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[ Photographs: Joshua Bousel ]

After writing my marathon post on competition barbecue last week, I can't get the subject off my mind. My head is swimming with what I did this past summer and how I can work to improve over the winter. Combine that with this fall settling and all these barrels of apples at the markets, and my thoughts have appropriately swayed to these pecan-stuffed apples I made for an apple dessert category at one competition.

Being new to the competition, I had never seen a dessert category so I went with a fairly straightforward interpretation where whole grilled apples were the centerpiece. To appeal to the judge's sweet teeth, I cored and hallowed the apples then brushed them with a brown sugar and butter glaze and grilled them over direct heat until lightly caramelized.

The apples get stuffed with a brown sugar and pecan mixture that had the apple-friendly spices of nutmeg and cinnamon to add a little depth. Roasted over indirect heat until the apples softened, they were then boxed and drizzled with caramel sauce as a finishing touch.

While I watched other teams box up elaborate tarts, pies, and cakes (all done on the grill), I had little hope for my comparatively simplistic entry, even if it tasted awesome in the opinion of me and my wife. So I was pleasantly surprised when we landed in the top ten of the category, solidifying this as a killer dessert. Next year though, I'll need to step up my game a bit to get my hands on the top spot.

Adapted from Pearson Farm

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

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