Fondue on the Grill

cheddar-fonduePreparing fondue on the grill will take this classic dish to a whole new level of culinary bliss.  The fire from the barbeque adds an element of smoky undertones that compliment the rich depth of cheese-based fondues and the ease of cooking meat in oil based fondues without the mess.   Creating fondue dishes go beyond just cheese.  There are sweet versions made with dark chocolate, and savory ones that either use high quality oil or rich broths to braise meats and vegetables.

Preparing all of these types of fondue is quite simple to execute outside on the grill whether it is with a charcoal or gas grill.  Cheese and chocolate-based fondues require more attention than oil or broth-based fondues. When using a gas grill, set the temperature dial to low but always keep an eye on the fondue.  For a charcoal grill, an indirect grilling technique will be needed, which basically is placing the heat source on one side of the grill and the fondue on the colder side.  If your charcoal grill has a large cooling rack above, then setting the embers directly under them is also doable.

When using oil or broth to cook meats and vegetables, set the gas grill on medium high heat or if using charcoal, then use the direct grilling method.  You will want a cooking temperature of about 350 degrees to ensure a safe cooking environment to rule out the danger zone with food borne illness.

When hosting a fondue party, it usually requires an actual fondue set; although, when grilling with fondue, there are just a few essentials you may already have on hand.  First, choose either a Dutch oven that is of high quality material or a heavy duty pot that can fit up to 4 quarts of liquid.  Second, you will need long metal skewers for dipping the morsels into the fondue.  Try to look for metal skewers that are at least 18 inches long and have a ring loop at the end.  A great idea for personalizing each skewer is to find different colored tin foil at your local art store and create a latch on the loop.  Then if you are serving wine you can pair their wine glass holder with the same color as the tin foil.

There are three basic courses to a fondue party that the chocolate accompanies: cheese, meat and vegetables.  Use different pots for each course and it is a good idea is to place the oil and/or broth on the grill about 15 minutes before it is time to start the main course.  If you are using a charcoal grill, make sure to double the amount of coals.  This will last for the first two courses and if necessary you can add some coals for the chocolate course which gives the guests a chance to catch their breath.

This particular recipe works well on the grill along with grilled sourdough bread, mozzarella, and cherry tomatoes for a unique bruschetta.

Farmer’s Cheese Fondue With Pinot Blanc

  • 18 oz. of various semi hard cheeses
  • 1 cup of Pinot Blanc, cook with what you would drink
  • 1 ½ Tbs. Flour
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 large garlic cloves, cut in half
  • Fresh rosemary sprigs
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Dash of heavy cream

Prepare grill.

In a 4 quart sauce pot, rub the cut garlic all over the surface, reserve garlic.
Add cheeses, wine, and fresh rosemary sprigs to the sauce pot and place directly on the heat source of grill.
As the cheese begins to break down and the sides begin to bubble, either lower heat or place away from the coals.
Add the Dijon mustard, reserved garlic, and about 3 Tbs. of heavy cream.
Whisk vigorously to smooth cheese mixture, check for seasoning.
Add flour to thicken and allow the mixture to gently bubble for about 5 minutes to allow the flour to dissolve.

The fondue should slightly burst with bubbles from time to time while on the grill, if it begins to cool then move to the hotter area.

Preparation of chocolate fondue is similar to the cheese procedure, though you will need to watch the chocolate mixture with a cautious eye because it is very temperamental with heat. For a cool twist, throw in a couple of cubes of prepared caramel candies or white chocolate.

Preparing fondues for cooking meat is a little different on the grill as the process is faster and requires a higher heat.  Take caution to not overcrowd the fondue pot and only allow 4 to 5 pieces to cook at a time for a continuing safe temperature.

So why not kick off your new grill purchase with a fondue party and allow guests to bring their favorite dipping condiments, favorite bottle of vino, and a hearty appetite?  The possibilities are endless when planning this retro grilling gathering.  Let your imagination run free with sauces, ingredients, and unique cuisines for your next grilling adventure.


Jennifer Boukather has been in the culinary arts as an executive chef for over 10 years. She specializes in the Pacific Northwest cuisine with global fusion and has worked with some of the most credible pit masters in the States. She has a vast knowledge in barbeques and prides her caveman instincts with all types of grilling techniques.

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