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Our Top 7 Ideas of What to Grill or Smoke This October

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October is a glorious time of year for lovers of live-fire cooking. Not only is it prime time for tailgating (at home), October is National Pork Month, National Pizza Month, and National Seafood Month! We even have a recipe for those of you who can’t get enough pumpkin spice.


7 Grilling and Smoking Ideas for October

1. Kurdish Pumpkin Dip

To your repertoire of dips, we recommend adding Kurdish Pumpkin Dip, a recipe Steven acquired from a grillmaster in Istanbul while researching his popular book, Planet Barbecue. Fresh pumpkin or other winter squash is grilled over wood, charcoal, or gas, then blended with walnuts, yogurt, and olive oil. Serve it with toasted pita wedges, attractive crackers, or vegetables. If desired, the pumpkin can be grilled the day before.

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2. Cold Smoked Cheese

Cheese fondue inside a pumpkin

With the arrival of cooler temperatures, this is also a great time of year to smoke cheese. (Learn how here.) Turn your smoked Swiss, Gruyere, or even Cheddar into fondue using your favorite recipe. Extra points if you serve it from a hollowed-out grilled pumpkin and garnish with toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds).

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3. Barbecue University Chili Verde

We had a hard time choosing our favorite pork recipe. Perhaps you could honor this popular and versatile protein by serving it several different ways during the month of October. Pulled pork sandwiches are a budget-friendly option to serve at this year’s Halloween bash with leftovers (what leftovers?) for nachos, omelets, burritos, etc. Craving something spicy? Our Barbecue University Chili Verde, which utilizes all your end-of-the-growing-season chiles and country-style pork ribs is perfect after a day of raking leaves.

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4. Cousin Dave’s Chocolate Chipotle Ribs

And speaking of pork ribs, we can never get enough of Cousin Dave’s Chocolate Chipotle Ribs, a triumph of Oaxacan mole-like flavors from Steven’s cousin, anthropologist David Raichlen.

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5. Bacon, Onion, And Potato Pizzas

Of course, pizza is also being celebrated during the month of October. And grilled pizza is a revelation. For a tutorial, click here. Once you get the hang of it, you can top your pie with your favorite combinations, or try something entirely new, like Steven’s Alsatian-inspired pizza with seasonally-appropriate bacon, potatoes, and caramelized onions.

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6. Planked Salmon With Maple-Mustard Glaze

Planked Salmon with Maple Mustard Glaze

As for seafood, you can’t go wrong with planked salmon. (It won’t stick to the grill grate when cooked this way.) Glazed with mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, dill, and maple syrup, it’s an easy recipe that’s as appropriate for a weeknight dinner as well as guests.

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7. Pumpkin Spice Beer Can Chicken

And now, about that pumpkin pie spice. Years ago, we sponsored a recipe contest that yielded a number of great entries. Among them was one by Louis Kiss, a special effects expert from Los Angeles, for an innovative version of beer can chicken that was rubbed with a mixture of pumpkin pie spice, paprika, and other ingredients, and roasted over a can of pumpkin ale. We found the recipe in our archives and are reprinting it here.

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