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The Ultimate Tailgating Menu Recipes

The Ultimate Tailgating Menu

Let's be honest, sometimes tailgating is even better than the main event. The classic American pre-gaming always has to feature some classic fan favorites. And no shade to bratwurst and hot dogs but it's also a great opportunity to pull out some new dishes that are sure to make the day a win. 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. Whether you're tailgating your favorite college rivalry or pre-gaming a stadium concert (Is that a thing? Let's make it one!), we have a few ways to test the boundaries of what can be made in a parking lot and impress your tailgating neighbors.

Start Early (aka Brunch Tailgating)

I love to start with breakfast items to keep the fans fed from beginning to end. An easy make-ahead pan of Frosted Cinnamon Bun Coffee Cake or 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. Don't forget a thermos of coffee and your favorite flavored sugar for the perfect morning kickstart.

If you're ready to start the party, try the Bloody Mary Ultimate Ingredient Box for everything you need for a crowd-pleasing batch of bloodys (except the vodka and garnishes).

Snack Time

As the morning progresses, so does the urge to snack. 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. Mix these up the night before for best flavor but in a pinch, these dips can be prepared just as the party begins. 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 or potato chips (ridged for maximum dip scoopability!)

Tip: If you don't have a Spice 'n Easy dip on hand, don't fret. Mix up your favorite seasoning (maybe a BBQ Rub or herby Capitol Hill) for a Super Easy Savory Dip that everyone will love.

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, fire up the charcoal in your grill. Grilled foods are indispensable for any parking lot party. Our recipe for Caribbean Grilled Wings can be made with your choice of several Caribbean inspired spice blends - try 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, as is our choose-your-own-adventure Hot Wing Chile Glaze. After all, dueling wings might be just the thing to keep this party rolling.

The Main Event


As far as we are concerned, you have two options for the main event - classic or unconventional.

Classic Option: Black Dust BurgersSpice up a basic burger with a coffee-inspired BBQ rub. Top with Spiced Ketchup or Pickled Mustard Seeds to elevate even a basic burger to new heights. Serve with Salted Watermelon for an exciting flavor boost.

Unconventional Option: BBQ Chicken Quesadillas - These super simple quesadillas come together in just a few minutes. Customize them by adding pickled jalapenos or top with Black Bean and Corn Salsa.

With bellies full, your parking lot friends disappear into the stadium and you can rest assured that, regardless of the outcome of the game, 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!

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