Tailgate Food

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Tailgate Food

Nothing quite says football like some true tailgate food, and as much pleasure is gained from the feeling of community around the back of a truck before the game as when you’re in the thick of the crowd inside the stadium. Tailgating, in its traditional sense of food prepared at the stadium before the game, becomes less popular as the season progresses and the temperatures start to fall, but you can still enjoy a get-together at your house with a similar focus on food.

At the Game

Photo courtesy of TexasCooking.com

Part of what makes outdoor food special is that it is all part of the anticipation of a big game. It is possible to buy a barbeque which attaches to the tailgate of your truck and runs either from the electric system of your car or from a small portable gas tank. This will allow you to cook all sorts of meat as you would do at home. This also gives you the ability to heat up cold food, meaning that you can prepare things in advance. Above all, tailgate food at a football game needs to be things you can eat with your fingers:

  • Dips – A wide selection of chips makes for a successful tailgate party at a game, as they are easy to eat and make a great accompaniment for beer. A homemade dip improves these traditional snacks even more. A simple spicy salsa will work well for a cold day, while a bean dip is good if you want a filling side dish. You could also make a layered dip if you have time, which combines salsa, guacamole, refried beans and sour cream and gives you a nacho taste.

  • Philly cheesesteak sandwiches – An all-time favorite tailgate food, you can enjoy these sandwiches with cold pre-cooked steak from home or steaming hot from the barbeque. The trick either way is to let the heat of the meat melt the cheese inside the sandwich, so if you’re making these at the game, give yourself plenty of time to cook the steak thoroughly.

  • Burgers – burgers are the simplest food to have at a game, and you can heat them up or grill them from fresh without too much difficulty. Make sure you bring a good selection of sauces, salads and cheese, as well as enough buns to go round. If you want to be creative, make “Meatloaf Burgers” by using your favorite meatloaf recipe, then forming patties and grilling on an aluminum foil-covered grill. Yum!

At Home

If you’ve not managed to get tickets for the big game, or you just prefer to watch it from the comfort of your own home, preparing tailgate food for a party at home gives you a lot more options:

  • Beef stew – the cold weather makes people crave warm and filling dishes, and a rich beef stew is easy to make, serve and eat while the game is playing.

  • Mac and cheese – A tailgate party is all about filling food and simple tastes, which is what makes mac and cheese a good choice. For a bit of a kick, add some paprika or chili powder, while those who want a more healthy option should try putting some crunchy green vegetables, such as broccoli or peas, in to the mix.

  • Enchiladas – Mexican food goes down well at tailgate parties, and having access to an oven means that making enchiladas is easy. You can make them ahead of time or allow your guests to choose their own fillings. Make sure you cater for a vegetarian option as well as serving chili beef or chicken. Give a twist by making a green chili chicken enchilada in a 9x13 cake pan, layered like lasagna.

Regardless of what kind of tailgate food you decide to make, you need to make sure that you make more food than you think you need, as people tend to eat more snack food than they would if they are eating a sit down meal.

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