So you have decided to go against the grain and you want to do something a little different for the southern stalwart side dish of grandma’s dressing. No, not stuffing, this is the south, its never “stuffing” its dressing and it wouldn’t be the holidays without it. Grandma has her way that has been perfected over literally generations, but maybe you want to do something different. If that is the case then let me recommend this version that I came up with that you can do on your smoker / grill.
The thought process is simple. Most people (at least the grilling fans I know) are taking the classic Thanksgiving/holiday turkey and moving it outside and grilling it or smoking it. Some are still deep frying but between you and me I think that is a fad that is dying out a bit as people realize they can get just as good, if not better of a result with much, much less danger and effort by grilling their birds.
With that thought I wondered, “what would some dressing taste like with some light smoke on it?” and I thought I would give it a try. Low and behold it is a bonafide winner in my book. Since I was already tossing this classic dish on the smoker I also thought “why not throw some other stuff in it and see what happens.” With that my Smoked Dressing was born. So here is how I did it with a lot of pics and commentary along the way.
- 1lb Sage Breakfast Sausage
- 1 loaf French Bread cut into 1in cubes
- 1 each Red, Orange & Yellow Bell Pepper Diced
- 1 medium Onion Diced
- 16oz Fresh Mushrooms Sliced
- 3 stalks Celery Diced
- 2 Jalapenos Diced
- 3 boxes of Jiffy Corn Bread Mix
- 7 eggs
- 1c Milk
- 48oz Chicken Stock
- Dried Rosemary, Thyme and Sage
- Salt and Pepper
About a day or two before you need the dressing you can complete the following steps, they can be done the day of, but letting the flavors marry together and letting the bread stale a bit helps.
First cut your French Bread loaf into 1in chunks and set on the counter in a bowl to let them stale at least over night. You can toast them if you are rushed for time.
Next make your cornbread according to the directions on the box combining all three boxes into 1 batch of cornbread. Before you pour the mixture into your baking dish you are going to add 1.5tbs of of Thyme, Sage and Rosemary into the mixture and stir. Bake the cornbread as directed by the instructions and set aside to cool.
Now, in a large skillet cook your sausage until it is almost done and then add in all your chopped ingredients (celery, mushrooms, peppers, jalapenos and onions) and cooked them until soft. Remove this mixture from the heat and put in a sealable container and rest in the refrigerator.
The following day combine the french bread cubes and your cornbread. Mix this well until each are broken down. Now add in your meat and veggie mixture and stir to combine. Now add your chicken stock to this mixture and re-season this mixture tasting it to see if you want any more salt, pepper or herbs, now is the time to add them. Also if you like your dressing a little looser add more chicken stock or water to get it to the consistence you want.
Once you are happy with this, add 4 eggs and mix well and then add to your baking pan. This mixture will fill a 13×9 pan just about to the top.
Trim away any excess wax paper if you used any.
You can decorate the top with some fresh sage leafs if you wish. Be warned this may cause the dressing to be pretty strong with sage, so you may want to remove just befor serving.
Prepare your grill and get it up to 325 degrees. This can be done on a kamado cooker, pellet smoker, or just about any other type of grill. Just be sure you have even heat and you may want to wrap the top of the dish because the dressing may take on too much smoke. In this instance I used the Grilla Grills Kong and set it up more for heat and light smoke.
The Flameboss 200 Wifi was used for temperature control for this cook. It really does a great job of pit management.
Cook the dressing for about an hour. You can cook it more or less depending on the texture you are looking for. In this case I cooked this dressing until it was pretty firm and I liked the color.
If you love dressing…and who doesn’t give this twist on an old classic a try. It is a much meatier and chunkier version of grandma’s classic southern dressing. It is also very herbaceous, but you can dial that back if you want something a little less in your face. The addition of the jalapeno, the sage sausage and tri colored peppers make this a full meal in on pan and will complement any turkey, ham or is great just by itself.