8 Holiday Grilling Recipes You Would Trade for Your Dessert
Our Thanksgiving dinner grilled recipes article was such a huge hit with Kick Ash Basket fans that we decided to bring you another recipe guide for the holiday season. In this blog, we’ll give you some of our favorite grilled recipes for the upcoming holidays, whether you’re having extended family over or just grilling for you and a buddy. We think you’ll especially love our grilled steak recipe with bacon, mushrooms, and wine.
We focus on fast and easy grilling recipes—nothing too fancy or elaborate—so that you can get back to enjoying the day with your loved ones. Seriously, these holiday BBQ recipes are so good, you’d skip dessert just to indulge on them a little more!
If you haven’t already, check out our article 8 Essential Grilling Rules to Follow for Winter 2020 to make sure you have the tools and know-how to safely and easily grill during winter weather. (Never grill during a storm or extreme winds and weather, please!)
Breakfast: Grilled French Toast
After you’ve spent the morning opening presents from Santa, why not treat your family to some delicious French toast? Not only is French toast itself an indulgent delicacy, but throwing it on the grill to get those gorgeous grate marks brings out a smoky sweetness that’s undoubtedly delectable. Plus, it’s visually attractive, especially with a side of fresh fruit and whipped cream.
This recipe makes 6 slices, so adjust the recipe according to your needs (everyone will want seconds, trust us). We also recommend using a grill griddle to minimize mess, although you can do it directly on the grates as well.
- 6 slices 1” thick bread (needs a hearty crust)
- 6 whole eggs
- 6 oz whole milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 6 tbsp butter
- Toppings of your choosing (maple syrup, fruit, butter, etc.)
1.Take out your maple syrup, butter, or other toppings so they come to room temperature. (You don’t want cold syrup on hot toast.)
2.Preheat your grill to medium heat. You’ll use direct heat cooking, so don’t worry about creating two zones. If you won’t be using a griddle, you may want to spray the grates with a non-stick cooking spray or butter spray.
3.Back in the warmth of your kitchen, whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a large mixing bowl until combined.
4.Soak each piece of bread in the egg wash for 20-30 seconds or until completely saturated.
5.Put the soaked bread on a platter that you can bring out to the grill.
6.Arrange the bread on the grates or a griddle. Close the grill lid for 3 minutes.
7.Open the grill, flip the bread over, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
8.If using a griddle, you may want to “sear” your bread on the grates themselves for a minute to get those gorgeous lines. You’ll only need about a minute on each side for this.
9.Put on a clean serving platter and serve with maple syrup (warmed in microwave, if you like), fruit, and other desired toppings.
Check out some more grilled breakfast recipes that are oh-so delicious.
Appetizer: Grilled Shrimp Cocktail
Shrimp cocktail is a restaurant-worthy meal that’s actually pretty simple to make at home. Throw shrimp on the grill for a high-end bite that’s sure to delight. This recipe is easy, fast, and scalable for whatever size shindig you’re throwing.Ingredients:
You’ll need at least 32 shrimp for this recipe.
- 8 cups hot water
- 1/4 cup salt
- 3 tbsp granulated sugar
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- 4 cloves garlic, grated
- 3 cups ice
If this seems like too much work for your brine, you can also use just salt and water with thawed shrimp.
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- Zest of 2 lemons
- Zest of 2 limes
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp minced Italian parsley
- Horseradish sauce
All of these ingredients, except the horseradish, will be used to coat the shrimp. If you prefer, try out our Sweet Mama Original or Bold rub. This does the trick too and it pairs beautifully with a shrimp cocktail.
1.Start by soaking the shrimp in the brine to keep it moist. Whisk together the brine ingredients (except for the ice), until the salt and sugar have dissolved. Add the ice and stir. Then, put the thawed shrimp in the bowl to soak for at least 30-45 minutes. Don’t soak for more than an hour, as it can get too salty. Remove from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel.
2.Preheat the grill to medium-high heat, about 400 degrees F.
3.In a large bowl, season the brined shrimp with all of the additional ingredients or your Sweet Mama rub—except the horseradish sauce. Toss to combine and coat the shrimp in the seasoning.
4.Arrange your shrimp directly on the grill grates—or on kabobs for easy flipping. Once the shrimp start to curl and turn a little pink and charred, flip them. Timing can vary, so keep an eye on how they look. Don’t worry, you won’t be out in the cold for too long, only about 1-2 minutes.
5.Remove shrimp from the grill and put on a warm platter.
6.Fill a martini, parfait, or other wide-rimmed glass with horseradish sauce. Arrange shrimp around the edge of the glass. Add a sprig of cilantro for garnish if you’d like. Serve and enjoy.
Steak Entrée: Grilled Prime Rib with Bacon Sauce
This grilled prime rib makes a stunning centerpiece for your holiday feast, and it’s even tastier than it looks! The sauce includes bacon, garlic, mushrooms, red wine, herbs, and more for a hearty and savory tang that is perfect for a chilly holiday dinner.
- 8-10 lb prime rib (bone-in or boneless)
- 4-6 tbsp steak seasoning of your choice
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 slices thick-cut bacon
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 lb mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cups red wine
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For this recipe, we’ll be doing a reverse sear. Learn more about how to perfect a reverse sear for grilling steak here.
1.You’ll need to trim the fat and lip off the prime rib. If you’re friendly with your local butcher, ask them to do it. You’ll also want to tie the roast so it will keep its round shape during cooking, which will give it a more even cook and beautiful presentation. Many butchers will also mold and tie the prime rib for you.
2.Rub the roast with olive oil and season with your favorite beef seasoning. Even salt and pepper can do the trick!
3.Set up your charcoal grill for a two-zone cook using your Kick Ash Basket dividers.
4.Preheat the grill to about 250 degrees F. We’ll do low and slow for this cook. If it’s a cold winter day, you may need to add more charcoal to keep the fire burning. Learn how to grill on a windy day here.
5.Place the prime rib on the indirect cooking side. If you have a remote meat thermometer, now’s the time to hook it up. (We’re huge fans of the meat thermometers by Thermoworks.) You’ll slowly bring the internal temperature of the meat to 110-115 degrees F. Time can vary depending on the size of your meat, but grilling steak can take anywhere from 1-4 hours.
6.Once the steak has reached the desired internal temperature, remove from the grill and put on a pan or cutting board. You can tent it with aluminum foil to keep it warm and juicy. You should let it rest for at least 15 minutes, but it can rest for up to two hours while you make other holiday sides.
7.A half hour before eating, preheat your grill to hot (450-500 degrees F) or put it on the direct heat zone. Once the grill is hot, place on the grill and let sear. Rotate every minute for even sear marks.
8.At 130 degrees internal temperature, your prime rib will be medium-rare as well as unbelievably juicy and moist.
9.Let rest for another 3 minutes, cut off the butcher twine, slice, and serve with sauce. (Learn how to make a delicious prime rib sauce below.)
For the sauce…
1.Slice bacon into thin strips. Cook the bacon as you usually would, but do it in a saucepan (rather than a regular pan).
2.Once the bacon is almost fully cooked, add minced garlic and stir. (Before adding, you may want to get rid of most of the bacon fat drippings. You only want 1-2 teaspoons left in the saucepan.)
3.When the garlic starts to brown, add onion and keep stirring. Cook on medium-low heat.
4.Once the onions have started to brown and caramelize, add the red wine. Let it reduce by two-thirds before adding beef stock, mushrooms, rosemary sprig, and thyme. Again, let it reduce by half. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the rosemary sprig and discard.
5.Cover the sauce pot and keep it ready until the prime rib is ready. Slather it on and enjoy the deliciousness!
Pork Entrée: Bacon-Wrapped Rosemary Pork Tenderloin
There’s nothing quite like a Christmas ham, but how about double the pork with this scrumptious yet quick-and-easy recipe. If you dread cooking your Christmas ham (it always comes out dry, doesn’t it?), then you’ll love the juiciness and tenderness of grilled pork tenderloin instead. Plus, with rosemary, garlic, allspice, and bacon, you’ll have all of your favorite holiday flavors wrapped into one.
- 3 lb pork tenderloin
- 12 oz thin-sliced bacon
- 5 garlic cloves, peeled
- 1 tbsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp ground allspice
- 1 tbsp kosher salt
- 1 tbsp light brown sugar
- 3 tbsp rosemary leaves (+ sprigs for garnish)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (+ some for brushing)
- Optional cranberry sauce for serving
1.First, you’ll prepare the pork rub. In a food processor, pulse garlic, pepper, allspice, salt, brown sugar, rosemary leaves, and olive oil until it creates a paste. If you don’t have a food processor, you can finely chop everything and mix together in a bowl.
2.Rub the paste into the pork. You’ll want to be forceful, but not too rough. Let chill overnight or at least 1 hour before cooking. If you have time, you can rub the pork 24 hours in advance to really let the flavor settle in.
3.Preheat your charcoal grill to medium-high heat, around 425 degrees F.
4.Wrap each pork medallion in low-sodium bacon. Tuck the end of the bacon into itself or use a toothpick to keep it in place. If you’re grilling a full tenderloin, use the bacon weave method. Not only is a bacon weave delicious, but it also adds a cool look to the centerpiece dish that will wow your loved ones.
5.How long you’ll cook your tenderloin depends on how thick it is. For a grilled pork tenderloin with about 1.5” thickness, you should flip every 5 minutes for a total of 20 minutes. The internal temperature should be between 145 and 150 degrees F.
6.Let rest 5-10 minutes before serving. Serve with rosemary sprigs and cranberry sauce.
7.Intimidated by grilling pork tenderloin? Learn how to easily and properly grill pork here.
Other grilled pork recipes we love for the holidays are these prosciutto-wrapped pork medallions and these grilled pork medallions with plum sauce (dreams of sugar plum fairies come to mind).
Chicken Entrée: Gingerbread Glazed Chicken Thighs
Gingerbread is a classic holiday flavor, and these gingerbread chicken thighs bring that sentimental taste right to the dinner table. We particularly love grilled chicken thighs with this sticky gingerbread glaze because it creates a caramelized crust that’s both crispy and sweet.
- 12 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1/4 cup molasses
- 2 tbsp lime juice
- 1 1/2 tbsp ground ginger
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 1/4 tsp allspice (What is allspice?)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
1.In a medium bowl, whisk together molasses, lime juice, ginger, honey, and allspice. Brush half of the glaze on the chicken. Salt and pepper to taste as well. Let marinate in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, but no longer than 12 hours.
2.Preheat your grill to medium heat, about 350 degrees F. You’ll want to create a two-zone fire for direct and indirect cooking.
3.Start with the chicken thighs over the direct heat side for 2-3 minutes to turn the skin a golden brown color.
4.Then, move the chicken to the indirect heat side of the grill. Close the grill lid and cook until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees F. Because it has a bone-in, it can take longer to grill, even more than 20 minutes. Rely on your trusty meat thermometer, rather than the clock, to make sure your Kick Ash chicken is cooked all the way through.
5.Let grilled chicken thighs rest 5-10 minutes before serving. This entrée is sweet, so serve with savory sauces for a balanced palate.
Pro-tip: The easiest way to create a two-zone cook is with our Kick Ash Dividers. Slip them into your Kick Ash Basket, fill one side with charcoal, and you’re ready to go! No more trying to balance all the coal on one side; just snap it in, fill it up, and grill.
Fish Entrée: Grilled Garlic Lobster
Grilled lobster is one of those delicacies that rarely ever hits the table, but it’s such a scrumptious favorite when it does. It’s a light, yet filling, entrée option for the holidays! We love this recipe because it’s simple, but the rich flavors come together with perfection. If you’re really hungry, pair with the steak entrée from above for an indulgent surf and turf that everyone will love.
- 4 (7oz) lobster tails
- 1 stick butter, room temperature
- 2 tbsp chives
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 lemon, sliced
- Salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
1.Preheat your grill to medium heat, about 350 degrees F.
2.In a small bowl, mix together the butter, chives, minced garlic, and black pepper. Cover the herb butter with plastic wrap and set aside to let the flavors marinate.
3.Butterfly the lobster tails down the middle of the soft underside of the shell. Don’t cut all the way through, just enough to separate the tails. Brush the tails with olive oil and salt, to taste.
4.Grill the lobsters, cut side down, for about 5 minutes. The shells will be bright red when done.
5.Flip the tails and top with some of the herb butter. Grill for another 4 minutes, until lobster meat is an opaque white color.
6.Remove from the grill on a clean platter. Serve with herb butter, lemon wedges, and any other sauces and sides you like.
Veggies: Grilled Root Vegetables
Root vegetables are an easy, nutritious side dish that pair beautifully with traditional holiday main courses. This recipe uses fresh herbs (of your choosing) to pack a punch for your palate.
- 5 lbs root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, etc.)
- 8 oz shallots or red onions
- Fresh herbs of your choice (based on herbs used in your entrée), like rosemary, thyme, basil, and oregano
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp black pepper
Preheat your grill to medium-high heat, about 425 degrees F.
Wash, scrub, and peel the root vegetables. Chop them to the desired size, including the red onions. If using shallots, leave whole.
Start by boiling the vegetables to get them softer. Place the chopped vegetables in a saucepan with enough water to barely cover them. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for 5-7 minutes, so the vegetables are cooked but not soft or soggy.
Drain the vegetables of as much moisture as you can. Place them on a sheet of grill-safe aluminum foil. Sprinkle vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange the herbs on top as well. Either place the aluminum foil sheet directly on the grill or fold in the sides to create a “steamer” for the vegetables.
Grill for about 30 minutes, or until vegetables are a lovely golden brown. After 15 minutes, turn the vegetables to ensure they’re cooked through evenly.
Remove from the grill and serve hot. Sprinkle more herbs on top, like rosemary sprigs, for garnish.
Pro-tip: Use a cast iron pan to keep your food warm while other parts of the meal are grilling or cooking.
Holiday Grilling Recipes
Want more grilled holiday side dishes— like smoked scalloped potatoes? Check out our grilled holiday side dishes article for more delicious recipes for the season.
We hope you enjoy our holiday grilling recipe suggestions. Pick a few to try out a new tradition this year or make them all into a huge holiday feast! Whatever you do, don’t forget to make use of your Kick Ash Basket and Kick Ash Can so that you can spend less time cleaning in the cold and more time enjoying the holidays with your loved ones.