From tailgating to backyard BBQs and all kinds of impromptu get-togethers in between, Pit Barrel Cookers help take outdoor dining to the next level. Now you expand your grilling repertoire beyond crowd pleasers like brisket, kabobs and beer-can chicken to include these 10 foods you didn’t even know you could grill.
So, get out your barrel smoker, line up your grill accessories and get ready to impress the masses — or just yourself — with some very delectable ideas.
Pizza is one of the rare dishes that seems to be traditional yet trendy at the same time. Go-to pies like extra cheese and pepperoni can be ordered in from your local pizzeria or made in your oven, but once you taste the magic that is a grilled pizza, you’ll never go back to flabby and bland baked versions.
Grilled pizza is as easy as putting the dough with your favorite toppings on a pizza stone and let your cheese melt and the crust get to a perfect crisp.
Get the recipe: Easy Gourmet Pizza
If you can put it in a casserole dish, you can probably put it in your Pit Barrel Cooker — for the most part, anyway. Think of your cooker like an outdoor oven. The consistent flow of dry heat allows dishes like shepherd’s pie and broccoli-rice casserole to bake through and take on a depth and complexity you won’t get from a regular indoor oven. Breakfast casseroles with eggs, sausage and veggies are particularly good on the grill or smoker, and you can make your own sausage or bacon ahead of time for extra credit.
Get the recipe: Jalapeno Scalloped Potatoes
3. Brussels Sprouts
Most grill enthusiasts know you can toss some portabella mushrooms or asparagus on the grill and achieve some uber-tasty results. But there are other, less obvious veggies that benefit from a kiss of smoke too. Toss the brussels sprouts in olive oil, season with salt and pepper, then put the sprouts in Pit Barrel Cooker’s All-Purpose Basket Hanger, hang in your drum smoker and cook for 10-15 minutes.
The unique design of the hanging baskets allows heat to penetrate the sprouts from all sides for even cooking that gets the centers of the sprouts al dente and the outer leaves with a hint of crunch. Yum!
Get the recipe: Pit Barrel Grilled Brussel Sprouts
Okay, obviously you’re not grilling any actual liquor, but putting cocktail ingredients like grapefruit or watermelon on your smoker grill before you get behind the bar can make for some surprising drinks. Imagine a mojito with muddled grilled lime or a paloma with more depth than ever. Even strawberries and pineapple can hit the grill before going in the blender for a frozen margarita unlike any other.
Avocado is a fatty fruit packed with nutrients that can help with everything from heart health to preventing osteoporosis. It’s also just plain delicious. To grill your avocados, first them in half and remove the pits. Then place the avocado face down on the grill (don’t remove the avocado “meat” from the peel or shell — it’ll make it much easier to maneuver). Leave it in one place — no touching! — for about 4-6 minutes until the cut side of the avocado has significant grill marks, then remove and let cool.
Use in tacos or guacamole for a smokier take on classic preparations, or pile ceviche, salsa or chicken salad into your new grilled avocado cup for a light but satisfying summer meal.
Grilled cheese sandwiches. Brie stuffed with fig jam and wrapped in foil. Big blocks of feta and halloumi. There are cheeses specifically meant for grilling and those that you never considered putting in your BBQ smoker but, once you do, you’ll have trouble going back to boring old cold cheese. Trust us.
Try grilled feta and watermelon salad, or the recipe below for an easy way to test out our “grilled cheese is better cheese” theory.
Get the recipe: Smoked Cream Cheese
7. Romaine Lettuce
While we’re busy grilling produce, why not reinvent the humble Caesar salad? Caesar salads require only a few components: romaine lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese and Caesar dressing. The best versions coax incredible flavor out of each one of those components, and grilling your lettuce is the perfect way to spin a timeless recipe with minimal effort.
Baste an entire head of romaine (root left intact) in a marinade using oil, vinegar and your favorite seasonings. Place the romaine directly on your grill grate or in a hanging basket. Grill/smoke until the outside leaves begin to caramelize. Chop the lettuce and toss with fresh parmesan, croutons and homemade or high-quality store-bought Caesar dressing. The wilted, smoked-tinged outer leaves and cool crunch of the romaine heart is an unforgettable combination.
Another cruciferous vegetable, another opportunity to incorporate some healthy food into your diet without sacrificing even the tiniest bit of flavor. In fact, think of cauliflower like a blank slate — you can add almost anything to it and create an instant culinary masterpiece. Try cutting a head of cauliflower into “steaks” about three-quarters of an inch thick. Season with salt and pepper, grill on both sides until slightly charred, then served topped with chimichurri or a smoky romesco sauce.
Ripe peaches taste incredible after a few minutes on a charcoal grill, but you can even save underripe fruit from the trash bin by grilling peach halves until they soften. Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of caramel and some smoked nuts (see below) or step up your game and grill some poundcake for an extra sweet summery treat.
Get the recipe: Bourbon Peaches
Mixed nuts are the ultimate at-home happy hour snack. All you need is a few cocktails of choice, a pound or two of your favorite nuts and some of your favorite Pit Barrel Cooker Co. seasoning or rub (the all-purpose is particularly good here). The only problem will be making enough to keep all your guests occupied while you’re smoking the main course.
To kickstart your culinary creativity, explore our full collection of Pit Barrel smokers and grills, plus check out our grill accessories for handy tools and the best rubs for smoking anything and everything you can think of — cocktails and avocados included.
Get the Recipe: Cajun Smoked Nuts