Let me start by proudly telling all the nay-sayers: you CAN grill an entire Thanksgiving dinner on the BBQ. I've got a lot of friends south of the border who combine two great U.S. traditions — Thanksgiving and football. For a lot of people this means kicking back in their armchair and putting on the television to watch a full day of NFL games, while taking a break just long enough to gobble down some turkey with all the fixings. However, in Detroit and Dallas they have hosted the Thanksgiving Classics since the league's inception in 1920. A lot of fans in these towns are torn. As an avid fan, do I go to the game, tailgate and forgo the traditional holiday meal, or do I stay home for the food and watch the game on tv? Surely, the two cannot be combined.
Cooking a Thanksgiving dinner on the grill was put to me recently as a challenge, and as someone too stubborn or too dumb to say no, I set out to prove it could be done. Now, while you can use a frying pan on a grill or side-burner, I'd actually recommend doing some of the prep work at home before — especially if you are headed to the football game. Save yourself the hassle! In any case, here is my take on Thanksgiving on the grill:
- Turkey burgers, topped with caramelized cranberry onions on a bed of bread stuffing
- Grilled corn bread
- Green peas
- Sweet potato, served with chili butter
Grilled Thanksgiving Dinner
2 lbs ground turkey
3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
Salt & pepper, to taste
- Mix ingredients and form into 8 evenly shaped patties.
- Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Brush the grates with olive oil. Grill the patties, undisturbed, 6 to 7 minutes. Flip the patties and grill until cooked through, 6 to 7 more minutes.
Caramelized Cranberry Onions
4 small yellow onions, sliced
1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
Salt & pepper, to taste
- Using a thick-bottomed sauté pan, coat the bottom of the pan with oil. Heat the pan on medium-high heat until the oil is hot. Add the onion slices and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Spread the onions out evenly over the pan and let cook, stirring occasionally.
- After 10 minutes, add cranberry sauce and stir until melted.
- Let cook for 20 minutes more, stirring every few minutes. Season to taste.
2 onions, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
3/4 cup butter or vegetable oil
8 cups bread cubes
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- Sauté onion and celery in the butter/oil until softened.
- Combine onion mixture with bread, pepper, eggs, salt, sage, and poultry seasoning in a large mixing bowl. Stir in broth until well moistened.
- Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Lightly grease a large tin coffee or apple juice can (lid and labels removed). Pour mixture into can, cover with foil, and place away from heat source to cook indirectly until set, about 30 to 45 minutes.
- Remove from grill, allow to cool slightly, and stuffing should easily be removed from can. Slice into pieces to form a bed for turkey burgers.
Grilled Corn Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
2 cups milk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
- Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
- In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter.
- With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the clumps are dissolved. Don’t over-mix!
- Preheat the grill to medium-high and grease a cast iron griddle pan with cooking spray.
- Pour the batter into the pan, and smooth the top.
- Cook on grill until toothpick comes out clean, about 20 to 30 minutes.
2 cans green peas
- Open peas and pour liquid out, replacing with fresh water. Cover peas and place on top rack of grill until heated through.
Sweet Potatoes with Chili Butter
8 small sweet potatoes, pierced with a fork
1 stick of butter, softened
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat grill over medium-high heat. Cover sweet potatoes in foil and place directly on grill. Cook for 45 minutes, until fork tender.
- Mix butter ingredients together with a spoon until combined. Serve with sweet potatoes.
Ready for winter grilling? Click here to make sure that you're fully prepared to keep grilling as the weather starts chilling!
IMAGE SOURCE: COURTESY OF GAV MARTELL