The Ultimate Tailgating Menu


with Dan Baker
Test Kitchen Chef
December 24, 2018
Print Facebook Twitter Pinterest Email
The Ultimate Tailgating Menu

I woke up this morning, like I do many mornings, with food on my mind. But not just any food. I’m planning an all-day tailgating party with some classic fan favorites and some new dishes that are sure to make this day a win. This is going to take some party planning to execute, but the smiles you see when your friends take that first bite is what it’s all about. Some of the food will be prepared at home and brought to the event and some will be cooked on site. But let’s be honest, the atmosphere is what makes this meal a true experience. Come share this pre-game celebration with me and test the boundaries of what can be made in a parking lot.



Start Early

I love to start with breakfast items to keep the fans fed from beginning to end. An easy make-ahead pan of Maple Kissed Cinnamon Rolls with Bourbon Glaze is a great start and - bonus - it’ll make your vehicle smell delicious en route to the stadium. Pair with a mason jar of Cinnamon Streusel Creamer and a cup of coffee for a morning kickstart.

Snack Time

As the morning progresses, my urge to snack requires attention. I usually keep a bowl of Cajun Party Mix accessible, and a double batch of Erin's Quick & Easy Guacamolé with tortilla chips is an absolute essential. I always keep sour cream and a few of our Spice ‘n Easy dips on-hand. Seven Onion Dip and Red Bell Ranch are both reliable crowd-pleasers. These dips can be prepared the night before or just as the party begins to bolster your appetizer array. I like to serve them with carrot sticks, celery, and mini sweet peppers that are pre-cut and bagged at home for convenience, along with a selection of crackers.

Bring Your Jacket, It’s About to Get Chili

I like to prepare and combine all of the ingredients for J.R.'s 3 Bean Chuck Eye Chili in a large container. When I arrive at the game I start up a propane burner and pour the ingredients into a Dutch oven to simmer over low heat for about four hours. The trick is stirring the ingredients occasionally to prevent any sticking to the bottom of the pot. Sprinkle a bit of cheese and onions on top of the chili to serve. I also like to keep a jar of Habanero Chile Powder next to the finished pot for those that prefer a little more heat. This bean chili is a one pot dish that is hearty and perfect for a crowd.

Wing It

Once the chili is going I like to start the charcoal in my kettle grill. Grilled foods are  indispensable in my opinion for any parking lot party. Our recipe for Caribbean Grilled Wings  can be made with your choice of several Caribbean inspired spice blends. My favorite for this recipe is Cuban Island Spice or Hidden Cove Lemon Garlic Blend. The wings are finished with a honey and lime glaze that will delight the crew. If a more traditional wing is your fancy, Buttermilk & Buffalo Glazed Wings which uses our Buffalo Wing Dry Sauce is another great choice, and dueling wings might be just the thing to keep this party rolling.

The Main Event

Now is a great time to carve up a watermelon for our Salted Watermelon recipe that will keep you cool as you tend to the grill. This recipe works with a variety of our salts but I prefer Chicharron Salt or Makrut Lime Sea Salt for an exciting flavor boost. It's getting closer to game time and the Black Dust Burgers and Pearl Street Cedar Plank Salmon hit the grill. A few vegetables are necessary for a complete experience. Two of my favorite veggie side dishes are Grilled Green Beans and BBQ Street Corn. These dishes are always delicious and the perfect accessory to the meaty mains.

Dessert is a Dish Best Served Grilled

People are probably getting antsy to enter the stadium and now is the perfect time to send them off with a sweet treat. The grill has put in plenty of work today but it's not quite done. Grilled Spiced Peaches and Grilled Spiced Sugar Bananas with Spiced Nuts are two decadent grilled options that are a perfect conclusion to this tailgating feast.

With bellies full, your parking lot friends disappear into the stadium and you can rest assured that regardless of the games outcome, you have won the day with fantastic food and memories to match.


What are your favorite game day eats? Tell us in the comments below!

Comments on this Article

delete (registered user) on September 11, 2018

GO TEAM GO! Follow that car filled with all those DELICIOUS snacks! My favs would have to be to start with a big sourdough bread bowl filled with Seven Onion Spice 'n Easy Dip, then on to the Rigatoni with Coffee Spiced Sausage. And tuck into my pocket a slice of Georgia Peach Spice Cake for dessert at half-time ;-P

(guest), on September 12, 2018

I love the idea of having the salted watermelon ready for snacking while grilling! Everything is now on my list to make this season!

(guest), on September 12, 2018

I like grilled watermelon. Brush it with a little olive oil & place it on the grill until slightly grilled. This will only take a few minutes on each side. Remove to serving plate.

Dan Baker (registered user) on September 12, 2018

That is an excellent idea!

(guest), on September 12, 2018

The chuck eye chilli sounds good. Might have to make some this weekend. Also the chicharron salt is going to be in my shopping cart also. Onion dip is my absolute favourite I will also like to try this. Great blog hope to see more suggestions.

(guest), on September 13, 2018

you take food to whole new level!!!

Add a comment:


Email Address: (will not be made public)

To help us reduce spam please click on the symbols in the image below
Captcha Button - Yes Captcha Button - No Captcha Button - Yes Captcha Button - No Captcha Button - Yes Captcha Button - No Captcha Button - No Captcha Button - Yes