Thanksgiving stuffing, cooked directly on the smoker or grill.
Did you know you can cook your Thanksgiving stuffing (or dressing, however you prefer to call it) directly on your smoker or grill, saving room in your oven for all the other goods. Or better yet, take Thanksgiving outside this year and give your oven a break!
Before we moved to our new house we had the worlds tiniest oven. It was ridiculous. Like so tiny you couldn’t fit a regular sized turkey in it. I’m not lying.
That’s what it looked like, in all its tiny glory.
So whenever we hosted Thanksgiving we adapted all of our favorite recipes to be cooked outside on the smoker or grill.
Pro tip: You can also simply use your grill as a warmer while other things are cooking so nothing is served cold, did you know that?
I shared this recipe last year on Wine4.Me, we started the recipe in the smoker where we did it on our grill but this year we’re sticking to just the smoker. But it works both ways, grill or smoker, just depending on if you want some of that smoked love. This year we’re going with the smoke love.
The very first inspiration for this was Tyler Florence’s Caramelized Onion Cornbread Recipe. I used to make that YEARS ago, before we even owned our first smoker and lived in a tiny 800 square foot apartment in San Francisco. It was definitely a step up from the store-bought boxed stuffing mix I grew up with, but it was also lacking. Also, Tyler, it takes more than 10 minutes to caramelize onions, silly. He also stuffs it into the turkey. That’s not my style. I prefer it cooked on the side. It also was lacking in something savory, spicy, and sweet. Hence the sausage and dried cranberries. That did the trick and brought all those wonderful flavors together. (I still love you, Tyler!)
It’s super easy to make and the results are so good this has been our go-to stuffing every year for at least the last 10 years.
Start with bulk sausage, about one pound, and break it up into about quarter size pieces and place on a baking sheet. Place on your smoker, set to 225, and cook about 60 minutes, until the pieces are cooked through.
Next caramelize your onions, then mix everything together, and place into a cast iron pan. Jack up your smoker temp to around 375 and place your stuffing into the smoker for about 30 minutes or until it looks crispy and cooked through.
Boom. That’s it. If you don’t have a smoker you can see the instructions for doing this on the grill in my Wine4.Me article from last year.
- 1 pound bulk spicy Italian pork sausage
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 medium onion chopped (roughly 2 cups worth)
- 10 sage leaves chopped (about ¼ cup loosely packed)
- 10 sprigs thyme chopped (about 1 teaspoon)
- 6 cups day old/dried cornbread chopped into 1-inch cubes
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 cup + chicken stock may need more or less, see notes
- 1 egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper or a few twists of fresh ground pepper
Pre-heat smoker to 225 degrees.
Break up the sausage into quarter size peices and place on a foil-lined cookie sheet. Place on the smoker for 60-90 minutes until browned and cooked through. Remove and transfer the sausage to a large bowl.
In a large skillet set to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and the chopped onions. Let them slowly soften and nearly caramelize (about 15 - 20 minutes), stirring often. Add the sage and thyme and mix together. Transfer to the large bowl with the sausage.
Add the cornbread pieces and cranberries to the bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, chicken stock, and one egg. Pour that mixture over the cornbread and stuffing mix. Add salt and pepper and stir together. Add more chicken stock if the mix looks dry.
Transfer to a buttered baking dish (I like a 10-inch round cast iron skillet for this size portion).
Increase smoker temperature to 375. Place dish on smoker for approximately 30 minutes or until hot and crispy on top.
For the cornbread it's best to use day old cornbread. But if you forget to cook it the day before (it happens!), cut the pieces into 1" cubes and place on a baking sheet and place under the broiler for a couple minutes, monitoring closely, to dry out a little bit and toast up.
For more tasty recipes, BBQ tips and tricks, check out the Recipe Index.
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