- Preparation for Thanksgiving on the Grill
- Thanksgiving Appetizers on the Grill or Smoker
- Opening Cocktail
- Smoked Almonds
- Grilled Brie Cheese
- Smoked Deviled Eggs
- Thanksgiving Turkey on the Grill or Smoker
- Bourbon Brined Smoked Turkey
- Spatchcock Smoked Turkey
- Maple Glazed Turkey Breast
- Cajun Grilled Turkey Breast
- Sides Dishes for Thanksgiving
- Smoked Sausage, Caramelized Onion, and Cornbread Stuffing
- Red Wine Cranberry Sauce
- Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic
- Smoked Turkey Collard Greens
- Grilled Mashed Sweet Potato
- Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Smoked Honey Butter
- Smoked Turkey and Bourbon Gravy
- Grilled Green Beans
- Glazed and Grilled Carrots
- Thanksgiving Desserts on the Grill
- Grilled Pumpkin Pie
- Grilled Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie
- Grilled Apple Crisp
- Smoked Whipped Cream
- Wine and Cocktails for Thanksgiving
- Post Dinner Cocktail
If you’re looking for Thanksgiving Recipes to cook outside, on the grill or smoker, we’ve got you covered. These Thanksgiving dinner ideas are some of our most popular tried and true holiday recipes.
For other holidays, especially the winter holidays, check out our roundup of holiday recipes for the grill and smoker.
We have been cooking our holiday meals outside for years because we love the flavor and it keeps the kitchen free to hang out and do smaller prep work. We have also learned how to stagger a lot of the work so we aren’t scrambling the day of, making for the least stressful Thanksgiving dinner possible.
Preparation for Thanksgiving on the Grill
To execute on successful Thanksgiving recipes, have a plan for the meal starting with how many people you’re having over. Next, have a prep plan for each day leading up to the holiday on Thursday. We find shopping the Friday prior has the least crowds and makes for an easier shopping experience (and most of the ingredients will last the week).
Pro Tip – Pre-Order your Turkey to ensure you have the right size you want, and be sure to account for thawing time. And be sure you give your turkey enough time to THAW! At least three days for the average size turkeys.
Delegate – There is nothing wrong with having guests bring something to share. Consider a beverage or delegating a dessert. Or have guests prep one of the side dishes that you can simply finish warming up on your outdoor cooker.
Brining – Plan 24 – 36 hours for a brine. Using a brine is a great technique for smoking Turkey because it helps retain moisture and adds some flavor.
Click Here to Learn How To Brine
Thanksgiving Appetizers on the Grill or Smoker
Having something to nibble on is always a treat in our house. We start with a basic cheese and charcuterie platter, combined with some of our smoked nuts, and a welcoming cocktail or glass of sparkling wine.
If we have people over, we love to make an easy drink that can serve a crowd. The more complicated the drink, the less time we have for preparing food and hanging with our friends or family. Mimosa’s are a great way to do that.
Two Apple Cider Mimosas
Apple Cider Mimosa Recipe
Fresh apple cider plus sparkling wine for the perfect apple cider cocktail. This will be your go-to fall cocktail.
These almonds are slowly roasted in the smoker for three hours and can be made weeks prior to the day. They have a slight bacon flavor and simply seasoned with kosher salt and extra virgin olive oil. If you want more of a mixed party nut recipe, check out our smoked candied mixed nuts.
Smoked almonds in a dish with sea salt.
Roasting almonds using a low and slow method to get an amazing smoky flavor and crunch. We add a touch of extra virgin olive oil and kosher salt to finish.
Grilled Brie Cheese
As part of our cheese platter, we add a nice goat cheese and a nice hard cheese, like Manchego. For our cows cheese, we grill up a brie round with some wine and serve with crostini. For even more flavor top it with some of your favorite jam in place of the herbs.
Baked Brie dip with crostini.
Grilled Baked Brie with Wine and Thyme
Grilled brie wheel with white wine and thyme served with grilled crostini.
Smoked Deviled Eggs
A meat and cheese platter won’t aways satisfy everyone, which is why we also make a batch of our smoked deviled eggs. Smoked eggs, combined with a savory and pickled flavor, is our favorite style. We also top it with bacon or leftover brisket for great presentation.
Deviled Eggs with mixed toppings
Smoked Deviled Eggs Recipe
Recipe for Smoked Deviled Eggs. Smoke deviled eggs and add the perfect combination of crunch, pickle, and flavor. Plus creative topping ideas.
Thanksgiving Turkey on the Grill or Smoker
Smoked Turkey is the main star. We save Prime Rib and Pork Roasts for other holidays. For a larger crowd we have learned that getting a couple of smaller (12 – 14) pound Turkeys are the way to go to avoid overcooking them. Or, if you’re planning a smaller crowd this year, grab a turkey breast instead of the full bird.
Bourbon Brined Smoked Turkey
Brined with aromatics and bourbon, this tender turkey has been one of our most popular recipes on the web for years.
Smoked Turkey Recipe with Bourbon Brine
This smoked turkey is packed with flavor, from a bourbon citrus brine, to an herbed butter, to a dry rub. Rated as the best turkey brine for smoking, this is the juiciest and most flavorful turkey that will have your guests going back for seconds… and maybe even thirds.
Spatchcock Smoked Turkey
The Best way to get an even cook without drying out the meat is to spatchcock. By removing the back bone, you can flatten the turkey and allow things to cook more evenly.
A Smoked Spatchcocked Turkey on a platter
Smoked Spatchcocked Turkey Recipe with Cajun Seasoning
An easy way to smoke turkey by spatchcocking, or removing the backbone, and seasoning with cajun spices.
Maple Glazed Turkey Breast
A perfect Thanksgiving dinner idea for a smaller crowd. Brine and glaze for the great flavor you expect, without having a ton of leftovers. You can do bone-in or boneless with the recipe.
Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe
Brined and smoked turkey breast served with smoked turkey gravy.
Cajun Grilled Turkey Breast
Another twist on a turkey breast. Coated with a flavorful Cajun seasoning, and grilled to perfection. Quick, easy, and oh-so-delicious.
Grilled Turkey Breast with Cajun Seasoning.
Cajun Grilled Turkey Breast Recipe
Grilled Cajun Turkey Breast with a savory and spicy finish. Add butter just under the skin for more flavor and moisture. A great Thanksgiving recipe for a small crowd or as alternative to a large turkey.
Want to try a new technique to cut the turkey in half, speeding up the cooking process? Check out our cookbook, Fire + Wine, for a step by step guide on our Spatchcocked Turkey recipe.
And if you are looking for other fun roast ideas, check out our full holiday list of recipes.
Sides Dishes for Thanksgiving
There is no Thanksgiving without some of our favorite sides. And yes, we do experiment with at least one new side dish every year. But these are our tried and true classics that we have every single year because we love the flavor so much.
Smoked Sausage, Caramelized Onion, and Cornbread Stuffing
Our original inspiration for this dish was a simple cornbread stuffing from Tyler Florence. We eventually modified it to included some smoked hot Italian style sausage and a few other ingredients that just scream fall and holidays. We also cook it directly on the grill!
Smoked Sausage, Caramelized Onion, Cornbread Stuffing for Thanksgiving, cooked on the smoker or grill
Smoked Sausage, Caramelized Onion, and Cornbread Stuffing Recipe
A simple smoked sausage, caramelized onion, and cornbread stuffing for Thanksgiving, cooked on the smoker or grill.
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Red Wine Cranberry Sauce
Jazz up cranberry sauce with some wine! Yes, that’s right. Everyone is gonna want seconds of this flavorful homemade cranberry sauce.
Homemade cranberry sauce with orange zest garnish
Red Wine Cranberry Sauce
An easy homemade cranberry sauce recipe infused with wine. A great holiday side dish.
Grilled Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Balsamic
If you grew up with bland brussels, then you need to revisit them. These are grilled on skewers and topped with some BACON(!) and balsamic.
Grilled Brussels Sprouts Recipe With Bacon and Balsamic
Grilled Brussels Sprouts are the ultimate vegetable side dish! When you add bacon and balsamic to your Brussels this grilled side dish is over-the-top.
Smoked Turkey Collard Greens
We didn’t grow up with this dish, it was introduced to us by our dear friend Lynn almost a decade ago. These greens are slowly braised with a smoked turkey leg and vinegar. Combine the two flavors and you have tender and amazing collard greens.
collard greens with smoked turkey in a white bowl
Collard Greens Recipe With Smoked Turkey Leg
How to make smoked collard greens with a homemade smoked turkey leg. One key tip is to be sure the collards are gently rolled or massaged to tenderize them.
Grilled Mashed Sweet Potato
Thanksgiving dinner has to include sweet potatoes right? Growing up, we were used to the baked version topped with marshmallow, but these elegant grilled sweet potatoes are par boiled, grilled, and then mashed with incredible flavor and texture.
Grilled Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Grilled Mashed Sweet Potatoes Recipe
Slightly smoky and savory grilled mashed sweet potato recipe with sweet finish of maple syrup. Awesome side dish for the holidays or fall dinners.
Grilled Sweet Potatoes with Smoked Honey Butter
Instead of candied yams, why not opt for a whole grilled potato and top it with some smoked honey butter. YUM!
Grilled baked Sweet Potatoes
Grilled Sweet Potato Recipe
A grilled sweet potato with savory dry rub. Soft, flavorful, and easy to make on any grill. This is a great alternative cooking method for a baked sweet potato.
Smoked Turkey and Bourbon Gravy
You have to have gravy. And of course, our gravy is smoked. We simmer a smoked turkey leg (or thigh) in some chicken stock until it reduces and thickens into a beautiful smoked turkey gravy.
Smoked turkey gravy in a platter with a serving spoon
Smoked Turkey Gravy Recipe with Bourbon
A simple way to make smoked Thanksgiving turkey gravy with added flavor of bourbon and thyme.
Grilled Green Beans
Grilled, crunchy, slightly sweet, and finished with some grilled lemon. This is a simple dish with outstanding flavor.
Grilled Green Bean with Lemon
Grilled Green Beans with Grilled Lemon Grilling green beans makes for an easy side to make on the grill. Add grilled lemon for an added twist of flavor. Full Recipe
Glazed and Grilled Carrots
Grilled to perfection with a simple honey and brown sugar glaze.
Grilled and Glazed Carrots on a serving platter
Grilled and Glazed Carrots Recipe
Grilled Carrots with a Honey Brown Sugar Glaze are a fantastic side dish to any holiday or casual meal. Perfect side dish for Easter or Christmas dinner or summer grilling season.
Thanksgiving Desserts on the Grill
Thanksgiving ain’t Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie, right?! It’s a little crazy to think a dessert is needed for such a day of so much food… but yes, we have some pies as well. And this is one we like to make the day before. Top the pie with either ice cream or smoked whipped cream.
Grilled Pumpkin Pie
Since we want Thanksgiving day to be stress free, the grilled pumpkin pie can be made the day prior and ready to serve when dinner is over.
top down pumpkin pies
Grilled Pumpkin Pie Recipe
Grilled pumpkin pie with traditional spice flavor and topped with candied pecans.
Grilled Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie
Pecan Pie is a classic, and it’s so easy to make. This one has some bourbon and maple syrup for added flavor. Cook it on the grill for a fun smoky twist.
slice of pecan pie
Grilled Maple Bourbon Pecan Pie Recipe
An easy grilled pecan pie recipe where we substitute maple syrup for the corn syrup and add a dash of bourbon for flare.
Grilled Apple Crisp
Warm grilled apple crisp topped with vanilla bean ice cream is the most comforting dessert we make. It’s pure fall!
grilled apple crisp cooling
Grilled Apple Crisp
How to make a traditional apple crisp on the grill. Grilled Apple Crisp is going to become your new favorite fall dessert! It’s also the perfect dessert for Thanksgiving dinner!
Smoked Whipped Cream
No matter what dessert you make, top it with this simple smoked whipped cream and it will add that “wow” factor to any sweet treat.
a bowl of homemade whipped cream sprinkled with powdered sugar
Smoked Whipped Cream
How to smoked cream to use as a base for perfect Smoked Whipped Cream for your favorite desserts.
Wine and Cocktails for Thanksgiving
As we noted earlier, we start with a welcoming drink. For wine, we don’t overthink the options. Because of the diversity of the food, any combination of white and red wines will work because the food and the company is the main star of this event! But if you want a few words of advice, check out our wine guide below to help give you some inspiration. When you’re ready to buy head on over to the Vindulge Wine Shop!
Click Here for Thanksgiving Wine Guide
Photo Credit: Dina Avila and From our Cookbook: Fire + Wine
Post Dinner Cocktail
If you are looking for a fun post-dinner cocktail, Mulled Wine is a great one to have prepared. The warm holiday cocktail is perfect thing to sip on after all that food.
Mulled Wine Recipe
Mulled Wine is a comforting festive drink made from a blend of red wine, spices, and citrus, served warm. This holiday classic recipe is easy to make and is a great cocktail for winter parties.
We hope this list inspires you for some Thanksgiving Dinner ideas for your grill or smoker.
And from us at Vindulge we wish you the most amazing Thanksgiving. We’d love to hear what your favorite dishes are for the day. And if you made any of these recipes don’t forget to drop a comment and rating.
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