Thanksgiving Dinner Southern Style – Pies

Chris Lilly of world famous Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, AL is talking turkey, well actually pies – grilled pies.  Chris is fresh off his appearance on Best in Smoke on the Food Network and winning Grand Champion at the 2011 Memphis in May but he was nice enough to chat with me about all things Thanksgiving Southern Style.  He was also nice enough to give me a couple of recipes for his amazing grilled pies and one for grilled turkey.  What a guy.  The recipes are below the Q&A.

Chris Lilly Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-QHow has your appearance on Best in Smoke effected your business?

I never realized how many people watched Food Network until I did the series Best in Smoke. This show was different because you not only had barbecue enthusiasts watching it but people who just love food in general. We could instantly see a spike in sales both at our restaurant and on our website. The good thing is that most were new customers who were trying Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q for the first time.

What are your memories of Thanksgiving growing up?

Most of my Thanksgiving memories are traditional.  Growing up in a large family meant an overflowing Thanksgiving dinner table with all of the traditional food such as; turkey, ham, dressing, cranberry salad, green beans, black eyed peas, cornbread, mashed potatoes and gravy.  It was a relaxing time with nothing on the agenda but food!

What is Thanksgiving like at the Lilly household today?

Thanksgiving today is a little more hectic.  With two kids in college and extended family spread out across Northern Alabama it takes a little holiday magic to get everyone together for the family dinner.  Sometimes I even have to eat two Thanksgiving meals in one day to make sure we get to all the family dinner parties!  Don’t feel sorry for me.

It seems that my charcoal grill is always hot around Thanksgiving, personally I like to fire up with Kingsford Charcoal. Now I’m the default turkey and ham cooker for the holiday. I always like to throw in an extra surprise for the meal like grilled cranberries to make a more flavorful sauce.

What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner?

Without a doubt my favorite part about Thanksgivings past and future is family. The chance to spend the day catching up around the charcoal grill in the backyard and the dinner table is something I look forward to the most. Thanksgiving is a happy time for my family and what better way to enjoy it than cooking and eating.

Do you have any new recipes that you are making this year?

Whenever I have free time during the year you will often find me in my backyard around the grill trying out new recipes. This year one of my favorite experiments turned out to be grilled pies. I wanted to take the traditional Southern fried pie and give it an extra punch of flavor by cooking it over charcoal. This is easier said than done because most homemade crusts are not grill grate ready! I’m happy to report that I’ve put together the perfect grilled crust recipe. Now I can satisfy my sweet tooth with grilled peach, apple, or caramel pecan pie. You can take it a step further and make grilled breakfast pies or something savory such as a grilled tomato pie.

 

Grilled Caramel Pecan Pie
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Courtesy of Chris Lilly from Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 6 mins
Total time: 51 mins
Serves: 8 pies
Take one of the South’s richest culinary traditions from the oven to the grill for more flavor. Pecans, caramel and filling are nestled in a half-moon pouch of dough and grilled directly over hot coals to form a crisp shell with a rich gooey center.
Ingredients
    Dough

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour for rolling out dough
    Pie

  • 8 store bought caramels cut in half
  • 1/2 cup pecan pieces
  • 1/4 cup dark corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon oil
Instructions
  1. Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes and refrigerate. Measure the water and refrigerate. In a small mixing bowl add flour and salt and mix well. Add in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Slowly add water, mixing continuously, until a dough ball is formed. Seal the dough ball in GLAD® ClingWrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Sprinkle countertop or cutting board generously with flour. Remove dough from the refrigerator and place onto the floured prep area, roll out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut the dough into 5- to 6-inch diameter circles. Removing extra dough from the prep area to reroll and make more pie shells. Immediately peal, lift and flip the dough circles making sure they don’t stick. Yield should be 8 pie shells.
  3. Preheat the grill using Kingsford® charcoal, until the internal temperature reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. Place 2 caramel halves and 1 tablespoon of pecans onto the center of each dough circle.
  5. Combine corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla extract and salt in a small saucepan over low heat. Mix until the ingredients are combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the egg once the mixture has cooled. Chill the filling for 15 minutes or until it has thickened slightly. Add 4 teaspoons of the cold filling mixture over the caramels and pecans onto the center of each dough circle.
  6. Lightly moisten the edges of the dough with water. Fold the dough in half creating a half moon with peach filling. Gently press the pie edges together and crimp them with a fork.
  7. Prep the charcoal grill grate by using a grill brush and to brush on a light coat of oil. Transfer the pies to the grill and cook over direct heat, uncovered, for 3 minutes on each side or until the dough turns a crispy golden brown. Remove from the grill and serve.
Notes

Recipe created by world champion pitmaster, Chris Lilly on behalf of Kingsford® charcoal.

Old-Fashioned Grilled Peach Pie
Recipe Type: Dessert
Author: Courtesy of Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q
Prep time: 45 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 8 pies
In the South, mouths drool whenever fried pies are mentioned. Traditionally they are fried in a pan with butter until crisp and brown. To heat things up, I have taken this traditional dessert to the backyard barbecue. By grilling the peaches prior to making the filling and then crisping the dough pocket over hot charcoal, you can make this Southern dessert a coal-fired masterpiece.
Ingredients
    Dough

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour for rolling out dough
    Sugar Rub

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/16 teaspoon nutmeg
    Pies

  • 2 pounds ripe peaches (3 large or 4 medium)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon oil
Instructions
  1. Cut butter into 1/2 inch cubes and refrigerate. Measure the water and refrigerate. In a small mixing bowl add flour and salt and mix well. Add in the cold butter until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Slowly add water, mixing continuously, until a dough ball is formed. Seal the dough ball in GLAD® ClingWrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  2. Sprinkle countertop or cutting board generously with flour. Remove dough from the refrigerator and place onto the floured prep area, roll out to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut the dough into 5- to 6-inch diameter circles. Removing extra dough from the prep area to re-roll and make more pie shells. Immediately peal, lift and flip the dough circles making sure they don’t stick. Yield should be 8 pie shells.
  3. Preheat the grill using Kingsford® charcoal, until the internal temperature reaches 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. In a small bowl add the sugar rub ingredients and mix well.
  5. Remove the pit from the peaches and cut each peach into 8 wedges and remove skin. Generously coat the peach wedges with the sugar rub mix. Immediately place the peaches on the grill grate for 2 minutes on each side, or until they caramelize. Remove the peaches from the grill and dice them into 1/2 inch pieces. Place the peaches and butter into a medium mixing bowl. When the butter melts, add the brown sugar and flour and mix well. Stir in orange juice.
  6. Place 2 heaping tablespoons of peach filling onto the center of each circle of dough. Lightly moisten the edges of the dough with water. Fold the dough in half creating a half moon with peach filling. Gently press the pie edges together and crimp them with a fork.
  7. Prep the charcoal grill grate by using a grill brush and to brush on a light coat of oil. Transfer the pies to the grill and cook over direct heat, uncovered, for 3 minutes on each side or until the dough turns a crispy golden brown. Remove from the grill and serve.
Notes

Recipe created by world champion pitmaster, Chris Lilly on behalf of Kingsford® charcoal.

Charcoal-Grilled Turkey with Fresh Herb Butter
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Courtesy of Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 3 hours 45 mins
Total time: 4 hours 5 mins
Serves: 10
Recipe created by champion pitmaster, Chris Lilly, on behalf of Kingsford® charcoal.
Ingredients
    Bird

  • 1 whole turkey (12 pounds)
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Coarse ground black pepper
    Fresh Herb Butter

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • cup chopped Italian parsley
  • cup chopped green onion tops
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1½ teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
    Gravy

  • 2 cups turkey stock (as directed)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
Instructions
  1. Place the whole turkey breast side down on a cutting board. Remove the neck and giblets and set aside to make the turkey stock. With a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen shears, cut the turkey down each side of the backbone, removing it completely. Open the turkey and press it flat on the cutting board. Using a sharp knife, loosen the breast bone from between the turkey breasts and remove it with your fingers. This will enable the turkey to open completely flat. Apply a light coat of olive oil to the turkey skin and liberally season the skin with kosher salt and black pepper.
  2. Build a charcoal fire for direct grilling. The heat over the coals should be hot, (approximately 450 to 500 degrees F).
  3. Melt the butter in a medium sauce pan. Add the remaining fresh herb butter ingredients, mix well, and keep warm until needed.
  4. To make turkey stock, add 3½ cups water, 1 ¾ teaspoons salt, turkey neck and giblets to a medium sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 1½ hours.
  5. Place the butterflied turkey directly over the coals, skin side down, and baste with the fresh herb butter. Grill the turkey for 5 to 7 minutes or until the skin starts to turn golden brown and begins to crisp. Transfer the turkey to a 10”x10” baking dish skin side up, place it back on the grill, and baste with fresh herb butter. Cover the grill and close the air dampers reducing the cooking temperature to 350 degrees F. Cook for 2½ hours basting every hour with the remaining fresh herb butter. The internal temperature of turkey thigh should reach 175 to 180 degrees F while the breast meat should reach 160 to 165 degrees F. Remove the turkey from the grill, cover it with foil, and let it rest for 15 minutes prior to carving.
  6. To make the gravy, scrape all of the drippings and liquid from the bottom of the roasting pan into a small bowl. Skim the grease from the top of the liquid. Pour the seasoned liquid, about ¾ cup, into a small sauce pan. In a small bowl, whisk the two tablespoons water with the cornstarch until smooth. Add the cornstarch slurry and two cups of the pre-made turkey broth to the sauce pan and heat. Serve drizzled over the turkey or on the side as table gravy.

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Stuart in 80 Words or Less
Stuart is a celebrity chef, food activist and award-winning food writer. He penned the cookbooks Third Coast Cuisine: Recipes of the Gulf of Mexico, No Sides Needed: 34 Recipes To Simplify Life and Amigeauxs - Mexican/Creole Fusion Cuisine. He hosts two Internet cooking shows "Everyday Gourmet" and "Little Grill Big Flavor." His recipes have been featured in Current, Lagniappe, Southern Tailgater, The Kitchen Hotline and on the Cooking Channel.

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2015 1st Place Luck of the Irish Cook-off
2015 4th Place Downtown Cajun Cook-off
2015 2nd Place Fins' Wings & Chili Cook-off
2014 2015 4th Place LA Gumbo Cook-off
2012 Taste Award nominee for best chef (web)
2012 Finalist in the Safeway Next Chef Contest
2011 Taste Award Nominee for Little Grill Big Flavor
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2011 Judge: Dauphin Island Wing Cook-off
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