Monday, November 19, 2012

Yeah, You Can Grill That – Thanksgiving Recipes!

I love cooking Thanksgiving dinner almost as much as I love eating it. I start planning my menu and shopping list weeks in advance. I print out and write down recipes, and write up a game plan to make sure everything gets brined, rubbed, chopped, mixed and put in the oven and just the right time so that it’s all ready to go when dinner is served.

Unfortunately, like most of you, my love of cooking seriously outmatches my kitchen space, equipment and manpower. If I had two or three ovens, eight stovetop burners, and a few assistants, I could probably have everything ready to eat at precisely 7:00 PM. Instead, I can’t start cooking the dressing, macaroni and cheese, sweet potatoes or anything else that goes into the oven until the turkey comes out – which means it has to sit for about an hour and a half. I have potatoes boiling, vegetables steaming and gravy cooking on the stove, and there’s always at least one more pot than there are burners. Something is going to have to go in the microwave.

So this year, I’m taking advantage of my outdoor cooking space – my grill and my smoker. I’m going to smoke the turkey and ham over apple wood. I’m going to grill the macaroni and cheese, the Brussels sprouts with bacon and blue cheese, and the asparagus. And that will leave plenty of time and space for everything else to cook inside.

If you’re looking to free up some space in your oven or on your stovetop, or you just want to add some grill flavor to this year’s Thanksgiving, you can’t go wrong with any of these recipes:

Turkey breast – I haven’t cooked a full turkey on the grill yet (I’m sure it’s possible, and will attempt when the stakes aren’t quite as a high as Thanksgiving). But in the meantime, if you’re cooking for a smaller group, you can’t go wrong with this recipe for grilled turkey breast. It’s juicy and tender, with a great (but not overpowering) smoky flavor.

Sweet Potatoes – They may get overshadowed by the turkey, stuffing (or in the south, dressing) and gravy, but it just isn’t Thanksgiving without sweet potatoes. These sweet potatoes can be made quickly and easily on the grill, with the delicious brown sugar sauce you’d expect.

Macaroni and Cheese – Gooey, cheesy, bubbly and delicious, this recipe for macaroni and cheese cooked on the grill simply can’t be beat.

Potato and Sweet Potato Gratin – Want to mix things up? Instead of (or maybe in addition to) traditional mashed potatoes in one bowl and candied sweet potatoes in another, combine them, add a ton of cheese, and enjoy this awesome recipe for potato and sweet potato gratin.

Vegetables – You can’t go wrong with vegetables cooked on the grill. Any of these grilled vegetables – carrots, asparagus, green beans, corn on the cob, or Brussels sprouts – won’t just taste a lot better than their steamed or boiled brethren, they’ll also free up much-needed space on your stove.

Lobster tail – Lobster was on the menu for the first Thanksgiving in Plymouth in 1621, so if you want to go truly authentic this year, try this recipe for buttery, tasty grilled lobster tail.

Chocolate Pecan Bars – Pecan pie is a staple dessert at most Thanksgiving dinners in the south. This recipe has all the sweet, chewy, gooey goodness of pecan pie, plus CHOCOLATE. Oh, and it’s grilled.


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