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We use our smoker so much that sometimes I just want to make everything on it for our entire meal. Here’s how to cook an entire meal of Smoked Bacon Ranch Chicken, Grilled Caesar Salad, Smoked Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Honey Butter, and Smoked Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake on the smoker, with a timeline and all our tips and tricks for a main course, sides, and a dessert!

Love using your smoker? Be sure to visit some of other smoker recipes for inspiration like these super popular Smoked Pork Belly Burnt Ends, our Texas Smoked Brisket, and my Uncle Richard’s Brown Sugar & Honey Baby Back Ribs!

A full meal of sweet potatoes, chicken, lettuce, and dump cake being cooked on a Traeger smoker.

Making a Full Dinner on the Smoker

This is my favorite kind of summer weekend cooking, even though we use our smoker all year long. During the summer months I often can’t bear to heat up the kitchen and find it’s so much more enjoyable to spend time outside with friends and family, making our entire dinner on our pellet grill.

If you have never tried making an entire meal on the smoker from start to finish, you really should! It cuts down on mess in the kitchen and the real wood-smoke flavor is delicious in everything from the main dish to sides to dessert.

I partnered with Kingsford Hardwood Pellets to bring you this full meal on the grill. There are FOUR different recipes with helpful info and tips along the way for how to make this entire on your pellet grill using Kingsford’s all-natural hardwood, so be sure to grab them all!

Choosing the menu

The menu I chose to show how to make an entire meal on a pellet grill is based on recipes that all go well together from a cohesive flavor perspective. The bacon ranch chicken is savory and salty, the smoked sweet potatoes are filling and sweet with the cinnamon honey butter on top, and the grilled caesar salad adds a fresh crunch and green to the plate.

A large white platter with sweet potatoes, chicken breasts, and grilled lettuce.

And the smoked cherry pineapple dump cake is the ultimate in easy unfussy desserts. If you have ever had grilled pineapple, you know just how amazing pineapple is with those grill flavors, and the maple smoke element here takes that deliciousness to a whole other level!

A bowl of cherry pineapple dump cake.

With a little thought to foods that go well together and taking temperature and timing into account, you can really create your own menu with any of your other favorite mains, sides, or desserts that work well on a smoker. Start with whichever menu component that takes the longest to cook, then add the remaining dishes on at the appropriate time so they all finish right around the same time.

A white plate with bacon ranch chicken, a sweet potato, and grilled romaine lettuce on it next to a bowl of dump cake for dessert.

Adjusting time and temperature

I always start with the menu item that is going to take the longest time to smoke and work my way from there. In this case, it’s going to be the sweet potatoes and cherry pineapple dump cake, followed by the chicken and bacon for the bacon ranch chicken. The romaine for the grilled caesar salad will go on right at the end.

Sides like potatoes, beans, or mac and cheese work really well on the smoker and can be smoked at lower or higher temperatures as needed. Same with proteins like chicken, pork, ribs, or meatballs. You might just need to adjust their cooking time and rely on your meat thermometer (always a good practice when smoking and grilling meat).

Larger cuts like pork shoulder or brisket are trickier since they can take upwards of 10+ hours to smoke, but they have a long rest period off the smoker at the end when you could get the sides and dessert done on the smoker.

Baked goods are the one exception where you really need to cook them at their recommended temperature and timing for best results. But everything from pies, crumbles, cobblers, crisps cookies, and even cakes can be made on the smoker!

A white plate with a smoked sweet potato with cinnamon honey butter, grilled caesar salad, and bacon ranch chicken next to a striped linen napkin, knife, and fork, with a bowl of cherry pineapple dump cake for dessert.

It really helps to prep everything before you start the smoker though so you know you have everything on hand and ready to go. It makes getting everything done and to the table at the same time much simpler and saves you a lot of stress! Also, keep in mind that many dessert need some time to cool down and set up, especially pies. I will share each of the recipes below, with printable instructions on how to prepare each of them.

What kind of pellets should I use?

This is an important consideration when making a full meal on the smoker. You want to choose a main, side, and dessert that all work well with the same type of wood smoke. Apple, cherry, maple, and pecan are our top choices since they are all lighter and more mild than, say, hickory.

We recently discovered Kingsford Signature Wood Pellets and find that they give amazing smoke flavor to whatever we are making. For this menu, we went with the Kingsford 100% Maple Hardwood Pellets.

A bag of Kingsford 100% Maple Wood Pellets leaning against a Traeger grill.

We love this brand because their pellets don’t have any fillers, binders, or preservatives, so you are getting 100% real hardwood smoke flavoring your meal. Plus, you can use them on any smoker regardless of the brand, and they are American-made!

Sweet potatoes, chicken breasts, bacon, lettuce, and dump cake on a smoker at the same time.
An image of Kingsford 100% Maple Hardwood Pellets being poured into the pellet holder of a Traeger smoker.

Timeline for dinner

  • Start smoker at 350 degrees F using Kingsford 100% Maple Hardwood Pellets.
  • Rub the sweet potatoes with a little olive oil and salt and place them on the smoker. Make the dump cake and place it in the smoker as well.
  • Once the sweet potatoes and dump cake have been smoking for about 45 minutes, add the chicken and bacon.
  • Let the dump cake cook for another 15 minutes or so until it is golden brown on top. Once it’s done you can pull it off the grill. It’s not a big deal if it is done before everything else since the hot fruit needs some time to cool before serving.
  • Meanwhile, when the chicken is close to being done, sprinkle it with some freshly grated cheddar cheese. Be sure to check the bacon to see if it’s as crispy as you like it at this point and remove whenever it is done.
  • Lay the romaine halves directly onto the grill to smoke for about 5 minutes to char slightly on the bottoms. Once it’s charred, remove it from the grill and serve as a wedge, or chop it and dress it with caesar dressing, parmesan shreds, and croutons.
  • The sweet potatoes are done when they are soft enough to squeeze and the exact timing will depend on the size of the sweet potatoes you have. I recommend smaller sweet potatoes for better portion sizes and a shorter cooking time, if you can find them.
  • Once the chicken reaches 165 degrees F on an instant read digital meat thermometer (affiliate link), it’s ready to be pulled from the smoker. Chop the bacon and sprinkle it over the top of the chicken, along with a drizzle of ranch dressing thinned out with a little milk.
  • Split open the sweet potatoes and fluff them a bit, then top each with a scoop of cinnamon honey butter. It will melt all over the hot sweet potato for a ridiculously delicious side that is practically a dessert on it’s own, if I’m being honest.
  • Serve the dump cake with scoops of vanilla ice cream for dessert.
Sweet potatoes, chicken, lettuce, and a dump cake on a Traeger grill with smoke coming out of it.

You can print off each recipe below to have them on hand, if that’s easier for you than scrolling through.

Smoked Sweet Potatoes with Cinnamon Honey Butter

One of the best side dishes you can make on the smoker are smoked sweet potatoes. They are so fluffy and soft inside with a fantastic smokey flavor from the maple hardwood smoke. We are starting out with this part of the meal because they typically take the longest to cook.

A smoked sweet potato that has been split open and filled with cinnamon honey butter.

These smoked sweet potatoes would be fantastic for Thanksgiving dinner, but they are just as good for Sunday nights, especially in the summer when you don’t want to go to the hassle of making sweet potato casserole.

You will need:

  • small sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • cinnamon honey butter (really only 1/4 of a batch, but you might as well make the whole thing since it keeps well in the fridge for a while and can even be frozen)

Steps to prepare:

  • Scrub the sweet potatoes well and poke them all over with the tines of a fork and dry them off.
  • Rub each sweet potato with a drizzle of olive oil and a generous sprinkling of salt.
  • The sweet potatoes are going to take at least 60 to 90 minutes to cook through until they are nice and soft. The exact time is going to depend on just how large or small the sweet potatoes are, but the good news is that if they are done early they will stay plenty hot while the rest of the meal finishes. You can tell they are done by squeezing them with a hot pad, poking them with a fork, or even checking their internal temperature to see if it is at 210 degrees F.
Four sweet potatoes rubbed with olive oil and salt on a baking sheet.
Smoked Sweet Potatoes
Yield: 4 servings

Smoked Sweet Potatoes

Fantastic wood-smoke flavor permeates these sweet potatoes that are soft and fluffy and amazing with cinnamon honey butter melting on top!

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

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat smoker to 250 degrees F. Wash and dry potatoes. Pierce all over with a fork. Rub sweet potatoes with oil and salt. Smoke for 2 hours until they have an internal temp of 210 degrees F.
  2. Split open the potatoes, fluff insides with a fork, and serve with a big spoonful of cinnamon honey butter.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 178Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 1628mgCarbohydrates: 28gFiber: 4gSugar: 12gProtein: 2g

Smoked Bacon Ranch Chicken

A smoked chicken breast topped with ranch dressing and bacon on a white plate next to a sweet potato and grilled lettuce.

You will need:

  • chicken breasts
  • olive oil
  • a packet of ranch dressing mix
  • pepper
  • garlic powder
  • bacon
  • cheddar cheese
  • ranch dressing
  • milk
  • chopped parsley, for garnish

Steps to prepare:

  • Drizzle each chicken breast with a little olive oil, then sprinkle with the dry ranch dressing mix, pepper, and garlic powder. I find that there is enough salt in the ranch dressing mix and bacon that I don’t need to use any additional salt to season the chicken when made this way.
  • Smoke the seasoned chicken and bacon directly on the grill grates at 350 degrees F for around 25-30 minutes until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. The length of time for the bacon will depend on how thickly it is sliced and how crispy you like it. Sprinkle the chicken with grated cheddar cheese when it is close to being done so that it has time to melt.
  • Once the chicken is done, let it rest for five minutes. Drizzle with ranch dressing thinned out with a little milk and sprinkle with the chopped bacon and fresh parsley.
A white platter loaded with smoked sweet potatoes, bacon ranch chicken, and grilled romaine lettuce.
Smoked Bacon Ranch Chicken
Yield: 4 servings

Smoked Bacon Ranch Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts get a major flavor upgrade thanks to wood smoke, ranch seasoning, crispy bacon, and savory cheese!

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

Ingredients

  • 4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 6 slices thick cut bacon
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup ranch dressing
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or chives

Instructions

  1. Preheat grill to 350 degrees F using maple, apple, or cherry wood pellets.
  2. Drizzle chicken breasts with olive oil, then sprinkle evenly on both sides with the dry ranch dressing mix, pepper, and garlic powder. Place the chicken on the grill and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Lay the bacon strips directly on the smoker and cook until crispy, then remove from the grill and chop.
  3. When the chicken is very close to done, sprinkle with the grated cheese and let it melt. Remove from the grill when done and drizzle with the ranch dressing thinned out with a little milk, then sprinkle with the chopped bacon. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

Notes

  • You can cook the chicken at lower temperatures, although you will need to increase the time. It will take about 1 hour on a 225 degrees F grill. Be sure to test for doneness using a thermometer.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 725Total Fat: 50gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 28gCholesterol: 185mgSodium: 1450mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 3gProtein: 59g

Grilled Caesar Salad

If you have never had grilled romaine lettuce before, it might sound a little crazy. I know I was dubious the first time I tried it. Wouldn’t it be all limp and wilty? Salads are supposed to be crispy and fresh, not smokey, right? Wrong!

Actually, the romaine stays nice and crisp and fresh, but the char around the edges and the miraculous flavor of the smoke make for an unbelievable caesar salad! It presents beautifully as a wedge-style salad, but you can always chop the grilled romaine lettuce and add it to a bowl with the other ingredients like you would a normal caesar salad.

Grilled romaine lettuce drizzled with caesar dressing and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

You will need:

  • small heads of romaine lettuce (if serving wedge style)
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • fresh parmesan cheese
  • big, chunky croutons
  • storebought or homemade caesar salad dressing

Steps to prepare:

  • Wash each head of romaine lettuce and shake out as much water as possible. Use a sharp knife to slice each head of lettuce in half lengthwise, creating a flat surface for grilling. Leave the root end intact for easy grilling.
  • Drizzle the cut side of each half head of lettuce with olive oil or brush it with oil using a pastry brush. This just helps protect it from sticking to the grill and burning too quickly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season it.
  • Lay the lettuce sliced side down on the hot grill and let it smoke for about 5 minutes until the grill side is slightly charred.
  • Remove from the grill and drizzle with caesar salad dressing. Sprinkle with shaved or freshly grated parmesan and croutons.
Romaine lettuce that is sliced in half and drizzled with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a white enamel baking dish.
Grilled Caesar Salad
Yield: 4 servings

Grilled Caesar Salad

Classic caesar salad levels up with the addition of wood smoke in this grilled version!

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 small to medium heads romaine lettuce, washed and dried
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • caesar salad dressing
  • shredded parmesan cheese
  • croutons

Instructions

  1. Wash each head of romaine lettuce and shake out as much water as possible. Use a sharp knife to slice each head of lettuce in half lengthwise, creating a flat surface for grilling. Leave the root end intact for easy grilling.
  2. Drizzle the cut side of each half head of lettuce with olive oil or brush it with oil using a pastry brush. This just helps protect it from sticking to the grill and burning too quickly. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to season it.
  3. Lay the lettuce sliced side down on the hot grill and let it smoke for about 5 minutes until the grill side is slightly charred.
  4. Remove from the grill and drizzle with caesar salad dressing. Sprinkle with shaved or freshly grated parmesan and croutons.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 119Total Fat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 4mgSodium: 237mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 4gSugar: 2gProtein: 3g

Smoked Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake

A close image of a serving spoon scooping cherry pineapple dump cake.

It may not look like much or have the most appealing name, but this cherry pineapple dump cake is a super delicious dessert that takes all of 5 minutes to throw together. Then the smoker does all of the hard work for you! In my book, there is nothing better in the summer than a cooked fruit dessert with a scoop of ice cream melting over the top!

Really? Dessert on the smoker?

A pellet grill works like a convection oven, so really you can bake anything from pies to cookies to cakes on them. You can set the temperature just like an indoor oven, and cook everything outside without heating up your kitchen! Because it works like a convection oven, you may find that your desserts tend to cook a few minutes faster on the smoker than in a conventional oven.

Most desserts do best when smoked with a lighter wood flavor so they just have a hint of smoke flavor. Maple, Cherry, and Apple woods are our favorites for this kind of smoking.

What is a dump cake?

Dump cake is probably one of the easiest dessert recipes of all time and only has THREE ingredients: pie filling, cake mix, and butter. It is in the family of crisps and cobblers where it has fruit on the bottom and a sweet topping sprinkled over that before baking. Prep time is minimal and involves such taxing abilities as opening cans and melting butter in the microwave. This is a no mess, no fuss approach to dessert and it’s perfect when you are smoking everything on the grill at once. We have also made this in the dutch oven while camping and it works great!

A bowl of cherry pineapple dump cake next to the pan it was baked in.

You can go the extra mile with dump cake and use fresh fruit and sugar for the filling, but if you have homemade cherry pie filling on hand or just purchase a can of it at the store, this is a super easy, no-fuss dessert recipe. Even though I generally prefer to make most things from scratch, including cakes and pie fillings, there is a time and place for everything and dump cake is one of those situations where the beauty of it is in its simplicity and I don’t feel the need to go the extra mile.

This cherry pineapple dump cake reminds me of pineapple upside down cake crossed with a cherry cobbler. It uses a can of crushed pineapple WITH the juice and cherry pie filling for the base, although you could do all cherry if you prefer. Or any other pie filling, for that matter. The cake mix sprinkled over the top will soak up the moisture from the fruit and absorb the melted butter to turn into a chewy, cobbler-ish topping that is just delicious.

A disposable aluminum pan full of cherry pineapple dump cake with a scoop taken out and placed in a bowl next to it beside a carton of vanilla ice cream.

Try any flavor combo – 2 cans of cherry pie filling with chocolate cake mix, 2 cans of apple pie filling with spice cake mix, 2 cans of blueberry pie filling with lemon cake mix, etc.

Topping ideas for cherry pineapple dump cake

We always eat dump cake with a scoop of ice cream! Vanilla is an obvious choice, but cinnamon, caramel, or coconut macadamia nut ice cream would all be delicious with this cherry pineapple dump cake.

A serving of cherry pineapple dump cake in a glass bowl with a scoop of ice cream.

You will need:

  • cherry pie filling
  • crushed pineapple
  • yellow cake mix
  • melted butter
The ingredients for a cherry pineapple dump cake in a disposable aluminum pan.

Steps to prepare:

  • Open the cans of crushed pineapple and cherry pie filling and dump both directly into the pan you plan to make the dump cake in. I like to use disposable aluminum pans for smoking desserts for easier cleanup. Stir the fruit filling together a bit.
  • Sprinkle the dry cake mix directly on top of the fruit filling in an even layer.
  • Drizzle the melted butter over the cake mix. It’s okay if there are spots that don’t get covered. Just try to drizzle everything as evenly as possible.
  • Place the pan in a 350 degree F smoker for 50-60 minutes until the dump cake is starting to turn golden brown on top and the fruit is bubbling up around the edges.
  • Cool slightly and serve warm with ice cream.
A scoop of vanilla ice cream over cherry pineapple dump cake in a glass bowl.
Smoked Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake
Yield: 8 servings

Smoked Cherry Pineapple Dump Cake

The summer flavors of cherry and pineapple pair perfectly in this delightful dump cake made on a smoker!

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

Ingredients

  • 1 (21-ounce) can cherry pie filling
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted

Instructions

  1. Preheat smoker to 350 degrees F using maple, cherry, or apple wood pellets, preferably. Spray a 9x13-inch disposable aluminum pan with cooking spray.
  2. Dump cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple, including the juice, into the pan and stir together. Sprinkle the cake mix evenly over the top, then drizzle with the melted butter.
  3. Bake for 45-60 minutes until top is golden brown and the filling is hot and bubbly.

Notes

This can also be made in the slow cooker by cooking on HIGH for 2 hours. It helps to place a couple paper towels between the lid and the dessert to absorb the excess condensation as the dump cake bakes.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

8

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 427Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 12gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 616mgCarbohydrates: 61gFiber: 1gSugar: 33gProtein: 3g