There is no wrong way to eat a watermelon, but the slicing and dicing can be tailored to suit your needs and desires. If you’re enjoying the melon by yourself, go ahead and slice it in half to create a “bowl,” then scoop out the insides with a spoon. But if you’re feeding a crowd—particularly a young crowd—consider the baton method.
This serving suggestion isn’t exactly new, but it’s worth bringing up now, at the start of summer, just as watermelon cravings are peaking. Cutting the melon into neat sticks allows little hands grab and eat them with ease, and without getting sticky watermelon juice all over little faces (or everything else).
You can watch the editor-in-chief of Cook’s Illustrated, Dan Souza, demonstrate the method on Instagram and in the video above, but all you’ll need to do it yourself is a knife—preferably a serrated one. Cook’s Illustrated found that a serrated knife works even better than a chef’s knife, because, “its long blade can cut through a watermelon in one go and its pointy teeth grip the thick, slippery rind, helping to hold the watermelon steady.”
Saw and season your melon:
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Start by washing the outside of the watermelon to make sure you’re not dragging any harmful bacteria on the surface of the rind into the flesh. Slice the watermelon in half length-wise using a gentle sawing motion while holding the melon steady with your non-dominant hand.
Place one half cut side down on a cutting board and make 1 1/2-inch slices along the length of the melon half. Rotate the melon 90 degrees and repeat, again making 1 1/2-inch slices along the width of the melon to form batons.
Grab a baton by the rind and pull it up and away from the rest of the melon, then season as you desire. I’m partial to Maldon salt and Tajín, but I hear some people like theirs with yellow mustard.