Bananas Foster, On the Grill
‚ÄúI am bananas for grilled bananas! I make them all the time.‚ÄĚ That enthusiastic comment comes from Elizabeth Karmel, executive chef of Hill Country Barbecue Market and Hill Country Chicken in New York City.
Years ago, at the Memphis in May barbecue festival, Karmel discovered her breakfast banana, uneaten, and wondered what would happen if she threw it on the grill. So she did. ‚ÄúOnce it was done, I thought, ‚ÄėOh my gosh, this tastes like Bananas Foster!‚Äô But you don‚Äôt have to pan to clean or the butter to deal with.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúThat‚Äôs what started my love affair with grilling bananas,‚ÄĚ says Karmel, ‚Äúand it doesn‚Äôt take long to perfect.‚ÄĚ Here‚Äôs her best and simplest method:
You want sturdy bananas. ‚ÄúI prefer grilling a banana that‚Äôs slightly green,‚ÄĚ says Karmel. ‚ÄúYou don‚Äôt want one that‚Äôs brown and spotty‚ÄĒnot the kind you use for banana bread‚ÄĚ
Leaving the skins on, cut each banana length wise and then again in half crosswise. Make a dessert rub consisting of cinnamon, sugar and a pinch of salt. Sprinkle the rub onto the cut sides of the banana and let sit for 5 minutes.
Grill them, cut side down, on a very clean cooking grate on medium-low direct heat just long enough to get grill marks, about 1-2 minutes.
Turn them over with a pair of tongs and move them to an area of the grill with indirect heat. ‚ÄúI let them continue to cook, slowly, while I‚Äôm having dinner,‚ÄĚ says Karmel. When the skin starts to pull away from the flesh of the banana, they‚Äôre finished. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs the best way to test for doneness. No one can fail that. You can see when the skin pulls away.‚ÄĚ
Remove the peel and serve with vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, and a little sprinkling of the dessert rub.