Do you ever make a trip out to the pumpkin patch in the fall to pick a couple of the big orange gourds to carve for Halloween like I did with my family recently? This is my youngest son, Brennan. He loves pickin’ pumpkins:
While the pumpkin may be the epitome of fall, or at least Halloween, it’s usually only viewed as something to carve. Maybe you bake the seeds and serve those, but most people don’t eat their pumpkins. Until now. Dad got all kinds of creative with grilling pumpkins recently. Now those little pumpkins are more than just decoration. They can also be a dish as well as a conversation piece as you explain to people how you made them. I’ll hand it off to dad for the rest of the write up now…
The Fall season is upon us (the perfect time of year to grill) and appropriate seasonal grilling and beverages come to mind. While grocery shopping recently a friendly cashier asked what I was going to grill on this fine autumn day and I responded “Pumpkins, of course.” The puzzled expression upon her face led me to believe that she thought I might not be in my right mind—she’s would be right about that assumption as I’m a fool, a Grillin’ Fool that is.
Seriously, pumpkins “fall” into the autumn/winter squash category and we grill other varieties of squash but don’t consider pumpkins. Time to change that.
I chose three pie pumpkins for this effort and they were perfect for this experiment. I don’t think I could use the big boys and be able to close the lid on my grill and since I’ll be attempting multiple recipes the smaller variety fit the bill perfectly.
Celebrating this fabulous day would not be complete unless appropriate beverages accompanied the grilling effort. What better than a pumpkin beer?
Now on to the prep. First, the pumpkins will have lids cut out and the seeds and strings inside removed:
Each pumpkin is numbered so I can eliminate any confusion. Expect our editor to make a senior citizen comment about here. ***Editor’s Note ~ No need. You’ve said enough***
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 slices honey-maple bacon
1 tbsp butter
½ cup pure maple syrup (substitute for your favorite syrup)
Pumpkin 1 with the butter, brown sugar and nutmeg:
Pumpkin two with the salt, pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, and bacon:
And pumpkin three with the butter and syrup:
I set up both of my Char-Broil 940X grill for indirect cooking — coals on the left, pumpkins on the right and an internal temperature about 250-275:
I did not use smoke wood with the pumpkin as I didn’t believe the smoke could penetrate the outer skin of the squash as I’m grilling them whole with the lids on. If the pumpkins were sliced then apple wood would have been my choice. Maybe next time.
Anticipated cooking time for the pumpkins is 1 ½-2 hours.
***Editor’s Note ~ I would’ve gone with some smoke wood. Not initially, but after an hour or so and the lids start to shrink up giving a gap for the smoke to penetrate. Maybe we should try that on Halloween, eh?***
Here’s a photo of the pumpkins 1 hour into the grilling process. The tops are pulling away from the bottoms and the skins are browning:
I will have a second opinion for the taste test as Mimi just returned from an out-of-town weekend shopping trip with the girls – I may be grilling soup bones after that episode. She will provide an honest opinion as she is known for telling it like it is.
The pumpkins are removed from the heat after 2 hours when they look like this. They’ve shrunk considerably and are very soft. The lids are removed once the pumpkins are in the kitchen and the aroma is awesome!
We began the tasting and the results follow. Pumpkin #1 was really missing something. Frankly it wasn’t all that good. Pumpkin # 2 was voted best overall but # 3 was very good also and very tasty with the maple flavor.
Observations of the pumpkin effort would include scooping out the squash flesh and using the liquid inside to drizzle over the serving for added flavor. Perhaps adding maple syrup to the # 2 recipe would be in order. Another suggestion would be to affix the bacon to the inside wall of the pumpkin with toothpicks as I noticed it fell to the middle. I’m not sure this would really make a difference but will try next time out.
There are numerous combinations that you can come up with to suit individual tastes. Surprise family and friends by serving grilled pumpkins on Halloween!
***Editor’s Note ~ You can certainly do these in the oven as well which will make your home smell better than any fall themed spray or candle you can buy. We left that little part out till the end because we’re not the Bakin’ Fools***
If you have any questions or comments about either of these dishes, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.
If you would like other vegetable dishes done on the grill, click here.
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