BBQ Food Sensation: Hot Holiday Grill and Smoker Ideas

Are the holidays becoming a little stale? Do your celebration meals lack the wow factor? The solution for fixing those predictable Christmas, Hanukkah, or Thanksgiving flavors is waiting patiently out on the patio. Our grill and smoker ideas will inject new taste sensations into your dishes.

Unleash your grill master powers this holiday season with some of these delicious grilled and smoked entrees and side dish ideas. It will surprise you just how many delicious meats, exotic sides, and even desserts grilling and smoking make possible.  

You’ll find food ideas in two categories–smoking and grilling. It’s essential to understand the difference and the unique benefits offered by each.  

First up, ideas for delicious main dishes from your smoker grill and some unusual seasoning options to try. 

Then some unexpectedly delicious ideas from your charcoal or gas grill designed for holiday mealtime goodness. This is your chance to take a walk on the wild side and give your folks a feast to remember.  

The Benefits Of Smoking And Grilling 

Here are some benefits smoking meats offer for holiday or celebration meals.  

Time is the most significant difference between smoked foods and grilled foods. Because smoking is a slower process, it allows deep flavors to permeate the meat and keeps it moist and tender. The slow cooking process breaks down proteins and collagen in the tissues for that melt in your mouth texture and taste. Smoked meats have great visual appeal and enhanced aromatic appeal.  

Grilling is faster, and this is where your gas grill will prove its worth—grilling seals in nutrients without retaining or adding extra fats. Done properly, grilled entrees and sides have great visual and aromatic appeal.  

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Grill & Smoke: Fresh Taste Sensations 

Not all salts are created equal, so it’s important to consider the size of the grain of salt that you’re using in the brine.  Virginia Willis  

This year many holiday celebrations will be more intimate, immediate family-only gatherings. That makes it an ideal opportunity to explore fresh, exotic flavors with grilled meat and side dish options. Here are some tasty twists for pork, turkey, and lamb.  

Cider Brined Turkey Breast Turkey breasts offer a world of flavor opportunities perfect for grilling.  

Brining the breast in hard cider and coating it with savory rubs infuses the meat with flavor and creates a delicious crust.  

Brining: Try Dry And Wet Rubs

Look online to find your favorite recipes for the brine and rub mixes. Both wet and dry rubs work well, and you have a lot of exciting cider and beer options for your brine.  

Blends of brown sugar with salt and savory herbs like cumin and rosemary create a tasty crust, and wet rubs under the skin keep the meat moist. If you’re feeling adventurous, try Korean, Indian, or Middle Eastern spices for an exotic flair. 

This works great for chicken‌ too–a fantastic choice for small gatherings or if you are tired of turkey. Whole chickens, butterfly cuts, or chicken breasts taste delicious grilled and take even less time to cook. 

Brining Resources: Learn From The Experts

Brining to add flavor and bring out the best in your chosen meat can be tricky for a novice. Take the guesswork out of the process of brining by following Stratford University’s comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about brining.  

If you are looking for tips and tricks to perfect your brine Catherine Lamb has some faultless advice on how to (and how not to) brine your turkey. If dry brining is top of your list, you can learn all the intricacies of the best way to dry brine from Serious Eats

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Grill & Smoke: Smoked Ham with a Twist 

Here’s a delicious way to turn an inexpensive pre-cooked spiral-sliced ham into a holiday masterpiece.  

You can do it in about three hours in your smoker or your grill with a pan of soaked wood chips for a smokey flavor.  

First, lightly coat the ham with Dijon mustard and apply a dry rub. There are many rub recipes out there, but a basic rub with brown sugar, salt, pepper, garlic, and onion powder works well for this dish.  

You’re going to cook the ham at a low temperature (250F) for three hours until it reaches an internal temperature of 130F. Use a meat thermometer. 

Now the glaze.  

Coat the outside with your favorite glaze and cook to 140F. Brush on the remaining glaze and let rest for 15-20 minutes before serving.  

You can use a basic brown sugar glaze or make it exotic and even better by adding bourbon, cherry jam, marmalade, or whatever tastes you love best. Slow grilling keeps the meat tender and juicy underneath a delicious, glazed crust.  

Smoked Meat Resources 

Another popular and delicious cut to smoke is a brisket of beef, cooked long and slow; this cut can transform the humdrum into a feast for your gathering. Paula Disbrowe has the perfect Easy Smoked Brisket Recipe that would be the ideal showstopper centerpiece for any meal. 

Grilling the ham (recipe above) is the ideal method for the perfect finish, but If you are left wondering how to adapt the recipe and cook on a fireplace, take a look at our ultimate guide to Fireplace Cooking. 

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Photo by Pel on Unsplash

Grill & smoke: Wing Into Deliciousness  

There is a whole other dimension of goodness with turkey wings that most people never get to enjoy. You can find them inexpensively priced at your local meat market or by the case online. Clip the flats off, brine overnight, and grill using your favorite mix.  

Popular flavors include honey, garlic, mesquite, and herb rubs filled with rosemary, oregano, and olive oil flavors.  

Try something daring and marinate the wings in a beer brine for 12 hours. Coat with a simple dry rub and grill with a bourbon sauce. This method also works great for grilled chicken breasts, leg quarters, or wings‌.  

Grilled Wing Resources 

Jess from has a no-fail juicy Grilled Chicken Wing Recipe that is sure to be a hit with any get-together. Not only are they delicious and smokey, but this grilled chicken wing recipe is also deceptively easy to whip up and serve to your guests. 

If you are looking for a Vegan alternative to grilled wings, Losune and Alberto from Simple Vegan Blog have an easy swap. Try their Vegan Buffalo Cauliflower Wings baked or grilled to add a taste explosion to your table. 

Grill & Smoke: Sides and Fruit 

You probably plan on doing most of the vegetables and other side dishes inside.  

Consider grilling some of these for added flavor and visual appeal. Sweet potato skewers, butternut squash, and eggplant all taste great grilled or smoked.  

Put some cut-up apples and pears into a small cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven. Top with nuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and slowly roast on the grill until soft. It looks delicious, and your guests will find the sweet apple-cinnamon aroma irresistible. 

Grilled Sides Resources 

Adding flavorful side dishes to the main attraction can elevate your whole dining experience. Some recipes can become the shining star of the entire meal. 

Easy Grilled Sweet Potatoes from is the perfect example, as it is a quick recipe to grill and serve while being a hugely popular side dish everyone enjoys. The versatility of this sweet potato side is that you can add in different dressings, sweet, spicy, or sour, to appeal to every guest at your table. 

If you are looking to add some healthy and delicious side dishes to your table, look no further than Cookie and Kate’s round-up article of 17 Easy & Healthy Side Dishes you can add to any outdoor table. 

Dutch Oven Dessert Resources  

Ned Adams from Dutch Oven Daddy has an incredible Apple and Cinnamon recipe you can whip up for your family gathering in your dedicated trusty Dutch oven. 

Another delicious Dutch oven-baked dessert to add to your table is Dutch Oven Banana Bread from Fresh Off The Grid. This versatile recipe isn’t just for dessert; you can serve it up for a tasty breakfast to treat your family as well. 

Help and Advice for Grilling & Smoking Food

You can see the benefits of adding grilled and smoked foods to your holiday menus.  

The possibilities for lamb, beef, seafood, and much more offer a fantastic extra dimension of taste and aromatic appeal to traditional holiday meals.  

Get out in the backyard and make some smoke and delicious holiday memories this year.   

A visit to your local butcher or meat market is a great way to learn more about grilling meat, poultry, and seafood. You can discover unusual cuts and options that your supermarket might not carry.  

He or she can also offer helpful tips for the best ways to prepare fresh cuts and unfamiliar kinds of meat. 

Tough times, bad weather, and illness shouldn’t be what defines this holiday season and shape your memories. Even intimate family gatherings deserve better.  


This year, look outside the box and put delicious grilled and smoked foods on the menu. 

Imagine your family and friends savoring all those exciting new flavors and textures with the tantalizing aroma of BBQ cuisine filling the room.  

Learning new interesting ways to grill and smoke tasty dishes for your crowd is fun, and finding innovative cooking methods to please even the fussiest guest is easy with our top tips in this handy guide.

Set the table, gather your guests, and grill and smoke your ideal foodie dishes to keep your crowd happy and coming back for more.

Your love and attention and some great food are all you need to make memories to last a lifetime.