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Thanksgiving on the Traeger

November 07, 2022

Thanksgiving on the Traeger

Fire up the Traeger; it’s time to make a Thanksgiving meal, BBQ-style. Every dish on this menu was cooked on the pit, from the turkey to the pie. We’re serving up Cajun Smoked Turkey Breast, Maple Butter Carrots, Green Bean Casserole, Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes, and Sweet Potato Pie. 

This mouth-watering menu comes together quickly and tastes fabulous. Let me take the guesswork out of planning Thanksgiving..at least for one year. Who knows, BBQ Thanksgiving may become a family tradition! 

Cooking on the Traeger has never been better. This decadent meal contains everything you need to have one fantastic holiday. Friends and family will talk about this dinner for years to come. 

As always, I jazzed up a typical meal with some stellar seasonings and rubs. They’re the cherry on top of a fabulous menu. 

The Ingredients

My Thanksgiving menu contains five delicious dishes, each with its own set of unique components. Here’s what each element includes. 

  • Cajun Smoked Turkey Breasts. For the star of the show, I used boneless turkey breasts that I got from The Butcher Shoppe in Pensacola. Mayonnaise, Heath Riles BBQ Cajun Creole Garlic Butter Rub, Heath Riles BBQ Simple Citrus Rub, and Heath Riles BBQ Chicken Injection & Brine added Louisiana flavor. 
  • Maple Butter Carrots. I used beautiful long-stemmed carrots and smothered them with a glaze made from Heath Riles BBQ Honey Rub, butter, and maple syrup. 
  • Green Bean Casserole. This side dish includes all your basic casserole ingredients like green beans, cream of mushroom soup, milk, cheese, and fried onions. I added a twist by seasoning with my Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Butter Rub and Heath Riles BBQ Everyday Rub
  • Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes. Forget boxed mashed potatoes; homemade is where the flavors are at. I used buttery golden potatoes and added butter, milk, and freshly grated smoked Gouda cheese, with the additions of my Heath Riles BBQ Garlic Butter Rub and Heath Riles BBQ Everyday Rub
  • Sweet Potato Pie. I kept my dessert simple by using pre-made pie crusts. I filled the crust with sweet potatoes, butter, sugar, eggs, evaporated milk, and a hint of vanilla extract. 
  • The Smoker Setup

    Here’s the primary equipment I used to make this meal. You can find more of my grilling must-haves in the equipment and tools section. 

  • Pellet Grills/Smokers. This is an extensive menu that uses two different pits. The first pit I cooked on is the Traeger Timberline 1300. This is an excellent setup with plenty of room for smoking large cuts of meat. To cook the pie, I used the Traeger Ironwood 885. I love this pit because it has so many bells and whistles. An app, super smoke button, room to prep your food..this grill has it all. 
  • Pellets. I used cherry pellets to give my turkey, carrots, casserole, and potatoes a hint of fruity goodness. My Sweet Potato pie called for a nutty note, so I stoked my Ironwood with pecan pellets. 
  • The Process for Making Thanksgiving on the Traeger

    You can find a detailed demonstration of these recipes in the recipe card and video at the bottom of the post. Here’s a brief overview of how I  pulled this dinner together. 

    Simple Cajun Smoked Turkey Breasts

  • Prep the Traeger. I stoked the Traeger Timberline with cherry pellets and got it up to about 300℉. 
  • Trim and inject. I cut the fat off the top of each breast to get my turkey started. Then, I mixed 16 ounces of water with ¼ cup of Chicken Injection & Brine. I injected each piece of meat with about 8 ounces of injection.
  • Season. I drizzled mayo on my turkey breasts as a binder and added a layer of my Cajun Creole Garlic Butter Rub, followed by a layer of Simple Citrus Rub. I flipped the breasts over and repeated the process.
  • Cook. I put the turkey on the Traeger while I made my side dishes. For reference, I took the turkey off when it reached 160ºF-165ºF internally. 
  • Maple Butter Carrots

  • Brush and season. The carrots need to go on at the same time as the turkey. I brushed the produce with a little olive oil and seasoned it with my Honey Rub.
  • Start cooking. I put the carrots straight on the Traeger for about 1 hour and 20 minutes to soften them. 
  • Glaze and finish. To make my glaze, I mixed ½ cup maple syrup with 1 stick of melted butter and a dash of honey rub. I poured the glaze over the carrots and brushed it into the crevices. I put the carrots back on the grill to let the glaze set. 
  • Sweet Potato Pie

  • Fire up the Ironwood. I wanted my pie to have plenty of time to cool, so I made that next. I added pecan pellets to the Traeger Ironwood and fired it up to 325ºF. 
  • Mix the filling. To make my sweet potato pie filling, I mixed sweet potatoes, melted butter, eggs, sugar, evaporated mix, and vanilla extract until smooth. 
  • Pour and bake. I divided my filling between two 9-inch deep pie crusts and put it on the top rack of the grill. The pies cooked for about 45 minutes. 
  •  Green Bean Casserole

  • Mix and season. To make this classic casserole, I combined the soup and milk until smooth. Then, I added a dash of Garlic Butter Rub and Everyday Rub
  • Add green beans. I drained my green beans, poured them into the soup mixture, and then sprinkled on cheddar cheese. I stirred in about a cup of fried onions to finish the casserole base. 
  • Pour and top. I sprayed my cast iron pan with cooking oil to prevent any sticking. Then, I poured my casserole base into the pan and topped it with more Everyday Rub and the remaining french-fried onions. 
  • Bake. I put the casserole on the Traeger with the turkey breast and cooked it until bubbly. 
  • Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes

  • Boil and drain. I boiled my potatoes until tender and drained them. You can discard the skin at this point, but I prefer to keep mine on. 
  • Mash the potatoes. I cut my potatoes into chunks and put them in a bowl with 2 sticks of softened butter. I mashed the potatoes until smooth. 
  • Add seasoning and cheese. When I  mashed the potatoes, I seasoned them with Garlic Butter Rub and Everyday Rub. I added my smoked cheese and milk, then stirred to combine. 
  • Top and bake. I poured the potatoes into a greased cast iron pan and topped them with cheese, another sprinkle of my rubs, and parsley. I cooked the mashed potatoes on the Traeger Timberline until the cheese was gooey. 
  • The Results

    Thanksgiving dinner was cooked in about 3 ½ hours. You can’t beat that! Using two grills kept things efficient and simple. The result was a great menu with a similar flavor profile. Each dish complemented the other, and was top-notch. 

    There’s no need to cater Thanksgiving dinner when grilling it is this easy. 

    Storing Thanksgiving on the Traeger Leftovers

    If you find yourself with leftovers, you can save them for another meal. The turkey breast will last about 3-4 days in the fridge, longer in the freezer. Our glazed carrots will last 3-5 days in the fridge; I don’t recommend freezing them as the texture can be off when they thaw. 

    The mashed potatoes and green bean casserole will last 3–5 days in the fridge and up to 10 months in the freezer. Remember that your thawed dish may be different from the original, but it should still have the same great flavor. You can keep the sweet potato pie in the fridge for up to 4 days or freeze it for a month. 

    Equipment and Tools

    Traeger Timberline 1300, Traeger Ironwood 885, cherry pellets, pecan pellets, roasting pan, Stone + Wood Cutting Boards, Lodge 8-inch cast iron skillet, Lodge Square Skillet, heavy-duty aluminum foil, 1 or 2 half-size deep aluminum pans, instant-read meat thermometer.

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