skewer marshmallows onto long roasting sticks or metal skewers, then hold them over the grill’s open flame, rotating slowly to ensure even browning. The result? Perfectly toasted marshmallows with a gooey center and a hint of smokiness—a delicious foundation for your elevated s’mores.

Chocolate Varieties: While milk chocolate is the traditional choice for s’mores, why not experiment with different chocolate varieties to suit your taste preferences? Dark chocolate adds a rich, sophisticated flavor that pairs beautifully with the sweetness of toasted marshmallows, while white chocolate lends a creamy, indulgent texture. Consider using flavored chocolate bars such as salted caramel or raspberry-infused chocolate for an extra dose of decadence.

Gourmet Graham Cracker Options: Upgrade your s’mores game by swapping out traditional graham crackers for gourmet alternatives. Look for specialty graham crackers flavored with cinnamon, honey, or even chocolate for a unique twist on the classic treat. You may base your s’mores on shortbread or chocolate chip biscuits to give each bite even more flavor and texture.

Creative Additions: Take your s’mores to the next level by incorporating creative additions that complement the classic trio of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers. For added crunch, sprinkle crushed nuts like pecans or almonds over the melted chocolate. Alternatively, spread a peanut butter or Nutella layer on your graham crackers. For a touch of sophistication, drizzle your assembled s’mores with caramel or raspberry sauce before serving.

Serving Suggestions: Arrange your elevated s’mores on a platter and invite your guests to customize their creations with various toppings and fillings. Set out bowls of assorted chocolate bars, flavored marshmallows, gourmet graham crackers, and jars of peanut butter, Nutella, and fruit preserves for dipping and spreading. Encourage creativity and experimentation as guests build their ultimate s’mores masterpieces, then sit back and enjoy the delicious results of your s’more elevation efforts.

Your visitors will be left wanting more when you elevate the simple s’more to a gourmet dessert experience by embracing creativity and innovation.

So fire up the grill, gather your ingredients, and prepare to elevate your outdoor entertaining with these deliciously decadent s’more creations.

Grilled Dough Delights

Grilled dough opens up a world of possibilities for dessert lovers, offering a canvas for creativity and flavor exploration. From sweet pizzas to stuffed pastries, there’s no limit to the delicious creations that can be cooked perfectly over an open flame. Here are some mouthwatering grilled bread treats that will tantalize your taste buds:

Grilled Dough Delight Ingredients/Preparation Serving Suggestions
Dessert Pizza – Pizza dough – Serve as a unique dessert option for backyard BBQs
– Nutella, peanut butter, or fruit preserves for spreading – Customize toppings with sliced fruits, nuts, or chocolate chips for added sweetness
– Sliced fruits (such as bananas, strawberries, or peaches)  
– Chopped nuts (such as almonds or pecans) – Drizzle with honey or caramel sauce before serving
Grilled Doughnuts – Store-bought or homemade doughnuts – Serve as a decadent dessert or indulgent breakfast
– Melted butter – Roll in cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar for added sweetness
– Cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar for coating  
– Fruit preserves or chocolate hazelnut spread for filling – Present alongside a dollop of ice cream or whipped cream.
Grilled Stuffed – Refrigerated crescent roll dough or puff pastry sheets – Serve as a warm and comforting dessert option
Pastries – Cream cheese – Top with a dusting of powdered sugar or a drizzle of icing for added sweetness
– Fruit preserves or pie filling  
– Egg wash (optional) – To pair, add a dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Dessert pizza offers a playful twist on the classic savory dish. Pizza dough should have a base spread with Nutella, peanut butter, or fruit preserves. After the foundation is perfectly cooked, top with chopped nuts, sliced fruit, and a dollop of honey or caramel sauce.
  • Grilled doughnuts are a decadent treat that can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Coat store-bought or homemade doughnuts in melted butter, then roll them in cinnamon or powdered sugar for a sweet finish. Fill with fruit preserves or chocolate hazelnut spread for an extra flavor.
  • Grilled stuffed pastries are a comforting dessert that pairs flaky dough with creamy fillings. Refrigerated puff pastry sheets or crescent roll dough should be filled with pie filling or cream cheese, folded and sealed, and then grilled until golden brown. For extra sweetness, dust with powdered sugar or sprinkle with icing before serving.

A delightfully decadent way to indulge your sweet taste and enjoy the smoky scents of the grill is with grilled dough delights. Whether you’re serving dessert pizza for a playful twist on a classic dish, grilling doughnuts for a decadent treat, or indulging in stuffed pastries for a warm and comforting dessert option, these grilled delights are sure to impress your guests and elevate your outdoor dining experience.

Campfire Confections

Bringing the essence of a campfire into your backyard barbecue, campfire confections elevate classic outdoor treats to gourmet status. By infusing traditional recipes with creativity and sophistication, these grilled delights evoke memories of roasting marshmallows under the stars while tantalizing your taste buds with unexpected flavors and textures. Let’s explore some indulgent campfire confections that will ignite your culinary imagination:

Grilled Banana Boats: Grilled banana boats are a lovely dessert that mixes the sweetness of ripe bananas with the gooey pleasure of melted marshmallows and chocolate. They are a nostalgic favorite with a gourmet twist. To prepare, slit a banana lengthwise, leaving the peel intact, and fill the cavity with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, and a sprinkle of crushed graham crackers. Once the marshmallows are brown and oozy and the chocolate has melted, carefully wrap the banana in foil and place it under a medium-heat grill. Serve hot off the grill for a comforting dessert that will evoke memories of campfire gatherings and outdoor adventures.

Stuffed Grilled Apples: Stuffed grilled apples offer a sophisticated twist on a classic campfire treat, combining the natural sweetness of apples with savory and sweet fillings. To prepare, core firm apples such as Granny Smith or Honeycrisp and fill the cavities with brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped nuts such as pecans or walnuts. To enable the flavors to combine and the apples to caramelize, wrap the stuffed apples in foil and cook them under the grill until they are soft. This decadent dessert, served warm and topped with a whipped topping or a scoop of vanilla ice cream, is ideal for chilly fall afternoons spent by the fireside.

Grilled S’mores Dip: A modern twist on the classic s’mores, grilled s’mores dip takes the flavors of graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows to a whole new level. To prepare, spread a layer of chocolate chips in a cast iron skillet and top with mini marshmallows. Once the marshmallows are brown and oozy and the chocolate has melted, place the skillet under the grill. Serve the dip with graham crackers, allowing guests to scoop up the warm, melty goodness for a decadent dessert perfect for sharing.

Berries, Whipped Cream, and Grilled Pound Cake: A sophisticated take on a classic dessert, grilled pound cake with berries and whipped cream is guaranteed to wow. To make the cake, cut it into thick slices and toast or caramelize it under the grill. With a dollop of just-whipped cream, serve the grilled pound cake with fresh fruit like blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. The sweetness of the pound cake and berries are complemented by the smokey flavors of the grill, making this dessert sophisticated, decadent, and ideal for outdoor events and summer soirées.

Serving Suggestions:

  • Arrange the grilled banana boats and stuffed apples on a platter and serve with additional toppings such as caramel sauce, chopped nuts, and chocolate shavings for guests to customize their desserts.
  • Serve the grilled s’mores dip in a cast iron skillet with graham crackers, allowing guests to dip and scoop up the warm, melty goodness for a decadent dessert experience.
  • Present the grilled pound cake with berries and whipped cream on individual plates, garnished with fresh mint leaves for elegance and sophistication.

Campfire confections offer a gourmet twist on classic outdoor treats, bringing the campfire flavors into your backyard barbecue. Whether indulging in grilled banana boats, stuffed apples, grilled s’mores dip, or grilled pound cake with berries and whipped cream, these decadent desserts will surely delight your guests and elevate your outdoor dining experience.


As the flames dance and the aroma of barbecue fills the air, don’t forget to save room for dessert – BBQ style. Whether grilling fruit skewers for a light and refreshing finale or indulging in gooey s’mores straight from the grill, BBQ desserts offer a delightful way to sweeten your outdoor gatherings. So fire up the grill, get creative, and indulge your palate with the delectable sweetness of barbecued sweets.

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