37 Thanksgiving Recipes for the Grill and Smoker

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Looking for ideas on what to smoke for Thanksgiving? We have 30 Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas to cook outside, on the grill or smoker. These Smoker Thanksgiving Recipes (and grill) are some of our most popular tried and true holiday recipes.

For other holidays, especially Christmas, check out our roundup of holiday recipes for the grill and smoker.

We have testing smoker Thanksgiving recipes 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 TipPre-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.
  • Prep Plan – We cater and that means writing down the timeline and the plan. This makes sure you defrost your turkey in time and have enough time to brine or prepare your other dishes.
  • 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.
  • BriningPlan 24 – 36 hours for a turkey brine. Using a brine is a great technique for smoking Turkey because it helps retain moisture and adds some flavor.

You can read all our advice for the ultimate smoked turkey and be sure to read up on how to achieve perfect crispy skin.

Thanksgiving Cocktail Ideas

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.

Apple Cider Mimosa

Since fall is prime apple season, a little sparkling wine added to fresh apple cider is the perfect Thanksgiving drink idea. Or get inspired from our mimosa bar ideas.

Two Apple Cider Mimosas
5 from 1 vote

Apple Cider Mimosa Recipe

Fresh apple cider plus sparkling wine for the perfect apple cider cocktail. This will be your go-to fall cocktail.
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Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider

Alternatively you can warm up some apple cider and let your guests add Bourbon or whiskey as a warm Thanksgiving cocktail idea.

Spiked Hot Apple Cider
4.43 from 83 votes

Bourbon Spiked Hot Apple Cider Recipe

A soothing and comforting spiked apple cider made with Bourbon. Can be served warm or cold over ice. 
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Pomegranate Mimosa

Elevate your mimosa game with flavor and color. Use Pomegranate juice and sparkling wine and finish with fresh pomegranate seeds. It’s a stunning flavor and looks amazing too.

Pomegranate Mimosa
4.60 from 5 votes

Pomegranate Mimosa

A delicious and festive Pomegranate Mimosa made with sparkling wine, Cointreau, and pomegranate juice. The perfect champagne cocktail recipe for holiday parties!
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Bourbon Cocktail with Grilled Lemon Simple Syrup

In the theme of make ahead, grill lemons to make a grilled lemon simple syrup. Combine with Bourbon (or whiskey) for a our grilled Bourbon Cocktail.

Bourbon Cocktails with Lemon Simple Syrup
5 from 2 votes

Bourbon Cocktail Recipe with Grilled Lemon Simple Syrup

Grilled lemons infused into a simple syrup and mixed with bourbon and bitters. A great summer cocktail.
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Pomegranate Ginger Beer Cocktail

Nothing says Thanksgiving cocktails like using pomegranate. This pomegranate cocktail is not overly sweet with a nice kick from good ginger beer.

Ginger Pomegranate Spritz in glass.
5 from 1 vote

Ginger Pomegranate Cocktail

Ginger Pomegranate Spritz is a loose take on a classic cocktail. This refreshing drink is made with ginger beer, pomegranate flavored Italian soda, fresh lime, vodka, and some fresh herbs. It's the perfect refreshing holiday cocktail this season.
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Thanksgiving Appetizers on the Grill or Smoker

When guests arrive it’s great to have some Thanksgiving themed appetizers. 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.

Smoked Almonds

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.
5 from 3 votes

Smoked Almonds

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.
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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.
4.49 from 25 votes

Grilled Baked Brie with Wine and Thyme

Grilled brie wheel with white wine and thyme served with grilled crostini.
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Blackberry Jam With Grilled Brie

Buy fresh or frozen blackberries and make this Thanksgiving appetizer hit. It’s ready in minutes and is made at every party we ever host.

Grilled Brie Cheese with Blackberry Jam on a serving platter
5 from 4 votes

Grilled Baked Brie with Blackberry Jam

Grilled Baked Brie with a homemade blackberry jam is an excellent holiday party appetizer! Use fresh or frozen blackberries for one of the best appetizer recipes.
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Grilled Green Bean Bundles

Wrap prosciutto around blanched string beans and grill them for 10 minutes. Easy to make ahead and serve warm.

Grilled Prosciutto wrapped Green Bean bundles on a serving platter
5 from 1 vote

Easy Grilled Prosciutto Wrapped Green Bean Bundles

Blanched green beans seasoned with salt and pepper and wrapped with savory prosciutto. Then grilled over direct heat for an amazing grilled green bean and prosciutto appetizer.
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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
5 from 1 vote

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.
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Thanksgiving Turkey on the Grill or Smoker

Smoked Turkey is the main star. We save Smoked 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.

Turkey Seasoning

This seasoning is our go to for any of our smoked turkey recipes. It’s a savory mix with kosher salt, dried herbs, and the distinct flavor of fennel. If you want something with some sugar use our ultimate dry rub.

Homemade Turkey Seasoning in a bowl
5 from 1 vote

Easy Homemade Turkey Seasoning Recipe

An easy Homemade Turkey Seasoning perfect for your Thanksgiving or Holiday Turkey. This no-sugar seasoning is savory and herbal for the ultimate flavor.
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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.

4.48 from 118 votes

Smoked Turkey Recipe with Bourbon Brine

Truly the Best Smoked Turkey recipe, packed with flavor, from a bourbon citrus brine, to an herbed butter, to a great turkey seasoning. Rated as the best turkey brines for smoking, this is the juiciest and most flavorful turkey ever.
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Perfect Pellet Grill Turkey

Pellet grills are a great way to add smoke and then crank up the heat for crispy skin. We use our turkey seasoning and we spatchcock for the ultimate pellet grill smoked turkey.

Pellet Grill Smoked Turkey on a serving platter
5 from 2 votes

Smoked Pellet Grill Turkey Recipe

Using this method and recipe you will get perfect juicy smoked turkey with crispy skin every single time. Follow the simple steps of Brine, Spatchcock, Season, Smoke, for the best smoked turkey.
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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
4.78 from 9 votes

Smoked Spatchcocked Turkey Recipe with Cajun Seasoning

An easy way to smoke turkey by spatchcocking, or removing the backbone, and seasoning with cajun spices.
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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.

5 from 3 votes

Smoked Turkey Breast Recipe

Brined and smoked turkey breast served with smoked turkey gravy.
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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.
5 from 1 vote

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.
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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.

Easy Skillet Dinner Rolls

Easy quick-rise dinner rolls grilled to perfection. These golden brown rolls are chewy with that nice crusty exterior with that extra wood fire flavor. Ready in under 90 minutes from beginning to end.

Cast Iron dinner rolls after being grilled and topped with melted butter and seasoning.
5 from 3 votes

Easy Skillet Dinner Rolls Recipe (on the Grill)

These amazing and simple homemade dinner rolls are ready and baked in under 90 minutes, and grilled indirect. Prepared in a cast iron skillet and cooked on the grill for the best flavor for your holiday meals.
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Grilled Wild Mushroom Stuffing

Three varieties of mushrooms, leeks, and crusty bread all combined for a savory and rich wild mushroom stuffing. One Thanksgiving recipe we have on our table every year.

Grilled Wild Mushroom Stuffing in a cast iron skillet
5 from 1 vote

Grilled Wild Mushroom and Leek Stuffing

A classic, delicious, herbal and savory wild mushroom stuffing cooked on the grill. This incredible vegetarian Thanksgiving or holiday side dish is full of incredible flavor and is sure to become a favorite.
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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
4.58 from 7 votes

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
4.67 from 6 votes

Red Wine Cranberry Sauce Recipe

An easy homemade cranberry sauce recipe infused with wine. A great holiday side dish.
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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.

4.89 from 9 votes

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. 
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Acorn Squash

Thinly sliced acorn squash over direct heat and finished with a real maple syrup glaze.

Grilled Acorn Squash with Maple Glaze on a serving dish
5 from 1 vote

Grilled Acorn Squash recipe with Maple Syrup Glaze

Grilled slices of acorn squash finished with a maple syrup glaze. This easy recipe makes for a great holiday side dish or addition to a salad.
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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
4.67 from 3 votes

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.
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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
5 from 1 vote

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.
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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
4.63 from 8 votes

Grilled Sweet Potato Recipe with Smoked Honey Butter

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.
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Grilled Beet Salad with Wine Infused Cranberries

Grilled roasted beets are tossed with bacon, Parmesan cheese, and wine infused cranberries for an incredible salad.

Grilled Beet Salad with Rosé Infused Cranberries and Smoked Bacon
5 from 3 votes

Grilled Beet Salad with Rosé Infused Cranberries and Bacon

Beets are incredible cooked on the grill, and even better topped with rosé wine infused cranberries and smoked bacon. This will be your favorite salad all summer long! 
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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
4.62 from 21 votes

Smoked Turkey Gravy Recipe with Bourbon

A simple way to make smoked Thanksgiving turkey gravy with added flavor of bourbon and thyme.
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Grilled Green Beans

Grilled, crunchy, slightly sweet, and finished with some grilled lemon. This is a simple dish with outstanding flavor.

Grilled Green Beans on a platter with a side of grilled lemons
5 from 2 votes

Easy Grilled Green Beans Recipe with Grilled Lemon

Grilling green beans makes for an easy side dish to make on the grill. Add grilled lemon for an added twist of flavor.
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Glazed and Grilled Carrots

Grilled to perfection with a simple honey and brown sugar glaze.

4.37 from 38 votes

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.  
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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 Apple Pie

This Dutch style apple pie is grilled to perfection using store-bought dough and a delicious butter and sugar crumble. It’s classic apple pie only easier with a smoky flavor.

Slice of grilled apple pie topped with vanilla ice cream.
5 from 2 votes

Easy Grilled Apple Pie (Dutch Apple Pie style)

An amazing apple pie filled with the sweet and tart flavors of apples, citrus and spices, and topped with a buttery and rich crumble, and cooked on the grill for a festive holiday treat!
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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
5 from 1 vote

Grilled Pumpkin Pie Recipe

Grilled pumpkin pie with traditional spice flavor and topped with candied pecans. An incredible dessert for your holiday spread.
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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
4.50 from 2 votes

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.
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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
5 from 2 votes

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!
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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
4.67 from 3 votes

Smoked Whipped Cream

How to smoked cream to use as a base for perfect Smoked Whipped Cream for your favorite desserts.
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Wine Pairing for Thanksgiving

As we noted earlier, we start with a welcoming drink. For wine, we don’t overthink the options. We like to plan one sparkling, one white, and one red option. Then scale up how many bottles based on how many people are coming.

Portions: The general rule is one bottle of wine per adult.

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.

  • Sparkling Wine – Sparkling wine pairs with any type of food. We opt for a good Oregon Sparkline wine or a nice Prosecco. Or you can seek out rarer wines like Brazilian Sparkling Wine or a good Champagne.
  • RieslingRiesling, especially a dry one, stands up to the diverse flavors of the food.
  • Zinfandel – Big tannic reds don’t pair as well with Thanksgiving Dinner. But a juicy well made red Zinfandel has great structure and is fruity.

But if you want a few words of advice, check out our wine guide below to help give you some inspiration.

Variations of wine on a table from rose to red.
Photo Credit: Dina Avila and From our Cookbook: Fire + Wine

Post Thanksgiving 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.

5 from 1 vote

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.
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Leftover Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

It’s likely you have lots of food leftover. Try some of these to make that meal last.

Smoked Buffalo Turkey Dip

Take your leftover turkey and turn it into a Buffalo style cheese dip. This is comfort food elevated.

Buffalo Turkey Dip
4.93 from 14 votes

Smoked Buffalo Turkey Dip Recipe

The ultimate leftover turkey idea is a Smoked Buffalo Turkey Dip. Cheesy and delicious.
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Green Chile Turkey

This green chile (or chili) turkey uses green bell peppers and leftover turkey to make a thick soupy and savory soup. You can also substitute the bell peppers with Hatch Green Chile.

green chili turkey in a bowl
5 from 1 vote

Green Chili Turkey Recipe

This can be a great use for leftover turkey, or as a main meal. Serve over rice or as a filling for tacos or burritos. 
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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 or rate any of the recipes you make.

About Vindulge

About Vindulge

Mary (a certified sommelier and recipe developer) and Sean (backyard pitmaster) are co-authors of the critically acclaimed cookbook, Fire + Wine, and have been creating content for the IACP nominated website Vindulge since 2009. They live in Oregon on a farm just outside Portland.

cookbook cover

Now on 2nd edition

Fire + Wine Cookbook

“This book is a one-stop guide for anyone truly interested in elevating their BBQ experience into a culinary work of art.”
5 out of 5 Stars
San Francisco Book Review

mary cressler headshot


About Mary

I'm Mary, a wine/food/travel writer, Certified Sommelier, mom of twins, former vegetarian turned BBQ fanatic, runner, founder of Vindulge, and author of Fire + Wine cookbook. Thanks for stopping by!

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