Each culture has their own style of cuisine and cooking.
If you travel to Italy, you can expect to dine upon the finest pastas in the world. In Japan, you can feast on rice, ginger, garlic, vegetables, and tofu. In India, there are curries and yogurts that will knock your socks off. Head to the United Kingdom and you can break your fast with a full English breakfast, which may not be pretty but will put a jump into your step all day. The Canadians will serve you up a big plate heaped with fries, cheese curds, and gravy. Even within America, there are many different styles of dining. Whether it’s Cajun cooking or New England clambakes, you can sample nearly any combination of ingredients and preparation methods. However, there’s one style of food that we think reigns supreme: tailgating fare. A combination of bar food, finger food, barbeque, delicious desserts, and anything that can be munched on between rounds of cornhole. When you gather ’round the tailgate tables with your buds, why not bust out some classic recipes? Here are five tips that ensure every course is a hit. Of course, the food has to be prepared to be compatible withthe tailgating games you have planned. Before you know it, your tailgating party could be granted a Michelin Star.
#1: Munch N’ Crunch: Why Finger Foods Are a Smart Bet
When you’re starting to lay out your menu, you should try to ensure there’s a good sampling of finger foods. Finger foods are great for tailgating because people can grab them and eat them on the go. They are also generally clean and easy to eat. If someone wants to eat a full three course meal, then they are forced to sit down. When you have tailgate tables set up and tailgate games being played, people want the ability to roam around. Having a spread of delicious food also provides a ‘hub’ at the party where people can group up and chat. Chicken wings, fish fingers or chicken nuggets and sticks, potato skins, ribs, poppers, pizza slices, sliders, and fries are all fantastic ideas. You can even turn more ‘traditional meals’ into finger foods with a little creativity! Small sized buns, shells, edible bowls, and crusts can contain small amounts of savory food. For instance, Paula Deen offers a delicious recipe where you can serve up traditional, homestyle chili in a small biscuit bowl. While more traditional, hearty fare is always a great idea, you should round out the menu with a wide variety of finger foods. A great example of a simple yet delicious finger food recipe is Bobby Flay grilled chicken wings with spicy hot sauce and blue-cheese yogurt sauce on the side.
#2: Pick Foods That Give You The Opportunity to Play All Day
Finger foods are great to munch on all day, but when there’s an all day tailgating event, your guests need energy. There are hearty meals you can make that will provide the tailgaters with lots of calories so they are accurate and competitive for hours on end. That being said, you don’t want to go overboard and create a greasy, overloaded main course. Players want to do their best at the tailgate tables, and that means they need to eat clean and play mean. A meal like chili, meatloaf, pizza, turkey or chicken burgers, and traditional beef burgers makes for a fantastic main course. For something inexpensive, but easy to make in large batches, try Alton Brown’s pressure cooker chili. For something that players can eat while they sit down and take a break, try the Food Kitchen’s Network Slow-Cooker Brisket Sandwiches. With only 30 minutes of prep, you can leave the cooker on its own for 8 hours, and then return to one heck of a sandwich.
#3: When In Doubt, Add More Meat
Barbeque is one of the most popular and delicious styles of cooking in the world. Flame roasted meat is succulent and delicious. It’s also heavy and calorie-dense enough that people only need one or two servings before they’re ready to spring up and play. Meat is also fast and easy to cook, and is the fantastic ‘star’ of a spread of food. Vegetables tend to be processed faster by the digestive system, and so people require a few more servings to be full. Ribs, burgers, sausage rolls, chicken bites, and other yummy slabs of meat are all excellent additions to your shopping list.
#4:…But a Veggie Option Never Hurts
That being said, there may be vegetarians or vegans lining up at the tailgate tables. You can’t neglect your friends who aren’t carnivores. You can mimic the filling and savory nature of meat dishes with calories and protein with beans, tofu, soy, and lentils. The Mother Nature Network offers these amazing five vegetarian tailgating recipes: black bean soup, fiesta fondue, grilled vegetable subs, pineapple and tofu kabobs, and grilled brussel sprouts. Even the most die hard vegetarian at your tailgating event will go home satisfied to the core if you lay out these succulent treats.
#5: Wrap Things Up With An Awesome Dessert
So you might be feeling totally prepared to lay out appetizers, snacks, main courses, and vegetarian options. Don’t forget – a delightful dessert is the perfect way to round out the evening. You want to go with the principle expressed in the first tip – finger foods are best. With desserts, cookies, brownies, cupcakes, and pop tarts are all mouthwatering choices. Call Me PMC shares an astounding eighty recipes for tailgating recipes of varying difficulty levels, so anyone from an amateur to a professional chef can enjoy whipping them up. All of these recipes can be eaten without a utensil, and are just as tasty at room temperature.
Planning a big tailgating event? Is your favorite team about to play? Are your tailgate tables spread out and the games all planned? The food is one of the most integral parts of a tailgating event, so consider these five tips for an out of this world menu. For more information and tips on making the most of tailgating, check out the All American Tailgate blog. We cover everything from individual games to planning an event for every age – everything you need to make a so-so event into a spectacular one!