Your guests are going to love this tender and juicy Cinnamon Pineapple and Beef Appetizer. The beef tenderizes beautifully in the natural pineapple juices. The cinnamon adds a gentle aroma and subtle richness.
The bite-sized barbequed beef and pineapple pieces are served as mini skewers on toothpicks or bamboo skewers. Perfect for entertaining guests!
How to cut a whole pineapple:
First off, choose a ripe pineapple so you have more pineapple juice for the beef marinade!
If you enjoy eating and cooking with pineapples, investing in a pineapple corer is so worth it! They are $10-20 and they save you so much time and hassle.
But, here’s how to peel and cut a whole pineapple using a kitchen knife:
Peel the pineapple:
Lay the pineapple horizontally on a cutting board and slice off the green spiky top (aka the “crown”) using a large chef’s knife – start slicing from about 1/2 inch from the crown. Now slice off about 1/2 inch from the base end of the pineapple. You can now place the pineapple in an upright position. Hold the pineapple in place with one hand and, holding the knife in your other hand, cut down the skin of the pineapple by slicing it along the edge of the peel, from top to bottom, following the arc shape of the pineapple, so as not to cut too much of the actual fruit, just the peel.
Remove the brown “eyes”:
When the skin of the pineapple is peeled, you will notice rough brown spots, referred to as “eyes”. They are usually cut out by slicing a “v” around them, but for our purpose, simply cut another thin layer of the fruit, from top to bottom, following the arc of the pineapple, to remove the layer with the “eyes”.
Slice the pineapple in half:
Lay the pineapple horizontally, or keep it in an upright position and slice the pineapple in half lengthwise, through the middle of the core. The core is tougher to cut than the fruit, so use the same sharp chef’s knife.
Core the pineapple:
Using the same knife, or a slightly smaller sharp knife, cut a v-shaped wedge along the length of both sides of the core, or simply cut around the core, lengthwise. Cut the pineapple into bite-size pieces for the appetizer.
What beef meat should I use for the appetizer?
I used pre-cut stewing beef cubes and they turned out so tender. Costco sells them “mechanically tenderized”, but really you can purchase the stewing beef chunks at any grocery store; no need for them to be mechanically tenderized. The marinade in this recipe tenderizes the beef just as well, if not better!
That being said, the best cuts of stew beef for barbecue would be sirloin or tenderloin cuts. They are more tender cuts of meat and are better for quick grilling.
How to prepare the Cinnamon Pineapple and Beef Appetizer:
- Cut the pineapple and stewing beef into bite-size pieces (about 1-inch) and transfer them into a large mixing bowl.
- Add 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and 1/3 cup of brown sugar and stir well to combine. If time allows, marinate the meat with the pineapples (covered) in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. 1 hour is ideal. This will allow the meat to tenderize a little more before cooking.
- Thread the beef and the pineapple chunks onto separate skewers, reserving the marinade that’s left over in the bowl. Don’t place the pieces too tightly together so they can cook evenly.
- Heat barbecue (or if using a large skillet add 2 tablespoons of cooking oil) over high heat. When heated, cook skewers for 3 minutes on one side, then flip the skewers over and cook for another 3 minutes, basting with the reserved marinade. The internal temperature of the beef should reach 145°F. Transfer skewers onto a plate and allow to rest for 2-3 minutes.
- And now for the fun part: To plate the mini skewers, thread one pineapple piece through one toothpick or mini bamboo skewer, then thread 1 folded in half fresh basil or mint leaf, then thread one barbecued beef piece. Repeat with the remaining toothpicks. The appetizer is best served warm or at room temperature.
Other party appetizer ideas:
- Seaweed Salad and Ahi Tuna Appetizer
- Asparagus in Smoked Salmon and Cucumber
- Sun-Dried Tomato and Mango Crostini
- Cod Liver Deviled Eggs
- Eggplant Salad Stuffed Tomatoes