It doesn’t matter who wins or loses it’s how… well you eat (or pre-game)! Football and Tailgating, what a wonderful topic. First of all, anything can be tailgating food. You have your staples, burgers and dogs, but tailgating food can run the gamut from clam chowder (for you New Englanders, Go Pats!!!) to Crawdads (for you New Orleans Natives, Go Saints!!!!).
Here are some of my favorites, both simple and elegant.
Burgers and Hotdogs, no explanation needed
Italian Sausage; with onions and peppers cooked ahead of time and warmed in aluminum foil on the grill
And don’t forget to round out your menu of meat with some starters and sides (which can also be meat based if you like).
Cheese and Cracker Platters
Buffalo Chicken Dip
Seven Layer Dip
Scallops Wrapped in Bacon
Hot dishes can be made and brought in a disposable aluminum pan and warmed on the grill. Bring empty gallon bags to bring home leftovers. Tailgating food makes great leftovers, and really who wants to cook when Monday night football is on?
Of equal importance, let’s not forget something to wet our whistles. Tailgating drinks can be anything; but you need to consider what the weather’s going to be, what time is the game and who the crowd is that you’re tailgating with.
Early Game – means morning tailgating. I would recommend starting with some coffee, possibly with a little Baileys, Kahlua, or Amaretto. Or I would if I drank coffee; since I don’t I’d be starting with a Bloody Mary (and yes you can do a Bloody Mary bar while tailgating).
Cold Game – again, coffee and baileys is a good place to start. But there’s so much more than coffee; hot chocolate and peppermint schnapps or hot cider and southern comfort. Hot drinks made ahead of time and brought in thermoses.
Any Game – Beer, malt beverages, wine coolers- easy, easy, easy. And, sure, you might as well throw some water in the cooler too. Someone’s is going to have to drive home.
Fancy Pants – here’s where it gets fun! You can do anything you want. Any drink with a simple soda or juice mixer is a simple and easy answer. Supply a couple kinds of Rum and Vodka and let people fix their own, you never know what they might come up with.
Dessert – Chocolate Shot Glasses! And, did you know if you don’t eat them after the first use you can refill them and try again? I recommend a Peanut Butter & Jelly Shot, it goes with the chocolate glass quite well:
1. Fill the shot glass halfway with Chambord
2. Fill remaining way with Frangelico, pouring over the back of the spoon to layer the shot
3. Drink, repeat, and find someone else to drive home.