The 12 Days of BBQ
Partridges and pear trees are great and all—but what about a delicious honey ham with a side of garlic mashed potatoes? If everything’s better with barbecue sauce, then the same must go for ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’. We’ve put our own spin on the classic Christmas carol to offer you twelve days of holiday goodies that you can cook, grill, and enjoy. From applewood smoked turkey to grilled brie, we hope this blog can get you both excited and prepared for the season of giving (and eating).
Twelve Cornbread Stuffed Pork Loins
Photo & recipe courtesy of The Spruce Eats
When it comes to cooking, there are certain foods that you love separately, like wine and cheese, but wouldn’t dare combine into one dish. One may think that the same would go for pork loins and cornbread, but this recipe proves otherwise.
Start by preparing the stuffing on your stovetop by melting butter in a large skillet. Then, add onions and garlic and cook until translucent. Add sage, cook for 30 seconds, and remove skillet from the heat.
Next, add salt and pepper, cornbread, pine nuts, onion, and egg to the skillet. Slowly add chicken broth until the mixture resembles stuffing.
Now onto the pork! First, prepare your BBQ for indirect grilling. Butterfly the pork loin, spread the stuffing over top, roll it all up, and tie it all together with kitchen twine. Season with salt and pepper.
When both the grill and pork loin are ready, set the pork on your BBQ over direct heat. Rotate it every two minutes until you get a nice sear, and then move the loin to the indirect section of your BBQ. Continue grilling for 30 minutes or until it reaches 165F. After you’ve let the pork sit for 5-7 minutes off the grill, simply remove the twine, slice, and enjoy.
Eleven Grilled Pesto Asparagus Stalks
Photo & recipe courtesy of Sprouted Kitchen
For too long, the veggie dish has been the most underappreciated component of a holiday dinner. After all, it’s hard to compete with hickory smoked ham, garlic mashed potatoes, and apple pie. But if you want each dish in your Christmas spread to stand out, this grilled asparagus dish with cilantro pepita pesto is guaranteed to give your guests pause.
To prepare this sophisticated dish, start prepping the asparagus by cutting off the ends of the asparagus and gently shaving the stalks with a peeler. Toss the asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Preheat your BBQ to medium-high and grill the stalks for 7-9 minutes, turning a couple times in the process.
The next part is where the flavour really comes alive. Combine garlic, toasted pepitas, sea salt, jalapeno, chipotle, cilantro, and lime juice in your food processor. Add in olive oil and water as needed to create a thick, coarse consistency.
To serve, add a generous dollop of pesto to the plate and lay the grilled asparagus on top. Garnish with toasted pepitas and chopped red onion.
Ten Miso Grilled Potatoes
Photo & recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit
As one of the world’s most versatile vegetables, potatoes can be fried, mashed, boiled, roasted, and of course, grilled. While all formats are delicious in their own right, these grilled miso potatoes boast the benefits of being extra flavourful, extra crispy, and an extra unique side dish.
Start by boiling Yukon gold potatoes in a pot of salted water over medium-high heat. Reduce to a simmer for 12-14 minutes, and drain.
Next, preheat your BBQ for medium-high heat. Grill the potatoes for 6-8 minutes, turning frequently with tongs. Meanwhile, set a cast iron skillet on the grill next to the potatoes and add butter and miso to it. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the skillet from the grill and add garlic, vinegar, and pepper.
When the potatoes are slightly charged, transfer them to the skillet, tossing to coat in the miso butter sauce. At this time, you can also smash or slice some of the potatoes depending on your preference. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.
Nine Applewood Smoked Turkeys
Photo & recipe courtesy of The Spruce Eats
When it comes to classic Christmas dishes, everyone is different. For some, turkey is a year-round dish while for others it’s strictly for Thanksgiving. Here at Barbecue Country, we don’t discriminate, and are all for eating turkey any day of the week!
This applewood smoked turkey recipe uses a delicious brine to create a sweet, smoky flavour. To prepare the brine, stir together salt, brown sugar, apple juice, maple syrup, and apple cider in a large container. Soak the turkey in the brine, and set it in the fridge, covered, for 16-24 hours.
When the flavours have sufficiently mixed and mingled, light your charcoal grill, and spread the heated coals to the outside of the grill. Place a pie pan in the centre of the coals and fill it with water.
When your grill is prepared, rinse the turkey with water and pat it dry with paper towels. Set the bird on top of the cooking rack and add some extra applewood chunks on the coals to boost the flavour profile.
Cover and cook for a total of 2.5-3 hours, turning the turkey 180 degrees halfway through. Make sure to keep an eye on the grill during this process, adjusting the air vents or raising and lowering the temperature so that the BBQ stays between 230F-280F. When your turkey has reached 175F, remove it from the grill and let it sit for at least 10 minutes. Then slice, serve, and enjoy!
Eight Pulled Pork Bruschetta Appetizers
Photo & recipe courtesy of The Food Network
For many, the perfect Christmas meal doesn’t start when the turkey is served—it’s an experience that begins when your guests first arrive. That means having bite-sized appetizers at the ready for those who may have gone too long without eating in anticipation of your delicious holiday feast. This pulled pork bruschetta recipe offers the perfect bite-sized dish—just make sure that your guests don’t eat too many before dinner!
To recreate this appetizer, there are three components to prepare: the onions, the pulled pork, and the baguette. Starting with the onions, heat a large sauté pan to medium heat and melt olive oil and butter. Sauté onions for 20 minutes, or until lightly caramelized. For the bruschetta, first preheat your grill to high heat. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread slices until golden on both sides.
The last step is to assemble the appetizers. Place a spoonful of pulled pork (you can make this from scratch or buy the prepared version from the grocery store) on each piece of toast. Top with onions, barbecue sauce, and chives. Voila!
Seven BBQ Briskets
Photo & Recipe Courtesy of Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ
While Canadians tend to opt for turkey or ham during holidays, festive BBQ traditions differ in different parts of the world. In Texas, for instance, barbecued brisket is a classic dish enjoyed on casual and special occasions alike.
If you want to grill a Texas-style brisket, there are a couple of tweaks and tips you can incorporate to capture the unique flavour and texture. Butcher paper is used instead of aluminium foil, and the brisket is given an extra sear to further char the fat.
To prepare the brisket, trim off excess fat, glaze the meat with a slurry of Worcestershire sauce and beef base, and sprinkle with your favourite rub. Marinate for a minimum of 30 minutes or leave the brisket to chill overnight in the fridge.
When you’re ready to grill, preheat your BBQ pit to 200F and place the brisket fat side-down in the pit. After six hours, liberally spritz the meat with tap water and increase the temperature to 250F. Grill for 2-3 hours, or until a crust has formed all over the brisket, spraying every 20 minutes. Increase the temperature to 300F and cook for an additional half hour.
Next, remove the brisket and wrap in butcher paper, fat side down. Lower the heat of your grill to 250F and set the brisket back on the grill for an extra 2-3 hours. You’ll know the meat is cooked to perfection when the brisket is probe tender.
Remove your cooked brisket from the grill and leave it to rest until the internal temperature has dropped to 170F. To serve, cut the brisket into half-inch slices, spooning the gravy on top as you slice.
Six Barbecued Cabbage & Bacon Side Dishes
Photo & recipe courtesy of Delish
If the thought of cabbage has you running for the hills, hear us out: cooking cabbage doesn’t have to be in the form of a detox soup. This recipe uses bacon, blue cheese, and ranch dressing to create a savoury dish that makes it easier for you (or your kids) to eat their vegetables.
This simple recipe can also be prepared in only three steps. First, brush cabbage steaks with oil, salt and pepper, and red pepper flakes. Second, grill the cabbage over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes per side, or until the steaks become tender. Last but not least, drizzle ranch dressing on the grilled cabbage and top with crumbled blue cheese, bacon bits, and chopped green onions.
Five Plates of Christmas Baby Back Ribs
Photo & Recipe courtesy of Barbecue Bible
Ribs may not be everyone’s traditional holiday dish, but that doesn’t mean you can’t try something new this holiday season! After all, surely the pandemic has taught us that “normal” is something that is constantly changing. If you want to try something new this Christmas season, this simple recipe is a great introduction.
For this dish, all you’ll need is 4 racks of baby back ribs and some BBQ rub, apple cider, and cranberry sauce. Start by preheating your smoker to 250F and preparing the ribs by coating both sides with BBQ rub. Set the ribs, rounded side up, in the smoker and cook for 4-5 hours. After each hour of smoking, spray the ribs with either apple cider or apple juice to add some extra flavour. When you’ve reached the last half hour of smoking, brush the ribs with half the portion of barbecue sauce—the last half will be served on the side. You’ll know the ribs are fully cooked when the meat is so tender that it quite literally falls off the bone!
Four Cranberry BBQ Sauce Jars
Four Days of Cranberry BBQ Sauce
A great sauce can elevate any dish—no matter how flavourful it is in the first place. Having a delicious homemade sauce on your dinner table is a great way to show detail-oriented you are when it comes to cooking, and this cranberry barbecue sauce recipe is designed to impress!
This cranberry sauce incorporates a variety of sweet and citrus flavours, from sugar and honey to orange zest and apple cider vinegar, to create a perfectly balanced topping for any grilled dish. Start by combining all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Next, reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring often. After about 10 minutes, or when the berries start to pop and open up, your sauce is complete. The last step is to blend the sauce until it reaches a smooth consistency.
Three Berry Grilled Brie Appetizers
Photo & recipe courtesy of Off The Beaten Path
Just when you thought brie couldn’t get better, barbecued brie came along. This berry grilled brie recipe combines the sweetness of strawberries and blackberries with the smoky flavour of your grill.
To recreate this appetizer, start by bringing vinegar, brown sugar, honey, and lemon juice in a small saucepan to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until you’ve got the perfect glaze consistency. When the sauce has cooled completely, mix in blackberries, strawberries, and basil. Set aside.
Next, preheat your grill to medium high and brush oil on each side of a brie rind. Grill the prepared brie for two minutes on each side, or until grill marks are visible.
To serve, set the cheese on your favourite holiday platter, top with the berry balsamic mixture, and place some crackers or baguette slices on the side.
Two Plates of Rosemary Lamb with Tomatoes
Photo & recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit
If you thought that lamb shoulder was just for braising, you’ve been misled. This recipe involves a delicious sauce, smart cooking technique, fresh garnishes, and of course, the lamb shoulder, to create a truly sophisticated dish.
Start by preparing all the ingredients. For the lamb, separate the shoulder into smaller, easier-to-manage pieces and season with salt and pepper. For the sauce, pulse onions, rosemary leaves, and oregano leaves in a food processor. Next, add vinegar, oil, and seasonings to the mix. Coat the prepared lamb shoulder with the puree and let it marinate at room temperature for 2-3 hours.
While the flavours are mingling, prepare the garnish by mixing together lemon juice, garlic, and salt and pepper. Set aside. Next, slice tomatoes and sprinkle onion, rosemary springs, lemon juice, and your favourite seasonings on top.
When you’re ready to get grilling, prepare your BBQ for medium heat. Grill in 5-minute intervals, turning the lamb pieces and spooning remaining marinade on top each time. Larger pieces take around 30 minutes to cook, while smaller chunks only require 7-10 minutes on the grill.
Let the cooked lamb rest for about half an hour and then slice it into thin pieces. Arrange the tomato slices around the lamb, drizzle some oil on top, and season with additional spices if necessary. Serve the yogurt sauce on the side and you’ve got a winning dish!
One Double Smoked Spiral Ham
Photo & recipe courtesy of theonlinegrill.com
If you’re worried about fighting over hickory ham in your local supermarket à la ‘Christmas with the Kranks’, this recipe will save you from unnecessary holiday blues. Upgrade a simple spiral cut ham with smoky, sweet flavour to create a dish that is sure to be an instant hit at the dinner table.
This smoker recipe only requires three ingredients (a whole ham, apple jelly, and raspberry chipotle BBQ sauce) along with some cherry wood chips. What’s more is that it’s also super easy to grill!
Heat your smoker to 275F and smoke the ham on a cooking tray for 2 hours. While that’s brewing, combine apple jelly and raspberry chipotle in a saucepan over medium heat until it reaches the perfect consistency. When 2 hours has elapsed, transfer the ham to an aluminium pan and pour the glaze on top. Return the ham back to the smoker for 30 more minutes so the glaze has a chance to infuse the meat and the edges of the ham have a chance to get crispy.
When your ham is cooked to absolute perfection, the only thing left to do is to cut along the outer seam of the ham, and the slices will fall apart without any extra effort.
From this smoked ham recipe to all the other delicious dishes mentioned in the blog, we hope we can help give you some new and exciting ideas to make the holidays feel even more special. From all of us at Barbecue Country, we hope that you have a wonderful winter filled with good food and even better company!
- Taylor Mitchell