Grilled peaches will be the biggest hit at your tailgate.
There’s nothing more iconically Georgian than peaches. They’re on license plates, driver’s licenses and voting stickers. You can serve them in pie, on top of ice cream, or just eat them standing over the kitchen sink to keep the juice from dripping on the floor.
Grilled peaches are also a simple, classic dessert or part of a savory dish to serve at tailgates and barbecues. They’re a sweet way to celebrate one of the biggest Peach State rivalries — UGA’s annual football game against Georgia Tech on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
Enjoy what might be your last cookout of the year — or just a light dessert following all that heavy Turkey Day fare — by adding the best grilled peaches to your menu.
How to pick your peaches
There are several types of peaches, such as yellow, white and donut varieties. While any kind will do, look for freestone peaches. The flesh of freestone peaches doesn’t stick to the pit — hence the name — so they’re easier to prep for grilling.
You want your peaches to be mostly firm, with just a hint of softness when you squeeze them. They should smell peachy, too, so take a good whiff of each one near the stem.
How to prep your peaches
On the seam of the peach, cut gently until you reach the pit. Next, rotate the peach on the blade until the cut goes all the way around. “Then just twist the two halves in opposite directions until they separate,” said Ree Drummond, also known as The Pioneer Woman.
If you cut them smaller, they might fall through the grate. Brush the segments with olive oil to keep the peaches from sticking and grill the halves.
Because peaches have a short cook time and are best served hot, it’s important to prep everything you plan to serve with them. If you’re making grilled pound cake, for example, have the cake sliced and ready to go on the grill with the fruit. Fresh raspberry sauce and other types of dressings often can be prepared well ahead of time.
You can cover the peaches with cinnamon and honey, wrap them in aluminum foil, and then cook them on the grill for 10 minutes, flipping the foil package once halfway through.
How to grill your peaches
Peaches are best cooked on a medium heat. You should be able to hold your hand an inch over the grate for 3 to 4 seconds. If other parts of your meal — such as bourbon chicken — need to be cooked at a higher heat, try arranging your peaches around the edges of the grill.
Grill the peaches for 4 to 5 minutes on each side until they’re tender and have distinct grill marks. For fruit skewers, preheat the grill to medium high and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, occasionally turning the skewers.
What to serve with your peaches
Peaches are tasty enough by themselves, with a little brown sugar and cinnamon or a scoop of ice cream, but a more creative approach can take them beyond being a healthy dessert.
Serve them with yogurt, honey and walnuts for breakfast. As an appetizer, cut them into slices and wrap them in bacon or spear them on a toothpick along with mozzarella and basil for peach caprese. For something more substantial, add them to a salad with corn, onions and bacon.
Or toss them in sangria along with grilled pineapple to make the perfect drink for watching the showdown between two Peach State teams.