Score Hot Eats for Tailgating
As the calendar flips to September, those last warm summer days give way to crisp, cool evenings. For many people, that chill in the air also means it’s time to do one important thing: Get ready for some football! Pigskin season is upon us, and whether you’re a die-hard or a fair-weather fan, it’s easy to get fired up for fall tailgating. Here are five tasty (and spicy!) foods for warming up you and your crew before those outdoor games. Plus, we’ve got tricks for cooling the heat when you’ve met your fiery match, and tips on the best way to pack everything up and take it on the road.
- DO THE WING THING: A messy but necessary football party finger food, the best wings should make your taste buds sing. She Knows Best has a roundup of five wing recipes, including Bangin’ Buffalo. Candy from Soup Belly uses hoisin sauce and honey to bring out the umami in these juicy-licious grilled chicken wings. And for a healthier but still spicy take, try oven-roasted wings from She Wears Many Hats.
- POP IT LIKE IT’S HOT: It’s just not party without poppers. Purists will love this straightforward jalapeño popper recipe from Echoes of Laughter. More open-minded? Get creative like Heart Mind and Seoul and wrap ’em in a wonton. Or simply dive in chip-first with a zippy jalapeño popper dip from The Taylor House.
- TOP NACHOS: Gooey, crunchy nachos are another super staple. Try taking the standard cheese and chips to the next level and top yours with Spicy Chicken from Awesome Cuisine, chipotle-braised Chicken Tinga from Food Republic or tender Barbacoa Beef from Neighbor Food Blog. Bring a grill-safe pan and use the heat from the coals to melt the cheese and give them a little smoky somethin’.
- GET IN THE CHILI ZONE: From hands to mouth to belly to toes, nothing warms a body quite like a hot cup of chili. Beef, pork, chicken, veggie...if it’s warm and you’ve got an extra spoon, we’re in! Some of our faves include the mildly spicy Sausage Fire House Chili from the Unsophisticook, a rockin’ vegetarian Three Bean Fire Roasted Chili from A Cedar Spoon or the Lansing Fire Chili from Midwest Living, a make-you-sweat version with a lotta kick and a little chocolate(!).
- PORK IT OVER: Round out the apps with a mix of tender and hearty. Flavorful hot sammies are easy to grill (or make and bring), and they’re ultra-satisfying for all. Sriracha sauce gives these grilled pork tenderloin sandwiches from She Knows some good old-fashioned sass. Check out Foodie Crush for tangy Asian-inspired pork belly sliders (think banh mi) that you can make in the slow cooker.
COOL DOWN, HOT STUFFWe’ve all done it. Gobbled up something super-spicy, felt the burn, guzzled some water and ended up fanning those four-alarm flames in our mouth. Next time, grab a tall, cool, frothy glass of...milk! The creamy dairy drink is actually the best thing to neutralize the fire, although maybe a little unusual for a tailgating drink. As luck would have it, the carbohydrates in beer will also subdue the heat. Cheers! Oh, and there’s even more good news: You could also try eating a piece of chocolate. (Really, how awesome is tailgating?)
LEAD THE PACKOnce your spicy spread is good to go, it’s time for some smart packing. Place food in stackable SNAPWARE® TOTAL SOLUTION STORAGE CONTAINERS to give you more space while keeping everything nicely organized. Then pack the containers in insulated carriers (hot foods in one and cold foods in another). Don’t forget to include plastic or reusable utensils and plates, and some wet wipes for those sticky fingers (c’mon, how else do you eat wings?). Finish your tailgating prep with a quick checklist: portable grill (with charcoal or gas), warm blankets, an appropriate playlist and beverages of choice. And maybe a foam mini football. Now you’re ready for kickoff!
YOUR TURN: What are your must-have tailgating or game-day snacks?