The holidays are a time for giving, gathering, and giving thanks. It’s also a time for families to share delicious meals that bring everyone together. While traditional oven-roasted turkey and spiral-cut ham are staples for many holiday feasts, many families find them to be overplayed, and perhaps even coming up short on flavor.
So why not try heating things up at your next holiday celebration by grilling up some of the following great meats for special occasions?
Porterhouse Steaks Are a Cut Above
Few things have an air of bold luxury bigger than a succulent Porterhouse steak. This is where a giant New York strip and a tenderloin filet meet at the T-bone.
Sourcing tender steaks with good marbling is essential. You also want to stay away from any steaks that have a large white L of fat marveling in the sirloin side. As this is a sign of toughness.
If you’ve got the budget for it, sourcing Wagyu, Kobe, or dry-aged Porterhouse steaks will take your family’s holiday feast to the next level.
Smoked Prime Rib Raises the Steaks
A prime rib roast comes from the same primal as ribeye steaks. It’s just bigger, bolder, and usually with better marbling. Sure you can roast it in the oven or even in a countertop turkey Roaster, but Prime rib takes on a whole new dimension of flavor when your sear and then smoke it.
A bone-in Prime rib roast might cost a little more, but it brings more flavor to the occasion. It also makes it easier to manipulate in the smoker, as well as gives you a handle for carving. Afterward, there’s more than enough left on the bone to let your family dog have a piece of the action.
Tenderloin Roast Petite Can Be Your Little Secret
If you look at a cryobagged beef tenderloin, you’ll see the traditional long narrow loin that’s usually cut into fillet mignon. Then there’s this sort of bulbous roast on the thick end.
The French call this the Roast Petite. With deft knife work, you can separate it from the rest of the tenderloin structure. Then carefully splay it out into a single, textured sheet of meat.
Lightly salt and sear the interior. Then cover it with sautéed onions, mushrooms, blue cheese, and black pepper before carefully rolling it up and trussing it into a solid roast again. If it looks like Spiderman captured a beef roast, you know you’re doing it right.
Then reverse-sear it on a grill or in a smoker. Rest for 10 minutes and cut into sloppy slices. There’s usually only enough meat for two or three people. So keep the roast petite on the down low for yourself while everyone else enjoys the fillet mignon.
A Regale Crown Rack of Lamb
Lamb is popular all over the world and Americans are just starting to catch on. Of all the cuts to consider for your holiday family feast, none are nobler than a crown rack.
This is essentially a collection of Lamb chops before being cut down. You trim a little around the bone and bend the whole thing back around on itself before trusting it into the iconic crown shape.
As a bonus, you can mound herbaceous stuffing into the middle to maximize the flavor. Lightly smoked in a roasting pan for around an hour and you’ll have a family feast everyone will be clamoring for, year after year.
Get a Leg Up with Lamb
Leg of Lamb is one of those less expensive cuts of something formerly sheep that can be elevated to a place of luxury. Ideally. You want to buy a bone-in Leg of Lamb. Then cut the bone out with one single incision. Trim as needed.
Then you can stuff the cavity with herbs and vegetables before rolling and trussing it with butcher’s twine. From there a slow and low trip to a Wood Pellet Grill or a grill Rotisserie will transform it into a holiday meal and conversation starter in one.
Roll On a Rotisserie Chicken
The Rotisserie Chicken you find at a lot of grocery store deli departments is good, but kind of generic. Especially when you can take that same inexpensive whole chicken to a smoky grill top Rotisserie to add stunning rich flavor.
This is also a great time to take a page from the French who popularized Rotisserie chicken. Place a heavy-duty aluminum roasting pan under the bird. Fill it with halved baby red potatoes, onions, and carrots. The pan catches the chicken drippings and the veggies slowly cook in the flavorful chicken juices. As a bonus, you’ll also have easier grill clean-up!
Delicious Duck on the Down Low
Duck has long been roasted in ovens for holiday feasts, and sometimes accidentally blackened due to high temperatures needed for other oven-worthy side dishes. Taking a whole Duck or duck breasts out to a smoker or a charcoal grill set for indirect heating lets you better control the cooking temperature, while also adding succulent smoky flavors.
The trick is to set the smoker to 225 to 250, then place the duck breast side down to help render the fat. If you’re working with a whole or spatchcocked duck you can flip it after 90 to 120 minutes.
If you’re working with duck breasts, you want to leave it skin side down. When it reaches within 7 to 10 degrees of your desired doneness temperature, sear off the skin over a direct flame to crisp and finish it. When you’re working with a whole duck you can save any leftover meat at the end of the meal to make duck poutine the next day.
Crack Open Some Beer Can Chicken
Beer can chicken is one of those things that took off fast in the world of popular grilled meats, then sort of simmered down. It’s not that people lost their enthusiasm, so much as it tended to be messy. It also tends to sit so tall that it can’t fit underneath all grill lids.
Modern culinary science has since stepped up to the plate to come up with some creative engineering accessories to stand-up beer can chicken on its own. Some of the best have a big wide base and a cylinder that serves as a blank canvas. Suddenly you’re not just forced to wedge a can of light beer inside a chicken. Now you can come up with your own flavorful liquid concoctions, like white wine, lemon shandies, or your own elegantly creative marinade.
Catch On to Smoked Salmon
There are a lot of different types of salmon to choose from depending on the season and where you live. Salmon lovers will argue ad infinitum about which type is best. Though most would agree that skin-on, wild-caught delivers the most flavor and firm salmon.
If you can’t find skin-on wild-caught Salmon, you can lay farm raised on soaked, food-grade cedar planks.
The trick to maximizing the smoky flavor and punching up the luxury is to apply a sea salt, herb, and light brown sugar rub 8 to 12 hours before smoking. This will draw water-soluble proteins to the surface of the meat, firm the filled for clean slices later, and also helps draw smoky flavors deeper into the salmon.
Then you want to slow smoke it at 215 to 225 degrees until it reaches an internal temperature of 135 to 145 degrees. If the smoke is too hot, you will see little white drops emerging from the meat. This is a sign that the Salmon is cooking too quickly and you need to back the smoker temperature off by 10 to 15 degrees.
Luxuriously Fast Grilled Lobster
There are few foods or even types of seafood that scream luxury louder than lobster. While most people think of lobster as being something that’s boiled or steamed, you can also grill it to perfection. You simply split a single lobster, dress it with garlic butter and parsley. Then set it on the grill for 3 to 5 minutes to create two portions.
Since your grill has as much if not more capacity than a typical home lobster pot, you can make more portions at the same time. To make sure everyone gets a hot lobster straight off the grill. Even if you are a little short on space across a smaller grill grate, they cook fast, so you can keep pumping them out for even the largest of gatherings.
Make a Good Bet with Oysters Casino
Oysters are another one of those luxury foods that a lot of people love. Though not everyone wants them raw on the holidays. That’s where a grilled version of oyster’s casino comes in perfectly. You can use it as an elevated appetizer, an elegant side dish, or even an entrée.
While there are traditionalists who will state a strict ingredient list, there’s nothing saying that you can’t come up with some other creative options for toppings. Especially if you have some guests that have favorite combinations of their own.
You can make them on a traditional charcoal or gas grill. An outdoor griddle also comes in handy for heating up special side toppings like roasted red peppers or keeping garlic butter perfectly melted. You can then lay out a big bounty of them to feed even the largest of crowds on your massive grill grates.