When you head out to the grill or in to the kitchen, we know you’re not just making a meal. You’re making memories. We develop dozens of new BBQ, grilling, slow-cooker, and quick-and-easy dinner recipes each year based on one simple truth: great food brings friends and family together.
Whether it’s those little tricks that take your backyard grill game to the next level, or new recipes that your family begs you to add to the rotation, we want to help you serve up plates that folks want to gather around.
We love learning which recipes our fans call their favorites. There are always a few that rise to stardom, the cream of the crop. This year, the top picks centered on comfort-food favorites: spoonable mains, creamy-and-melty sides, and everything else we all reach for when we want a taste of home.
Of course, the classics of BBQ made their usual appearance, too. We’re talking hunks of meat still glistening from hours in a smoke bath, stacked sandwiches that could never actually fit in your mouth, and everything we love about the craft and flavor of low-and-slow BBQ.
These recipes, new for 2021, were the Head Country fan favorites:
1. Texas Flaming Hot Frito Pie
The original Frito Pie recipe is a Texas comfort food going back to the 1950s. Serving Frito Pie in a bag is credited to Woolworth’s and Five and Dime Stores in Santa Fe, where they also added New Mexico green chilis. Since Doug went to high school in New Mexico and now lives in Texas, this guide on how to make Frito Pie is a combination of the two styles.
2. Reverse-Seared Smoked Tri Tip
Tri Tip is the bottom sirloin on a steer where three muscles come together. Generally considered California or Santa Maria BBQ, this cut is gaining popularity across the US. Here’s our favorite way to cook it, smoked to temp and then reverse seared like a steak to a medium rare.
Uses: Our Championship Seasoning, High Plains Heat, Championship Seasoning, The Original, and our All Purpose Marinade
Full Recipe: Reverse-Seared Smoked Tri Tip
3. Texas Rib Sammich
You could sit in the drive-thru, or you could fire up the grill. This sandwich is a BBQ World Champion’s answer to a fast-food cult classic, an elevation of a sandwich served in a box. Knowing how to create fall-off-the-bone ribs is key to this recipe, and we tell you how.
Uses: Our Championship Seasoning, High Plains Heat, Championship Seasoning, The Original, and our Apple Habanero Bar-B-Q Sauce
Full Recipe: Texas Rib Sammich
4. Slow Smoked Pork and Beans
Every family has their version of pork and beans. Maybe it’s something tinkered with straight out of the can by Mom or Dad, then altered some more when you start dabbling in your own kitchen. This pork and beans recipe is a basic version of that: a time-honored tradition with your own twist. Make it your own.
Uses: Our Hickory Smoke Bar-B-Q Sauce
Full Recipe: Slow Smoked Pork and Beans
5. Grilled Sausage Stuffing
A full grill is a happy grill, especially during the holidays. Make room on your grates for this Thanksgiving sausage stuffing, packed with all your favorite and traditional flavors, with one serious upgrade: a kiss of smoke. Use Italian sausage if you like spice, depth, and what just might be the best Thanksgiving stuffing recipe to ever hit your table.
6. Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese
This Instant Pot mac and cheese takes what everyone loves about this favorite comfort food—the perfect chew, creamy cheese, and how it goes with absolutely everything—and makes it super quick and easy for a weeknight. The added smoke from our BBQ sauce, the heat of jalapenos, and the bright flavors of fresh scallions appeal to grown-up tastes, even if you’re a kid at heart.
Uses: Our Original Bar-B-Q Sauce
Full Recipe: Instant Pot BBQ Chicken Mac and Cheese
7. Hasselback Sweet Potatoes with Spicy Herb Drizzle and Candied Bacon
Sweet potatoes are a wonder of the food world. Add sugar and marshmallows and you have pie and casserole. Add candied bacon and herb butter and you have the makings of these sweet-and-salty hasselback sweet potatoes, sure to earn top marks amongst your favorite savory sweet potato recipes. Be sure to start with a cold oven when baking the candied bacon. Don’t forget to brush the potatoes twice with the herbed butter—a crispy skin is an unforgettable payoff.
8. BBQ Bacon Scalloped Potatoes
Thin slices of potato are layered with a rich sauce, cheese, and bacon in this twist on simple scalloped potatoes. Before serving, slice in half down the length of the casserole and then in strips crossways. Now everybody gets a serving of creamy scalloped potatoes with a golden top and a crusty edge.
9. Keto Smoked Buffalo Cauliflower
Combining buffalo wing sauce and smoke turns cauliflower from ordinary vegetable into a delectable side dish, perfect for the family get-together or that next neighborhood block party.
10. Classic Backyard BBQ Chicken Halves
No backyard BBQ is complete without the chicken. This recipe for the BBQ classic is one of our favorites—it’s basic, it’s easy, and the results are phenomenal.