Tailgating season is almost here, so break out the coolers and grills and get ready to start cooking. Tailgating is one activity that embraces food with both hands and a hungry belly, so you have to make sure you plan your menu the right way.
Some of these foods are going to get messy, so plan on bringing lots of napkins and plenty of cold refreshments to go along with your tailgating feast.
Here are the top 10 tailgating foods for my college football menu:
1. Memphis Style BBQ Ribs: These are my favorites, easy to eat, and delicious flavor, if you make your rub the right way. Take a rack of spare ribs or baby back ribs and smoke them in a covered grill for about an hour. Coat the ribs with the BBQ rub and recover the grill for about 20 minuutes. Make sure to bring hand wipes.
2. Carolina Style Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwiches: These tasty pork sandwiches can be made the night before the game with a crock pot to cook the pork so it is nice and tender for the next day. With a good recipe and done right, all you have to do is reheat the pork in pot on your grill and heat up the sandwich buns. These are very sloppy sandwiches, so make sure to give everyone a paper towel.
3. Tex-Mex Style Carne Asada: These grilled steak tacos and burritos are perfect for tailgating and will be a big hit with everyone hanging out by your grill. The trick is getting the marinade right to unlock all the flavors, and from there it is as easy as making a taco or burrito. Heat some tortillas wrapped in tin foil on the grill; while you're letting the carne asada cool off, grab a cold drink, and enjoy.
4. Grilled BBQ Buffalo Wings: These wings are grilled with a homemade sauce recipe, and they are the best I have ever tried. Wings are a staple of tailgating, but these will make your pals come right out and ask you what your secret is to making them so good. Like eating ribs, make sure you have a pack of hand wipes ready.
5. Bacon Wrapped BBQ Shrimp: These tasty morsels are for those of us who enjoy a tailgating version of "Surf N Turf," only without the main entrée of steak and lobster. Savory bacon wrapped around large shrimp on a skewer, with delicious BBQ sauce for flavoring. They are quick and easy to grill, and folks love them.
6. Bobby Flay Grilled Corn on the Cob: This is the perfect recipe if your team is the University of Nebraska, but they are really delicious for any game, and make a terrific compliment to some of the more meaty tailgating foods. This recipe calls for a very tasty BBQ butter to spread on them when they are hot off the grill.
7. Big Bud's Beer Can Chicken: These are always a favorite way to serve poultry at a backyard BBQ or a tailgate party. Chef Guy Fieri has the best recipe I have tried for making the beer can chicken, and all you need is one can of beer, a half pound of bacon, and about an hour to cook it.
8. Spicy Southwestern Chili: For those of us who like BBQ and southwestern flavors for our tailgating foods, this recipe is perfect. Whether you are in the Upper Midwest, the Deep South, or the Southwest, this style of chili is sure to please as it is bursting with spicy flavors. All you need is a kettle to heat it up on the grill, if you make it the night before. A real crowd pleaser.
9. Steak and Egg Sandwich: Another one of my personal favorites, this is a perfect choice for those morning tailgate parties for games that start in the early afternoon. Take a steak, throw it on the grill, and once it is about five minutes away from being fully cooked, crack a couple of eggs over it and let them cook like fried eggs on top of the meat. Once the eggs are done, get a large bun and enjoy. You probably won't want to eat again until the game is over.
10. Midwestern Style Beer Brats: These brats are perfect for tailgating in cold weather, and if your team is playing a game in the Upper Midwest in November, this is one recipe that will come in handy. Brats are universally accepted as synonymous with tailgating no matter where you are, or where the game is being played, so no list of top 10 tailgating foods would be complete with them.
S. Holmes Bishop is an Oklahoma Sooners fan since childhood, anxiously anticipating another OU National Championship. He is also a connoisseur of Southern BBQ flavors.
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