Welcome back to my two-part series on Tailgating. The first post talked about logistics. Today’s concentrates on the food.
There are a few things that impact your tailgate menu:
1) Game time – is it time for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner?
2) Distance traveling to the game – can dishes be made at home and carried to the game warm vs cooked on site?
3) Who’s the opponent – this one is purely optional, but fun. One friend’s tailgating crew determines their menu by their opponent – so if they’re playing Arkansas they serve pork. Against Ball State they served all balls – meatballs, sausage balls, melon balls ( you get the idea). I personally like the idea of serving a special cocktail based on the opponent.
Whatever you’re serving, it’s best to serve dishes that can be eaten with a minimum of utensils. Think – easy to eat standing up.
- Breakfast Casserole – the traditional bread, sausage and egg casserole that you put together the night before, and cook before you leave. It only takes a fork, so it’s easy to eat standing up.
- Breakfast burritos – depending on time, make the ingredients before you leave, or take a cast iron pan to use with your grill. Assemble on site. Don’t forget the salsa and sour cream for condiments.
- Pancakes – can be made and kept warm or cooked on site
- Pigs in a blanket – can be made in advance and eaten cold, with your hands
- Biscuits-can be made in advance and, obviously, eaten with your hands. Heck, a bag full of Chick-fil-a chicken biscuits will work that early!
- Muffins – easy, make ahead, hand-held treats
- Offer juices, vodka and champagne to make Mimosas/Screwdrivers/Cape Cods, Bloody Mary’s
Lunch and later
- Sliders – small, easy to eat try BBQ pork, mini burgers, even Cajun meatloaf .
- Fajitas – Assemble your own, after cooking on the grill.
- Burgers, Dogs and Brauts – of course – try Stuffed Burgers for a fun surprise.
- Boiled shrimp or a low country boil – just dump it out on a paper covered table, peel and eat – easy cleanup too!
- Ribs – boil/bake them first at home and finish them on the grill to cut down on on-site cooking time.
- Chili – can be made in advance and heated up on site.
- and of course sandwiches – made at home or picked up on the way.
and to go with them?
- Orzo Salad (for a gluten Free option substitute Quinoa)
- Texas Cole Slaw
- Mexican Corn – boil the corn for 10 minutes at home and finish them on the grill, on site.
- Potato Salad
- Creamy Cole Slaw
For munchies – cold dips are always a great option. Serve with chip, crackers or sliced veggies.
For desserts – stick to individual portions
When packing up your food, keep prepared and raw food in separate coolers to avoid cross contamination, and take extra care to keep mayonnaise dips and sides cool.
I hope this has given you a few ideas. I’d love to hear about your favorite tailgate dishes!