Thanksgiving is traditionally an event that celebrates Family, giving thanks for all of the things we have centered around food. An abundance of rich and calorie heavy dishes give everyone around the table the feeling of being “stuffed” after the meal is over and fearing the scale.
Over the last several years, more people have turned their attention towards healthier and more flavorful side dish alternatives. For Thanksgiving Dinner, your outdoor kitchen can be used as a secondary cooking space to create these healthier and delicious side items. After the traditional feast, your outdoor grill or wood burning oven can be used to create scrumptious appetizers or bar-food for socializing, relaxing around the fireplace or watching football with your nearest and dearest. Celebrate the holidays using the following recipes or get creative and come up with your own!
Thanksgiving Dinner side alternatives on the Grill:
Thanksgiving Veggie Kabobs
Pick your favorite veggies, such as bell peppers, Veggie Kabobs Isokern Outdoor Kitchenmushrooms, cherry tomatoes, squash or zucchini. Cut these vegetables into medium-large pieces as they will shrink while on the grill. Brush with extra-virgin olive oil and herbs, such as fresh sage, and marinate for up to 4 hours in the fridge. Prepare wooden kabob sticks by soaking them in water for 30 minutes.
Once the veggies have marinated and the kabobs have been prepped, spear an assortment of vegetables and cook over medium flame until slightly charred on the outside and deliciously soft on the inside.
Another alternative to kabobs is using a grill skillet or basket such as here.
Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus Spears
Pre-heat your grill to medium. Prepare large Asparagus spears (not the skinny ones), cut off woody stems, rinse and dry. Wrap one piece of bacon (normal sized pack) around each asparagus so sides slightly overlap – if bacon is too long, trim for use on another piece of asparagus.
Place asparagus on grill and turn temperature down to medium/low – the fat from the bacon may cause the flames to flare periodically. Flip once during cooking. Bacon Wrapped Asparagus is done when the bacon has completely cooked, after approximately 20 minutes.
Corn on the Grill
Pre-heat your grill to medium and lightly oil grate. Heat 5 cloves of garlic, minced, and ½ cup of butter over low heat for 5 minutes to infuse the butter with the garlic flavor. Do not let the butter simmer! Stir together 1 tablespoon white sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon cumin in a small dish. Stir into the butter mixture along with lime (1/2 lime juiced) and 2 tablespoons hot pepper sauce until evenly blended. Brush corn ears (6 total) generously with your “sauce”, reserve remaining.
Cook the corn on the preheated grill (medium), rotating occasionally until the corn is hot and tender, 10-15 minutes. Brush corn with remaining butter as the corn cooks.
Thanksgiving Football Game dishes in your Wood Burning Oven
Boneless Pork Spare Ribs
Heat wood burning oven to approximately 525 degrees F (450-500 for best results) and split coals 50/50 on either side of the oven. Tip: Use a “smoking” wood, such as hickory or mesquite for extra tasty ribs.
Boneless pork ribs should be about 3/4″ to 1″ thick, seasoned to taste. Marinate spare ribs for about an hour in sauce of your choosing – good source of sauces can be found here. Ribs can either be placed on a cooking grid or placed on extra firebricks for additional elevation / more even cooking.
Turn frequently as not to over cook either side. Cook approximately 5-10 minuts per piece. Time may vary according to temperature and thickness of meat. Note: For bone-in add a few minutes more per piece.
Source: Jeff Wiggins, Earthcore
Heat wood burning oven to approximately 400 degrees F (if higher, simply cook closer to entry).
Combine ¾ cup of all-purpose flour, ½ tsp. of cayenne pepper, ½ tsp. garlic powder and ½ tsp.
of salt in a large plastic storage bag – shake the bag to combine all of the ingredients.
Add 20 chicken wings to the bag – seal and toss until coated well with flour mixture. Combine ½ cup melted butter with ½ cup hot sauce (sauce of choice) in a small bowl. Dip wings into sauce mixture and place into grill basket – nonstick works best, such as here or here. Bake chicken wings approximately ½ hour while continuing to toss chicken / turning of basket so wings cook evenly and do not char.
Cheesy Baked Dip
8 oz. Sour Cream
8 oz. Cream Cheese
16 oz. Cheddar Cheese, grated (sharp or mild)
4 oz. chopped Green Chilies
Green Onion (suit your own taste)
1 c. chopped Ham
½ pound chopped Bacon
1 round Bread Loaf, hollowed out
Mix first 7 ingredients together (everything except bread) and put into hollowed out bread loaf. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered for one hour. Serve with leftover bread or chips.