Zesty Grilled Spatchcock Chicken, roasted bacon & Brussels sprouts, skillet chocolate chip cookie
This complete meal was cooked up on the pellet grill at 375 degrees.

This post is sponsored by Kingsford and I used Kingsford Wood Pellets for cooking all of these recipes in this post.

Most folks who cook on the grill primarily use it for meats. While cooking meat on the grill is my jam, just know you can use your grill to cook other foods as well. In this post, I put together a whole meal you can cook on one grill at the same cooking temps throughout. We start with a zesty spatchcocked chicken, then bacon & Brussels sprouts, and then finish it off with a skillet chocolate chip cookie for dessert! I will break down the cooking for each dish separately and all recipe cards will be at the end of each section. Used Kingsford wood pellets for each of these recipes

Grilled Zesty Spatchcock Chicken

Zesty Grilled Spatchcock chicken coming off the grill.
This zesty grilled spatchcock chicken getting pulled off the grill when internal temp of white meat reaches 161 degrees (carryover temps take it to 165).

In the BBQ world, chicken doesn’t get as much love as it should. Don’t get me wrong, I do love me a good brisket and some pulled pork, but spatchcock chicken is a winner to cook because not only is it super flavorful, but it’s also cheap to buy and quicker to grill.

Before you cook the chicken, it is important to note that you will want to brine the bird overnight. I suggest you buy your chicken the day before and brine it before you go to bed. Brining helps bring more flavor to the bird and adds much needed moisture to the white meat parts. You can do either a wet or dry brine, but for this recipe I’m using a wet brine. Simply get a food grade bucket (preferably five gallon size) and fill it with two gallons of water, one cup of kosher salt, one cup of sugar, a couple of tablespoons of Santa Maria seasoning, and a cut up lime. Stir these ingredients together and place the chicken in brine. Place bucket in fridge to keep cool for at least 18 hours. NOTE: you don’t have to spatchcock the chicken for the brine as this can be done afterward.

Pouring Kingsford wood pellets into the hopper of my pellet grill.
Pouring Kingsford wood pellets into the hopper of my pellet grill. Note that I used the Classic blend (hickory, oak, and cherry).

When it’s time to cook your grilled zesty spatchock chicken, make sure you have begun to preheat your pellet grill to 375 degrees on indirect heat using Kingsford Wood Pellets (I used the Classic blend of hickory, oak, and cherry). Also, take the bird out of the bucket and rinse it off. This way, the bird doesn’t taste too salty. Once done, place on a large cutting board.

To spatchcock, the bird, get a sharp pair of kitchen scissors or a sharp chef’s knife. Either way, make sure you use a sturdy, sharp blade. turn the chicken on it’s front and press down hard on the spine. Doing this will help break bones in the back of the chicken and make it easier to cut. Then take your scissors (or knife) and cut along one side of the spine from bottom to top. Repeat on the other side of the spine. Once this is done, turn the bird back over and make sure the legs fold inward (they will be much looser since disconnected from the spine).

Prepping the zesty grilled spatchcock chicken by applying some zesty Italian dressing.
After rinsing off the brine, spatchcock the chicken and apply some zesty Italian dressing along with some Santa Maria seasoning.

With the bird spatchcocked, it’s time to make it zesty! Get a bottle of zesty Italian dressing and pour over the chicken, enough to cover the whole bird. the zesty Italian dressing is runny so you shouldn’t have to use a ton. Spread with either your hand or with a basting brush. Then bust out the seasoning and put on a moderate amount. I like to use Santa Maria seasoning, but feel free to personalize this recipe and use whichever seasoning or rub floats your boat.

Now that the bird is spatchcocked and seasoned, it’s time to place on the grill. Make sure to place the chicken on one side of the grill with enough space to add the pan (or skillet) of bacon & Brussels sprouts (we’ll get to the side dish very soon). Cook the chicken until internal temp at center of the thickest part of the chicken breast reaches 161 degrees. This could take just over an hour. I like to spritz the bird once or twice with a 50/50 mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar.

Applying some Italian dressing to the spatchcock chicken while on the grill.
Apply another round of zesty Italian dressing to the spatchcock chicken with about 30 minutes to go.

With about 20-30 minutes left in the cook, I like to apply another round of zesty Italian dressing to the spatchcock chicken to help the flavor cook in. When bird reaches 161 degrees in the white meat portion, remove the spatchcock chicken from the grill and place on a cutting board to rest for about 15 minutes prior to slicing. This is done to help the moisture build up inside for maximum juicy flavor. Also, the meat will get a few degrees hotter due to carryover temps and will reach the desired 165 degrees the USDA recommends for poultry.

Yield: 6 servings

Zesty Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

Zesty Grilled Spatchcock Chicken

Cooking a whole chicken on the grill and getting great flavor is simple to achieve with this recipe! Brine overnight, season with zesty Italian dressing and Santa Maria seasoning and you'll have one tasty bird to feast on!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes


  • 2 gallons water
  • 1 Cup kosher salt
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Santa Maria seasoning
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 1 whole chicken (around 5 lbs)
  • 1/2 Cup zesty Italian dressing
  • 2 Tablespoons Santa Maria seasoning


  1. Brine whole chicken by combining water, kosher salt, sugar, seasoning, and lime in a large food-grade bucket. Place chicken in brine and place in fridge overnight.
  2. Once brining is done, remove chicken from brine and rinse. Preheat grill to 375 degrees over indirect heat. Spatchcock chicken by removing spine from the back. Flip chicken over and apply zesty Italian dressing and Santa Maria seasoning. Place on grill. Spritz occasionally with mixture of apple juice and apple cider vinegar. Apply zesty Italian dressing with about an hour in. Cook until internal temp in thickest part of white meat reaches 161 degrees (carryover temp will get bird up to 165). Rest 15 minutes before carving.


1. This can be cooked on a pellet grill, regular grill with indirect heat, or even the oven. For best results, cook on grill to get wood smoke-infused flavor.

2. If you don't have Santa Maria seasoning, then your favorite seasoning or rub for chicken will work just fine.

3. You can spatchcock chicken either before or after the brine.

Nutrition Information:


6 servings

Serving Size:

6 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 374Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 160mgSodium: 320mgCarbohydrates: 0.1gFiber: 0gProtein: 40g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Roasted Bacon & Brussels Sprouts

Roasted bacon & Brussels sprouts finishing up on the grill.
If you didn’t like Brussels sprouts before, this recipe just might change your perspective!

Folks seem to have a love – hate relationship with Brussels sprouts. I used to despise them for a long time, but that was before I learned how to cook them right. When Brussels sprouts are cooked properly, they will change the way you perceive the green vegetable. Adding bacon sure helps, too!

The key to eating a tasty dish of bacon & Brussels sprouts is to roast them. This can easily be done on your grill when cooked in a pan or baking sheet. To prep the Brussels sprouts, take one pound of them and peel off the outer leaves and discard. Rinse off the Brussels sprouts and pat dry. Then cut the sprouts in half with a knife and place in a bowl. Also put any extra leaves that fall off in the bowl, too (they get crunchy roasted easily and taste good). In the bowl, drizzle olive oil, a quarter of a freshly squeezed lime, kosher salt, and minced garlic. Mix together. I like to use a smaller baking sheet that fits one pound of cut up Brussels sprouts perfectly. Before placing sprouts on baking sheet, drizzle some olive oil on there so they don’t stick. Now put the sprouts on there in one even layer. Cut up four strips of thick cut bacon in 1/2 inch squares or 1×1/2 rectangles (like I did). spread evenly over the baking sheet, preferably on the surface of the sheet where space between Brussels sprouts can be found.

Bacon & Brussels sprouts ready to hit the grill.
Bacon & Brussels sprouts ready for roasting on the grill.

Place the sheet of bacon & Brussels sprouts on the grill next to the zesty Italian spatchcock chicken and cook for 20-25 minutes, flipping sprouts over once during the cook. Keep the grill temp at 375 degrees. Do this to get more of that roasted texture on both sides. That extra crust will add to the experience. If the roasted bacon & Brussels sprouts are finished before the chicken is ready, then cover baking sheet with aluminum foil and keep warm in your oven. No one wants cold, soggy, Brussels sprouts. I’m certain you will love the flavor of this side dish and you’ll want to roast your Brussels sprouts from now on!

Yield: 6 servings

Roasted Bacon & Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Bacon & Brussels Sprouts

Roasted Brussels sprouts are a great way to eat this vegetable. But add bacon and garlic to them and you've got a side dish worth diving into! NOTE: this recipe can be cooked on either the grill or oven.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes


  • 1 lbs Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 4 strips thick cut bacon, cut into 1x1/2 inch rectangles
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice


1. Preheat grill to 375 degrees over indirect heat. Prep Brussels sprouts by removing outer leaves and slice sprouts in half. Combine in a bowl with olive oil, garlic, lime juice, and kosher salt. Mix and place on a greased 9x12 baking pan. Place cut up bacon slices on pan mixed with Brussels sprouts.

2. Place on grill and cook for 25 minutes, turning sprouts over halfway through to get roasted flavor on both sides. Remove when done and serve.


1. Feel free to substitute cast iron skillet for baking sheet.

2. Keep excess leaves from Brussels sprouts in mix and cook. They make for nice little crunchy pieces to snack on.

Nutrition Information:


6 servings

Serving Size:

3 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 75Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 250mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 3gProtein: 7g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Skillet Chocolate Chip Cookie

Skillet chocolate chip cookie fresh off the grill and topped with the essentials.
Skillet chocolate chip cookie fresh off the grill and topped with the essentials.

What better way to top off an epic grilled meal than with a giant chocolate chip cookie you cooked on the grill? This one is fun to make. You simply need a medium or large-sized cast iron skillet and a chocolate chip cookie recipe. For this skillet chocolate chip cookie, I start by combining a stick of room temperature butter, a half cup of sugar, and a one-fourth cup of brown sugar and mix in a bowl (I like to use my stand mixer for this). Then I crack an egg and pour it in along with a teaspoon of vanilla (I prefer Mexican vanilla because I like the subtle difference in flavor) and mix some more. After that is done, I drop in 1 1/4 Cup of flour, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and mix. Then I pour in half a bag of chocolate chips (about two cups) and mix some more.

Chocolate chip cookie dough pressed evenly into the skillet and ready to hit the grill.
Chocolate chip cookie dough pressed evenly into the skillet and ready to hit the grill.

Now that the cookie dough is ready, I take a cast iron skillet that is roughly 10 inches in size and rub in a light layer of vegetable oil. Next, I put enough cookie dough in to create an even layer along the bottom of the inside of the skillet. You will most likely have some excess cookie dough. Just consider that bonus cookies. Since your pellet grill is likely still on and those Kingsford wood pellets are keeping that aroma going, place the skillet on the grill and cook for about 10 minutes or until you see the edges show the very first signs of browning. It may seem a little early to pull out but remember that cast iron skillets hold heat for a long time and that will keep the cookie cooking for a little bit after it’s been pulled out.

To serve, you can either grab a plastic spatula and carefully scrape out of the skillet and eat it that way (whether you slice it into pizza-like slices or eat whole is up to you) or eat it right out of the pan. For me, I like to keep the skillet chocolate chip cookie in the pan and top it with vanilla ice cream and drizzle caramel and chocolate syrups on top. You can grab a few spoons and share with your family and friends or just take one spoon and keep it to yourself (once again, up to you. I won’t judge).

Yield: 6 servings

Skillet Grilled Chocolate Chip Cookie

Skillet chocolate chip cookie fresh off the grill and topped with the essentials.

Take your chocolate chip cookie to the next level by cooking the cookie dough in a cast iron skillet on your grill with a touch of hickory smoke! And topping with ice cream when done! Note: can be done in either grill (indirect heat) or oven.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes


  • 1/2 Cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup sugar
  • 1/4 Cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 Cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Cups chocolate chips
  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • chocolate syrup, to taste
  • caramel syrup, to taste


  1. Preheat grill to 375 degrees on indirect heat. In a mixing bowl, place butter, sugar, and brown sugar and mix. Then add vanilla and egg. Mix. Finally, add flour, baking soda, salt and mix. Finally, add chocolate chips and mix until evenly distributed.
  2. Press cookie dough evenly into medium-to-large greased cast iron skillet and put on grill. Cook for 10 minutes or until edges start to get light brown. Remove and rest five minutes before topping with ice cream and syrups (chocolate and caramel).


1. This recipe is designed for cooking indirect heat on a grill, but can be done in an oven.

2. Cast iron skillet with hold heat for a while, so remove cookie when edges are light brown because cookie will continue to cook for a little longer.

Nutrition Information:


6 servings

Serving Size:

8 oz

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 590Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 400mgCarbohydrates: 80gFiber: 2.5gSugar: 40gProtein: 10g

Nutrition information isn’t always accurate.

Bacon-wrapped Pineapple with Pulled Pork

Pineapple gets an upgrade.
Pineapple gets an upgrade.

When browsing Instagram, I like to find things that inspire me. I usually repost them on my account (@learningtosmoke) and sometimes I end up trying them myself. I found a magical fusion of sweet and savory, reposted it, and then made it myself. These bacon-wrapped pineapple chunks with pulled pork were worth a try in my mind. Here’s what I did:



1 pineapple, cut into chunks

12 slices of bacon, halved

4 oz. pulled pork (usually from leftovers…when that actually happens)

1/2 cup brown sugar

Rub, as much as you wish

Maple syrup, enough to drizzle at the end

Wood: apple

Smoker Temp.: 240°F

Time: 75 minutes, grill/broil afterward to crisp the bacon

Pineapple. Pulled pork. Bacon. Come together...right now...
Pineapple. Pulled pork. Bacon. Come together…right now…

When looking for a pineapple, there are various ways to find a ripe one. I like to lightly tug at one of the leaves on the crown on top. If the leaf pulls with little resistance, then buy it because that bad boy is ripe! Other methods, such as smelling a sweet scent on the bottom or some yellow coloring on the skin, are good indicators.

When slicing the pineapple, start by cutting off the crown and the bottom. Next, slice the rough, outer skin off because ain’t nobody got time for eating that. Once that is done, you are ready to slice off some pineapple chunks. I start at the top and cut down in an X-formation, making four quarter portions. I get rid of the core by carving it off the inside of each portion. Now I put the freshly carved side down and make two evenly-spaced slices long ways and then start cutting them horizontally, cubed into chunks. Once I got my chunks made, I sprinkle brown sugar on them to sweeten it up and let it sit so it can blend with the juices from the pineapple. Now that I’ve made you read all of this, here’s a video on what I’m trying to describe… and more: How to choose and slice a pineapple.

Next is the bacon. I used regular-sliced bacon because I think it wraps better. I apply rub to the individual slices and then cut them in half, slicing across the grain.

Rubbed and sliced...well, some of it at least.
Rubbed and sliced…well, some of it at least.

Once that is done, it’s time to take some of your leftover pulled pork and a pineapple chunk and wrap them in the bacon. You will want to wrap it a little tight so the pulled pork doesn’t come loose and fall out. I put them on a skewer, three at a time. You can also use toothpicks to keep them together if you wish.

Wrapping and stabbing.
Wrapping and stabbing.

Hopefully, you thought ahead and got your smoker ramping up to the proper heat temp. I used apple wood with this one, but feel free to use whichever wood you like with pork (personally, I want to try pecan wood next). Now that the smoker is up to 240-250°F, put the food on. You’ll want to keep them on for about an hour to let them absorb the smoke-flavored goodness.

Pineapple gets an upgrade.
This picture looks familiar…

Once that is done, remove from smoker and put them on high heat for a few minutes to crisp the bacon. You can do this on the grill, in the broiler, or on the stove in a pan. However you cook those strips of meat candy should work. When the bacon looks good enough for you, then it’s time to pull them off, drizzle the maple syrup, and enjoy!

Sweet. Savory. Juicy.
Sweet. Savory. Juicy.

Give them a shot and met me know what you think!

Garlic Gouda Bacon Burgers

The Gouda garlic bacon burger.
The Gouda garlic bacon burger.

Sometimes inspiration comes from desperation. I was browsing Instagram the other day and came across a post from Susie Bulloch (@heygrillhey) in which she was making garlic butter burgers (recipe on her website). I wanted them. Badly. I had the hamburger meat, so I was halfway there. However, I was stuck at home and we were out of garlic butter at my house. When in a pinch, the chef-minded folks would whip up some minced garlic with butter and make their own, but that bright idea didn’t cross my mind until I started typing this just now I decided to go a different route. We had some leftover Gouda in the fridge from when my family and I got creative on National Grilled Cheese Day. Speaking of which, who makes up all of these “National (fill-in-the-blank) Day” events? And why do I only hear about them the day of? Anyway, we also had bacon in the fridge (obviously) and garlic, so I thought I’d try something different and mix all of these ingredients together in a burger…and then smoke it! Not only had I never tried this food concoction before, but I had yet to smoke burgers. YOLO, I guess.


1 lb. ground beef 80/20

2 oz. smoked Gouda, sliced into tiny squares

1 clove garlic, minced

1 strip bacon, uncooked and chopped into tiny squares

1 tsp. Worcestershire Sauce

Montreal Steak seasoning to taste

Wood: cherry

Smoke Temperature: 250°F

Time: 75-90 minutes

Finish Temp.: 145°F or whichever level of doneness you prefer

Rest: 5-10 minutes

I like to buy the 80/20 ground beef because it has more of the fatty goodness and more fat equals more natural flavor. It’s also cheaper than the other ground beefs with less fat. With that said, use whichever beef you like.

First, I take the beef and put it on a cutting board. I’ve also mixed ingredients with hamburger meat in a mixing bowl, which might have been better to trap all of the ingredients.

Second, I take all of the other ingredients, minus the seasoning, and mix them altogether.

Third, I separate into 1/4 lb. patties. You are at liberty to make these as big or small as you like. When forming the patties, I like to make sure some bacon pieces are on the surface so they get a little sizzle when I sear afterward. It also looks kinda cool.

Now that the patties have been formed, I sprinkle Montreal Steak seasoning on both sides. Once again, feel free to use whichever seasoning you wish.

The patties have been prepped and await their trip to the smoker.
The patties have been prepped and await their trip to the smoker.

Before mixing the ingredients, you may want to get your smoker going to reach the internal temperature of 250°F. That way, you don’t have to sit around and wait longer for your burgers to go in. I used cherry wood this time because I wanted that hint of smoky, fruity flavor in it. Once your smoker has reached the right temperature, put the burgers on. Now you will wait about 75 minutes, which is an hour and 15 minutes for those keeping track at home. I want my burgers to reach an internal temperature of around 130 degrees when I pull them off because I want to make sure that they don’t overcook past the level of doneness that I like my meat done. Some of the burgers needed a little longer, so that’s why I put between 75-90 minutes in the recipe.

Oh look, I even smoked some bacon-wrapped corn! (I'll get to that another time)
Oh look, I even smoked some bacon-wrapped corn! (I’ll get to that another time)

When I sear on that high heat, I try not to spend too much time on each side as to burn the meat on the outside. I do want some nice-looking grill marks, but I also want to make sure that it doesn’t get overcooked inside. That’s why I use a digital thermometer to keep track of the temp.

Once done, I let them rest a little before serving. I do this because I want juices to sweat out a little bit and make the burger that much juicier when they touch the taste buds.

Burgers resting at 145°F internal temp.
Burgers resting at 145°F internal temp.

If you want your burger even cheesier, go ahead and slice some gouda and put on top and let it melt a little. I definitely recommend doing this.

Fact: burgers with cheese inside them are better with more cheese on top of them.
Fact: burgers with cheese inside them are better with more cheese on top of them.

I had some family visiting from out of state when I made these and I gave them a burger for the road.  My sister-in-law (who was one of the visitors) texted me later that night and told me it was no fair she doesn’t live closer because this was the best burger she’s had! I love the compliments like that. Is this the best burger you’ll ever have? That’s for you to decide. I hope it is at least worth it to you to make more than once. Now stop reading this post and go make your own!