Grateful for the Grill: Your BBQ Thanksgiving Menu
The pandemic has affected each one of us differently, but it’s safe to say that all our lives have looked quite different in the past few months. Despite the difficult circumstances our world is in right now, it’s still important to be thankful.
In fact, gratitude is even more crucial at this point in time. Being able to recognize and appreciate the good things in life will make it a lot easier to get through these challenging times. After all, when the Thanksgiving Day tradition emerged in the seventeenth century, the world was facing plenty of plagues—among other issues—but the people still gave thanks for that year’s harvest.
So let’s do the same. For one day, we can focus on the things that truly bring us joy: family, friends, and of course, our favourite foods. Read on for some delicious recipes that will help your Thanksgiving dinner feel extra special.
The Appetizer: Grilled Asparagus Soup with Chile Croutons
Recipe Courtesy of Better Homes & Gardens
Ignite your guests’ palette with this delicious grilled soup—yes, there’s nothing your BBQ can’t do—paired with a delicious chili butter baguette.
Start by preheating your grill to medium heat. In the meantime, mix together the melted butter and chili sauce to create the chili butter. Brush the mixture onto each baguette slice and grill until nicely toasted.
Reserve some chili butter to coat your asparagus spears, and then place them in your grill pan and cook, over medium heat, for around two minutes.
For the soup, melt butter in a large saucepan and saute the onion. Add coriander, chicken broth, and your asparagus (cut into half-inch rounds) and bring the dish to a simmer. Next, transfer your soup to a food processor and blend until smooth. Return it to your saucepan and drizzle with milk, lemon juice, and nutmeg to taste.
The Veggie: Rainbow Grilled Vegetables
Recipe Courtesy of The Food Network
Who said that the vegetable dish had to be the least exciting part of your Thanksgiving dinner? This colourful grilled veggie dish guarantees that everyone—even the self-proclaimed veggie haters—will want their share. This recipe uses red bell peppers, yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, mushrooms, and asparagus to create a rainbow medley of grilled veggies.
Start by lightly coating the vegetables with olive oil and salt. Grill on medium-high until vegetables are tender and lightly charred. Quick tip: try not to stir the veggies too much while grilling as you want those gorgeous char marks to develop.
In the meantime, create the drizzle by mixing together oil, garlic, balsamic vinegar, parsley, basil, and rosemary. When your veggies are grilled to perfection, drizzle the sauce on top, and serve!
The Starch: Buttermilk Grilled Mashed Potatoes
Photo Courtesy of Better Homes & Garden
Grilling potatoes is common practice amongst BBQ experts—but grilling mashed potatoes? That’s what we call BBQ innovation.
Start by cleaning the potatoes and pricking them with a fork. Coat the potatoes in oil and place them above a drip pan on your charcoal grill. Cover and BBQ for around one hour, or until potatoes are tender to the touch. If you’re using a gas grill, cook using indirect cooking over medium heat.
While the potatoes are sizzling, combine buttermilk, butter, salt, and pepper in a small saucepan, stirring frequently.
Once your potatoes are cooked and cooled, peel ‘em, and mash with an electric mixer on a low speed. Gradually add your buttermilk mixture (make sure it’s still somewhat warm!) until the potatoes assume a smooth, buttery texture. Voila!
The Main: Grilled Turkey (Option 1)
Recipe Courtesy of Epicurious
As the pièce de résistance of your Thanksgiving dinner, it’s important to make sure your turkey is cooked to absolute perfection. And we all know the BBQ is the best tool to ensure you get the job done right.
First, you’re going to create the flavorful brine by boiling two gallons of water seasoned with salt and sugar. Remove the pot from the heat and add your favourite spices, along with carrots, onions, celery, and leeks. You’ll want to do this the day before you’re cooking the turkey, as it’s best to refrigerate the brine for at least 6 hours so it’s completely cooled when you add the turkey. You don’t want to risk cooking the turkey in hot brine!
Next, line a large cooler with a garbage bag, and strain your brine into it. Transfer your turkey into the cooler and leave it to brine for 12 hours in a cool place, turning once. Make sure you periodically check the turkey’s temperature using a probe thermometer to make sure it stays at or below 40F.
When your turkey has absorbed the flavour-packed brine, let it drain over top a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to a roasting pan. Preheat your grill to high heat for 10 minutes, and then set the roasting pan atop your grill rack. Then, turn all the burners to low.
As the turkey is cooking, baste it with the juices in the roasting pan every 15 minutes, and rotate the turkey every half hour. You’ll also want to check and ensure the grill is at 450F, making temperature adjustments if needed.
When your turkey has reached 170F, remove it from the grill, and let it sit before carving.
The Main: Smoked Turkey (Option 2)
Recipe Courtesy of Traeger Grills
More of a smoker kind of person? This recipe will be exactly what you need to ensure your smoked turkey is juicy and flavorful.
The first step to smoking a perfect turkey is making sure your bird is properly prepared—which means ensuring your turkey is fully thawed and that any giblets are removed before cooking.
Next, pour three gallons of water into a large bucket, along with sugar, worcestershire sauce, and your favourite rub. This will be the brine.
Set the turkey into the bucket, breast side down. Put the lid back onto the bucket and refrigerate overnight.
Thanksgiving morning, remove the turkey from the bucket and pat it dry. Glaze the bird with canola oil and set it in an aluminum roasting pan.
Preheat your smoker to 225F for 15 minutes with the lid closed. When your grill is ready, place your bird on the smoker and cook for around 2.5 to 3 hours. Then, increase the temperature to 350F, and grill for 3.5 to 4 hours. You’ll know your turkey is cooked to perfection when the internal temperature reaches 165F. Bon appetit!
The Dessert: grilled pumpkin pie with hickory smoked gingersnap crust
Photo Courtesy of Barbecue Bible
Whether you’re using a gas BBQ, charcoal grill, or smoker to prepare your turkey, your guests are sure to think it’s the star of the show—that is, until you bring out the dessert. This decadent dessert is guaranteed to wow your guests. And the best part? It’s not as difficult to create as it sounds.
Start by setting your grill up for indirect heating with hickory wood chips. When the chips begin to smoke, set a heat-proof pan on the part of the grill that’s directly above the lit burners. Add the ginger snaps to the pan and smoke for 10 minutes.
Next, blend the grilled ginger snaps, as well as brown sugar and melted butter, in a food processor. Press the crumbs into a pie pan to create the crust. Then, move the pan to the grill and cook for another 10 minutes.
When your crust is cooked and cooling, get started on the filling by whisking together pumpkin puree, sweetened condensed milk, and spices. Then, whisk in the eggs. Pour the finished filling into the smoked crust.
Before returning your pie to the grill, wrap some tin foil around the exposed crust to prevent it from burning. This way, you’ll only be cooking the pie filling. Cook indirectly for around one hour. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever your heart desires.
- Taylor Mitchell