Smoking for a Crowd

Backyard Smoked Food Party

So now that you feel comfortable with your smoking skills and are ready to take advantage of the warming weather it’s time for a backyard party with your smoker as the star! Here are a few tips to ensure a successful and, most importantly, stress-free party:

Start yesterday

Preparing some appetizers or finger food the night before will give you one less thing to do the day of the event and will give your guests (and yourself!) something to nibble on pre-dinner while you finalize the main dishes and everybody socializes with a drink. Some easy and delicious ideas are fresh salsas or dips with bread and crackers, a platter of smoked and non-smoked cheeses, antipasto style platters, etc. These are all things that can be prepared in advance and are safe to be left out for guests to help themselves to. Check out some of these Bradley Smoker appetizer recipes!

Mesquite Smoked Almonds

Smoked Bits and Bites

Smoked Cheddar Cheese

Grilled Salsa Verde

Timing is key

For dinner, I like to make sure that everything is ready at once, so planning out your cook times is key. I like to have one slow cooked entrée and one that cooks in less time (say 1-2 hours), that way if anything should be awry odds are one hot dish will be ready and the second can be served a bit later.

Because you will be busy basting, checking your watch, playing host and socializing try to keep your sides simple. Nothing wrong with a salad as a side dish, and it’s one less thing to keep your eye on. Or consider pre-grilling vegetables and then warming them up in the oven, smoker or grill before serving. Roasted potatoes or a good old fashioned potato salad make excellent, delicious and easy side dishes. Simple sides will help with your timing in the long run!

Be creative, not crazy

Be creative with your flavour combinations and wow your guests, but please…don’t go crazy. Never tried to make crème brulée in your smoker? Now is probably not the time to try that out. Never tried to make banana based BBQ sauce? Try that when you’re cooking for yourself, don’t make your friends your guinea pigs. Make things that you are confident in, recipes that you know you can make work and recipes that you know you can make work under pressure.

Variety is the spice of life 

When choosing what to make for dinner remember that not everyone loves spice or beef or smoked food for that matter. Consider how many guests you are having. If it’s a small party why not smoke everyone their own chicken breast or Cornish game hen, but if you’ve got 20 odd people coming at different times then maybe it’s best to do something like chicken wings or ribs. Choose one entrée that is simple, and isn’t smoked for too long such as:

Spiced Berbere Smoked Chicken Wings

Applewood Smoked Chicken Drumsticks

Maple Smoked Bacon-Wrapped Chicken

And choose another heartier smokier dish such as:

 Smoked Harissa and Tangerine Pork Tenderloin

Smoked Five-Spice Short Ribs

Rubbed Spare Ribs

Make sure that your overall menu includes something mild, something spicy, something smoky and something unsmoked. With some variety you can showcase your diverse skills and be sure to have something to please all guests.

Sweet tooth?

Nothing finishes off a great meal like a little something sweet! Make it easy and make it light! Here are some great dessert recipes to finish off your party:

Dark Chocolate Smoked Almond Bark

Smoky Vanilla Rice Pudding

Grilled Peaches with Bourbon-Spiced Whipped Cream