When fall arrives and the leaves turn, the temperatures drop, and we reach for our thick socks and favorite hoodies, we all get a hankering for food that sticks to the ribs and reminds us of home. In our (perhaps biased) opinion, BBQ is the most comforting (and delicious) cuisine out there, and there’s nothing more satisfying—to the body or to the soul—than smoke, spice, and sauce. Plus, with its hallmark blending of sweet, savory, and char, BBQ can warm you from backbone to fingertips.
Once sweater season sets in, we here in Head Country don’t mind tossing together the richest ingredients we can imagine—think robust sausage, pulled pork, cheese, butter, and bacon—to make a supper as big as our appetites. If summer is a time to eat light, this is the time of year to indulge in rich flavors, decadent dishes, and big eats.
1. Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese
We don’t have to question why this recipe for Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese is one of our most-popular recipes ever. With creamy melted cheese, smoky pulled pork, buttered bread crumbs, and a drizzle of BBQ sauce, this dish speaks for itself. Whip it up as a side dish, or serve it as the main attraction—either way, don’t count on leftovers.
2. Classic Oven BBQ Meatloaf, Homestyle
No list of comfort food is complete without meatloaf. This recipe for the classic adds our Marinade and your favorite flavor of our sauce for rich and robust flavor, for which a heaping scoop of mashed potatoes and roasted green beans are the perfect foil.
3. Creamy BBQ Potato Soup
Keep this potato soup simple with indoor cooking, or add flair and flavor with smoked toppings. Either way, get ready to cozy up with this warming, filling, creamy crowd-pleaser.
4. BBQ Short Rib Chipotle Fondue
We love to dip our dinner. This fondue set-up, which features the bold, deep flavors of short ribs and our Chipotle sauce, makes dinner fun, easy, and richly satisfying—without being overly filling. The hardest part? Stopping once you start.
5. Pulled Pork Baked Potato
This isn’t just another baked potato, with pulled pork, cheese, bacon, and BBQ sauce to add flavor and texture. Barbecue the pork and cook the potatoes on the grill for extra flavor (and adventure). Serve with extra toppings on the side.
6. Fire Station Skillet Barbecue
This recipe can be made using whatever sausage varieties you may have. Our version has been scaled to 6 hearty servings of our favorite combo. Plan on 1/3 pound of meat per person, with additional sides if scaling up or down.
7. Cheesy Chicken Pull-Apart Sliders
This twist on the classic BBQ sandwich is a treat for the kids, who love to watch the cheese stretch when they pull their servings from the baking dish. The garlic-herb butter takes this dish over the top. If you want to count on leftovers, make extra.
8. Fireside Chicken Tortilla Soup
The Tex-Mex classic that is Chicken Tortilla Soup gets a saucy makeover in this recipe, which stars homemade stock, smoky chipotle peppers, fresh-fried tortilla strips, and a drizzle of your favorite flavor of BBQ sauce. We topped our bowls with cheese, avocado, and squeezes of lime—we even tried (and loved) chicharrones sprinkled with our seasoning.
9. BBQ Chicken Cornbread Skillet
This casserole-in-a-skillet is packed with all your favorite comfort-food flavors, from cornbread to BBQ chicken to two kinds of melting, bubbling cheese. Top with plenty of sliced green onion, and serve with sweet tea.
10. BBQ Chicken Dip
Get ready for an epic cheese pull. This BBQ Chicken Dip bubbles with two kinds of cheese, chicken, and the smoky flavor of BBQ, making the game-day friendliness of this dish a no-brainer. The savory crust that forms on top while the flavors meld in the oven with have your guests vying for the edge pieces. Serve with a side of chips, crackers, or homemade flour tortillas.
11. Oven Baked Asian BBQ Salmon
In one of our most-popular recipes of all time, two pounds of salmon get infused with the flavors of Asian cuisine before a blazing-hot few minutes in the oven. What results is deep flavor with a hint of smoke, and a crisp crust of sweetness that holds it all in. Pairs deliciously with Japanese beer or a dry white wine.
12. Classic Smoked Meatloaf
We love this version of meatloaf—just like mom’s but, if you can believe it, better. Our Smoked Meatloaf is packed with tried-and-true ingredients such as onion-soup mix, Italian sausage, and a mix of red and green peppers. It’s all topped with a sticky layer of Head Country Hot & Spicy Bar-B-Q sauce. The bonus? Meatloaf Sliders. Check out our Marinated Meatloaf and our low-carb meatloaf recipes, too.
13. Pulled Pork Belly
Our recipe for Pulled Pork Belly is so rich, you can’t even look at the photo without feeling full. Something about pork belly just feels cozy and right during the fall. This recipe makes a reliable crowd-pleaser, and you can use any leftovers for this Pulled Pork Sandwich.
14. Old-Fashioned Southern-Style Pinto Beans
These classic pinto beans, cooked up in the southern style with smoked ham hock, are the very definition of comfort food. Best served with skillet cornbread, a fire pit, and quilts for maximum cozy. As it always seems with a good pot of beans, these are even better the next day.
15. Cast Iron Cornbread with Spicy Honey
This cornbread sizzles in pre-heated cast iron for a show-stopping, soul-satisfying side dish. Crust and crumb are sweetened with a hearty drizzle of honey mixed with a kick of our High Plains Heat Championship Seasoning. Add plenty of butter while still piping hot.
16. Sweet & Sticky Oven BBQ Ribs
This recipe for BBQ ribs, slowly braised in the oven in their own juices and then caramelized under the broiler, is an easy and fun way to feed a crowd. While the ribs tenderize in the low, slow heat of the oven, you’ll have the opportunity to rustle up plenty of napkins. You’ll need them. Did we mention that these ribs need just 10 minutes of prep time?
17. Smoked Breakfast Casserole with Sausage, Cheddar, and Ciabatta
This breakfast casserole comes bubbling out of your grill (or oven, if you prefer) with rich sausage, hearty eggs, and heartwarming ciabatta bread for a brunch dish that is smoky and satisfying.
18. Air-Fried Chicken
We love to play with our air fryer, and so does BBQ World Champion Doug Scheiding of Rogue Cookers. After some testing, trial, and error that could be called scientific as well as inspired, Doug offers this recipe for gluten-free, low-carb, air-fried chicken, starring the flavorful chicken thigh. Take the time to do the prep work Doug describes. It’s always worth it.
19. 3 Meat Chili
There’s just something about a bowl of chili that screams comfort. With three kinds of meat—ground beef, brisket, and sausage—this chili refuses to back down in the face of even the coldest winds or rainiest days. Be sure to serve with a smorgasbord of toppings.
20. Sweet & Sticky BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
Why are drumsticks so fun to eat? We’ve known it since we were kids. These drums are the excuse you’ve been looking for to sit at the kids’ table again, even if it’s just for one night, and chow down on a pile of these, paired with a scoop of creamy mac and cheese.
21. BBQ Breakfast Hash
Nothing tastes better with a steaming cup of coffee than a campfire breakfast. This recipe piles shredded potatoes, brisket, cheese, and veggies into foil packets, which can double as plates on fall camping trips. Bring plenty of eggs to add to the hash, and don’t forget to drizzle with your favorite flavor of BBQ sauce.
22. BBQ Ranch Chicken Bake
In just a few minutes and with just six lovable ingredients, dinner is bubbling in the oven. This recipe can easily be made in your slow cooker, too—simply put your ingredients in the cooker first thing in the morning and have dinner ready to go after work. This dish is perfect with a side of sweet corn, fresh green beans, or anything delicious from your garden.
23. Sweet & Sticky BBQ Chicken Steamed Buns
This recipe offers an Asian-inspired twist on the BBQ chicken sandwich—and looks beautiful on the plate. Pair with some broccoli slaw and some good company.
24. BBQ Meatloaf Sliders
Leftover meatloaf is one of our favorite foods, and we love it warmed gently in the oven and then topped with fried-onion strings, melted cheese, and BBQ sauce in these sliders. We linked our recipe for Classic Oven BBQ Meatloaf recipe here, and we pointed the way to our favorite recipe for fried onion strings, too.
Our favorite slow cooker and Instant Pot recipes for fall
We love how a slow-cooker or Instant Pot can have dinner ready when we walk through the door, ready to toss backpacks and jackets aside until the next morning and warm up by the fireplace. We have our slow cookers bubbling all season with spicy chilis, rich soups, and decadent stews, not to mention pulled meats like chicken and pork. We love how they allow us to make multiple meals at a time, too. A humble slow cooker can be a lifesaver when your schedule is packed with kids’ activities and holiday plans.
25. Marinated Classic Slow Cooker Pulled Pork
If you choose any pulled pork recipe to be your go-to for your slow cooker, let this one be it. Our Marinade sets of everything we all love about pulled pork—the salty/sweet flavor, the tenderness, the delicious bark that forms on the outside—and our Championship Seasoning takes the flavor all the way to the bone. Make it for your next get-together, or make it a weekend cook that you parse out through the week as sandwiches, tacos, and stolen bites from the fridge.
26. Slow Cooker BBQ Ribs
On the rare occasion that it’s just too cold to smoke or grill (a true rarity, in our opinion, but it does sometimes happen), this slow-cooker recipe for barbecue ribs is an easy way to feed a crowd with just 5 minutes of prep time and 8 servings. The juices from the ribs are combined with our BBQ sauce to make a baste/glaze that is deeply flavorful and satisfying on frigid nights.
27. Instant Pot BBQ Short Rib Tacos
With rich, cozy, comfort-food flavor with just five ingredients, these Instant Pot BBQ Short Rib Tacos are going to be your go-to weeknight dinner hero (they’re amazing for leftovers, too).
28. Slow Cooker Bacon-Wrapped Low-Carb Meatballs
BBQ meatballs are a long-time kid favorite, and these low-carb, bacon-wrapped bites come together quickly and easily with a few little helpers. Simmer these meaty morsels while you’re at work, or pop them in the oven for the perfect game-day centerpiece.
29. Instant Pot Spicy Chili
This Instant Pot Spicy Chili can also be made in a slow cooker, depending on the cook time you need. Keep this recipe on hand for those chilly days (pun definitely intended), when you need something to warm you up. We love how this chili requires minimal effort, yet produces one of the best meals you’ll have all fall. Make it for the kids using Original sauce and seasoning (it’s less spicy that way).
30. Slow Cooker Cranberry BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
These Slow Cooker Cranberry BBQ Chicken Drums are anything but boring, with cranberries and our Original Bar-B-Q sauce that add flavor and texture. They’re just as delicious as they are simple. Put in a tiny effort tossing together the ingredients in a slow cooker, and come home to a delicious, warming home cooked meal.
31. Instant Pot Chipotle Turkey Chili
When there’s a chill in the air, a bowl of steaming, spicy chili is a must. This recipe—from wellness coach, marathoner, and National Parks super-enthusiast Coach Jessica Sprenkel—is the perfect compliment to your favorite hoodie. The carb count is low, but the deliciousness is high. Plus, it’s ready in about half an hour.
32. Creamy Low-Carb BBQ Chicken Soup
Serve this soup when you need a super-dose of comfort food, because it has all the right players: Savory chicken, silky broth, creamy goodness, and the smoky flavor of our cult-favorite Sugar Free sauce. It’s all more proof that low carb and delicious and can go hand-in-hand.
33. BBQ Apple Bacon-Wrapped Chicken
Choose Granny Smith or one of your other favorite baking apples for this recipe. It’s the best way to coax the most flavor from the fruit during the long cook time in the slow cooker, and the juices make bacon even better than, well, bacon.
34. Slow Cooker Carnitas
These rich, flavorful carnitas braise in a slow cooker while you’re at work. Simply crisp under the broiler, throw out a stack of steaming tortillas and taco toppings, and dinner is ready in minutes.
35. Cast Iron BBQ Chicken Nachos
The slow cooker assists in this recipe to make it a weeknight wonder. Because the chicken is ready when you walk through the door at the end of the day, a skillet of BBQ nachos takes just 5 minutes from start to finish. Don’t skimp on the cheese, the sour cream, or the BBQ sauce (our personal favorite nacho topping).
Our favorite fall grilling ideas
As much as we love our annual reunion with our slow cookers, there’s no reason to put the grill away as soon as the first chilly breeze blows. Keep the home fires burning year round with some of our ideas for fall dinners ranging from chili to casserole on your smoker or grill. These flavors are our favorites to come home to after a fall hike or a family trip to the pumpkin patch.
36. Smoked Pulled Pork Stuffed Peppers
Southwest flavors combine with smoke and spice in this festive preparation of stuffed peppers—and they’re ready in about an hour. Use fresh ingredients and oak chips in your grill or smoker to take this dish to the next level.
37. Campfire Beer-Braised Barbecued Mussels
A crackling campfire is always welcoming. When it’s topped with cast iron, a pile of fresh mussels, a can of beer (with a sip for the chef), plus our Apple Habanero BBQ sauce, all the ingredients are at the ready for a delicious, sophisticated meal. This recipe for barbecued mussels is an introduction to live-fire cooking, or cooking directly over a campfire, and it’s also an invitation to dine alfresco, ice-cold beer in hand.
38. Chipotle BBQ Brie Pizza
Making pizza on a grill is a fun way to take one of everyone’s favorite foods to a whole new level. Here Chef David Olson guides us through how to make the crust, prepare the toppings, and turn it all into magic in just a few minutes on a flaming-hot grill. Creamy brie is piled with caramelized onion, olive oil, fresh herbs, and our BBQ sauce for a flavor that is complex and nuanced enough for the grown-ups, and perfect for cheese-loving kids.
39. Sausage-Stuffed BBQ Quail
A delicious, juicy quail is easier to grill than you think. Jay Tinney of Tinney Barbecue, a Head Country Brand Ambassador, describes all the tips and tricks for how to grill up quail quickly, easily—and deliciously. A custom sausage blend and a pepper-jelly glaze add flair without fanciness.
40. Marinated Beef Tenderloin
Oh-so-tender, show-stopping beef tenderloin comes mostly pre-trimmed. Be sure to remove all silverskin, however. Leave a little fat on—it adds to the flavor.
41. Smoked Queso Blanco Dip
This queso mingles with fire and smoke on the grill. What results is a creamy, spicy dip packed with flavor. This recipe makes enough to top burgers and nachos, or omelets if it’s breakfast time—and we aren’t afraid to admit that it’s an indulgent supper, paired with a stack of fresh, salty tortilla chips.
42. Skewered Picanha
Picanha, a favorite at most Brazilian steak houses, is also known as top sirloin with the fat cap still attached. It’s also known as the Coulotte steak, without the fat cap—very lean, but flavorful. The name comes from a Picana, which is the pole used to herd cattle in Spain and Portugal. This cut is tender, flavorful, and in danger of disappearing if left unattended in the company of hungry friends and family.
43. Korean BBQ Short Ribs
Short ribs is one of our favorite comfort foods, and this recipe marinates them in Asian-inspired flavor before a smoke bath on the grill. Serve these with grilled pineapple or coconut rice.
44. Caramelized Onion Glazed Chicken Thighs
An onion puree tightens and sweetens with our BBQ sauce to form a thin, crisp bark over these chicken thighs as they cook on the grill. The recipe is simple, and the cook time is short, but the results will have you coming back for seconds. Serve extra BBQ sauce on the side for dipping (and for fun).
45. Classic Marinated Pork Chops
The rich, toasted flavors of our signature All-Purpose Marinade bring out the best in this spread of ‘chops. Pair with roasted root veggies and light the fire pit for a supper to remember.
46. Smoked Oxtail
Oxtails are a pricy cut, and it makes perfect sense once you’ve had the pleasure of finding them on your plate. In this recipe, oxtails benefit from both the low, moist heat of braising in the slow cooker as well as a smoke bath on the grill. Be sure to whip up some rice or egg noodles to soak up the juices.
47. Wood-Fired Salmon
Dinner is ready with just four ingredients and less than half an hour with this recipe for wood-fired salmon. Your favorite flavor of our BBQ sauce compliments the wood-smoked flavor, and chopped parsley adds a fresh brightness.
48. Hawaiian Baby Back Rib Pizza
Next time you throw some baby backs on the grill, be sure to add an extra and plan to make this pizza the next day. The island-inspired flavors are transporting, and the crust tutorial here is going to have you making pizza like a pro. Tip: Brush the edges (crust) of the pizzas with olive oil—this is what will help the crust get that crisp and golden-brown color we all love on pizza crust.
49. Marinated Chicken Thighs
Keep it simple. That’s what this recipe is all about. Gather your favorite Head Country ingredients—your favorite of our Seasonings, your favorite flavor of sauce, and a bottle of our Marinade—and you’re already halfway to dinnertime. Pair with your favorite BBQ sides (we love them with sautéed sweet peppers and roasted potatoes).
50. Sausage-Stuffed Chicken Quarters
“Chicken again?” said no one ever when these sausage-stuffed quarters come off the grill. This dish is just fancy enough to impress the neighbors at a cookout, but don’t shy away from it for simple family dinners at home, too.
Looking for even more recipe ideas for fall? Visit our recipes archive for dozens of recipes and BBQ tips and tricks to make sure your autumn cookouts and slow-cooker adventures are a success.