Grilling Around the World - American Thanksgiving & Football

For most Americans, Thanksgiving is the holiday they look forward to all year round. With both delicious food and American football as part of many households’ Thanksgiving traditions, we’re right there with you!

This year, why not add a little twist to your “game plan” feast and create an American BBQ theme that fits perfectly with the American football vibe? In this blog, we will share some classic American barbecue recipes that you can easily prepare for your family and friends while you express gratitude and watch the games.


All About Thanksgiving and American Football


Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year in the United States. Thanksgiving originated as a celebration of the autumn harvest and has since evolved into an annual holiday that brings together family and friends, while enjoying a feast as stories of gratitude are shared around the table.

Thanksgiving also marks the peak of American football season. Since 1920, the NFL has always played matches on Thanksgiving Day, following the tradition of holding college football games around the Thanksgiving holiday season. Football has become synonymous with a lot of Americans’ Thanksgiving celebrations as they gather around to watch the games every year.

With this in mind, it’s only fitting to incorporate American BBQ dishes to capture the essence of tailgating at a sports event.


Traditional Thanksgiving Dishes Americans Love

Before we fire up the grill with our take on an American Thanksgiving menu, here are some common dishes served around the table at this time of year:

  • Turkey

  • Stuffing

  • Mashed Potatoes

  • Gravy

  • Roasted Vegetables

  • Cranberry Sauce

  • Pumpkin/Apple Pie


If you’re looking to up your game this year, then these classic American BBQ recipes have got you covered. Add a little game day twist with some of our favorite dishes:


Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip

Recipe Blog - Buffalo Chicken Dip - Serve1

We’re starting off the list with a game day classic that also makes a perfect Thanksgiving app! This Cheesy Buffalo Chicken Dip is spicy, creamy, and all-American—perfect for dipping potatoes of any form, meatballs, and chips! You won’t even miss kickoff as this appetizer only requires 20 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of cook time.


Autumn Baked Brie

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If you’re looking for an appetizer that’s slightly more elevated, this Autumn Baked Brie recipe is for you. Cheese lovers won’t be able to get enough of this baked brie, topped with apples, pecans, cranberries, and cinnamon. Easy to prepare in just minutes, this recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser this Thanksgiving. It’s so good, you shouldn’t wonder if it instantly disappears from the dinner table.



Plank Smoked Mashed Potatoes

grilled potatos

It wouldn’t be a traditional American Thanksgiving and football meal without mashed potatoes. Step it up this year by baking scoops of mashed potato on the grill with the help of a soaked wooden plank. Served with a rich gravy, this fun take on a classic mashed potato recipe will leave your potatoes warmed through and golden-crispy on the outside. Yum!


Maple Dijon Roasted Carrots


Made with garlic, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, miso paste, rice wine vinegar, and fresh thyme, these delicious Maple Dijon Roasted Carrots are a great side that will disappear quickly at your Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you go with regular carrots or brightly colored heirloom carrots, this side dish will perfectly round out your menu.


Garlic Mashed Turnips


Want to mix it up a bit this Thanksgiving? Why not switch out mashed potatoes with this delicious Garlic Mashed Turnips recipe? Both sweet and savory, you’re sure to win over even the pickiest of eaters with this Thanksgiving barbecue recipe—especially if they’re distracted by the game!


Plank Grilled Potato Skins

Morsels of yumminess

You deserve to snack on delicious food without having to turn your attention away from the American Thanksgiving football game! That’s why these Plank Grilled Potato Skins are the perfect bite-sized side dish (or appetizer) that allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds.

They’re much like Irish Nachos filled with all of the good stuff. Topped with Alabama White Barbecue Sauce, you and your guests are in for some tasty goodness you’ll want to repeat every Thanksgiving.


Main Dishes

Butter Injected Rotisserie Turkey


One thing is for sure: it’s not a proper American Thanksgiving meal without a turkey. This homemade “butterball” style turkey recipe promises that you too can have a perfectly succulent poultry dish. Serve this as your main course with some classic American Thanksgiving side dishes and you’re set for an unforgettable feast.


Charcoal Roasted Turkey

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If you would like more depth to the turkey’s flavor this Thanksgiving, add some wood chunks to the charcoal and smoke the turkey. Sweet woods such as maple, cherry, and apple are ideal for this dish. This Thanksgiving barbecue recipe entails a 20-minute prep time and about 180 minutes of cooking time, and the result is all worth it!


Smoked Jalapeño Popper Pork Roast Recipe

Recipe Blog - Jalapeno Popper Pork - serve2

If you love jalapeño poppers as an appetizer, why not satiate the craving with this Smoked Jalapeño Popper Pork Roast recipe? Enjoy the same delicious flavors without having to core and stuff all of the jalapenos. This is the perfect spicy dish that will complete your American Thanksgiving and football menu—appetizer and entrée in one!



Recipe for Rustic Barbecued Apple Cake

Recipe Blog - Rustic Apple Cake - serve2

Dessert on the barbecue!? You read that right. Nothing is better than the scent of apples and cinnamon on Thanksgiving day. Made with simple ingredients, this easy-to-make dessert can be thrown on the BBQ while you finish eating your main course. Don’t forget to serve it up with a side of vanilla ice cream to make it the perfect American Thanksgiving and game day dessert pairing!


Classic Shortbread Cookies

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Wondering how to take the spirit of American Thanksgiving and football to a whole new level? Then make these shortbread cookies your own by decorating them with your team's logo, mini footballs, or goalposts in icing.

Only four main ingredients and about 27 minutes are needed to make this Thanksgiving barbecue dessert recipe! You’ll never get enough of their warm, buttery flavor and sweet-salty combo that melts in the mouth.


Ready to Whip Up an American BBQ Feast for Thanksgiving?

Don’t throw a hail mary this Thanksgiving—remember that teamwork makes the dream work. Let Napoleon’s Prestige Series grills be your ultimate partner in creating superior barbecue dishes.

Do you have your own creative take on American BBQ recipes for Thanksgiving? Share it with us by tagging us on Instagram. We’d love to see what’s on your menu this year!