The temperatures are rising and the days are getting longer. This can only mean one thing: Summer is here and it’s time to fire up your BBQ smoker!
You don’t have to pack up the party when the fireflies come out to play. With the right planning, you can keep the vibe going all night long, and your beloved smoker can be the star of the show! The key is keeping everyone entertained and well-fed, with bite-sized eats they can enjoy.
Not sure what to cook? Today, we’re sharing six of our favorite outdoor cooking recipes that are ideal for BBQ smokers.
Let’s start with the obvious. Backyard grills are just made for smoking meat, and brisket is one of the most delectable options. This crown-pleasing dish pairs well with any side and delivers a burst of flavor you have to taste to believe.
Whether you eat the brisket on its own or make it into a yummy sandwich, you can’t go wrong. Make sure to choose the right cut of meat, and trim it well to make sure you enjoy every morsel. Then, top it with a rich and delectable sauce to add even more zest.
These 10 sauce recipes are easy to follow and use simple ingredients, so try them at your next backyard barbecue!
2. Macaroni and Cheese
What dish pairs well with a fall-off-the-bone smoked brisket? Macaroni and cheese, of course!
If you’ve never tried to smoke this classic entree, then you’re seriously missing out. All you have to do is prepare your favorite mac and cheese recipe, and then throw it on the smoker under indirect heat for about two hours. You’ll know it’s done when it’s crispy on top but still nice and ooey-gooey on the inside.
You can serve it as-is, or top it with scallions and parmesan cheese for an elegant twist! If you aren’t trying to keep it vegetarian, you can even sprinkle on some crispy bacon.
3. Whole Smoked Chicken
Are you cooking for a crowd? Few meals go further than a whole chicken, smoked to tender perfection. While you can cut up the chicken and smoke the individual pieces, this is a much easier and quicker way to get the job done.
The key with this dish is to get the prep work just right. With the perfect rub, you can take your chicken from standard to spectacular, without adding on too many ingredients.
Try to strike a balance between sweet and tangy flavors, offsetting ingredients such as brown sugar and honey with chili powder, smoked paprika, and onion powder for a nice kick! Coat the chicken generously with the rub, making sure to add it in every crevice. Next, put it inside a glass dish and cover it.
Let it sit in the fridge to marinate overnight. The next morning, unwrap it and put it on your prepared BBQ grill! Smoke it until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit, and you’re ready to dig in.
To keep the temperature consistent for the duration of the cooking time, consider upgrading your smoker to an infrared grill. Models like TEC infrared grills are designed to optimize cooking performance and consistency, so you wind up with a perfectly balanced dish every time.
4. Cheddar Bacon Burgers
When you combine three of your favorite words into one dish, you know it’s going to be good. Once you’ve formed your patties, add half of them to your smoker and make a slight indention in the center of each one.
In the indention, add a tablespoon or two of pre-cooked, crumbled bacon and some cheddar cheese. Then, add the other patties on top of those patties for a double-decker delight. Smoke them until they reach the right internal temp, and place them between lightly grilled buns.
Add your favorite toppings, and kick the night off right!
5. Sausage and Cheese Dip
No, this isn’t like that cheese dip you can buy in the refrigerator section of your local grocery store. You won’t find any congealed ickiness here.
Instead, what you’ll get is a rich, flavorful sauce that you’ll want to put on absolutely everything on your plate. In a saucepan over medium heat, cook 1/3 cup of onion until it’s soft and tender. Then, add one pound of ground sausage (spicy if you want!), along with a few diced peppers and a few tablespoons of flour.
Let that mixture cook down a little, and then add eight ounces of your favorite pilsner beer. Switch the heat to a lower setting, and add one cup each of sharp cheddar and smoked cheddar cheese. Stir everything until it’s smooth and well-blended, and set it on a big platter with tortilla chips.
6. Smoked Peach Cobbler
We couldn’t talk about outdoor grills and smokers without including dessert! To make this cobbler, start with six ripe peaches and slice them up. Then, mix them with brown sugar, honey, sea salt, and lemon juice for a sweet and savory twist.
Add the fruit to the bottom of a cast-iron pan, and top with thin pieces of your favorite pie crust recipe. Then, put the pan on your smoker for about 40 minutes, or until the crust is brown and the cobbler is bubbly.
Take it off the grill and serve it with vanilla ice cream for a classic summertime treat.
How Will You Use Your BBQ Smoker?
Now that you know what to make on your BBQ smoker, are you ready to ring in the season? Even when the weather turns cool and the first leaves begin to fall, you can still enjoy freshly grilled meats, veggies, and even desserts!
This is one of the hardest workers in your outdoor kitchen, so invest in a premium one that will last for years. Then, you’ll never be too far from the dish of your dreams.
Looking for more advice on ways to nourish your body and mind? Check out the other tips in our Health guides!