You know, for the tailgate party.
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a college town, you’ll be schlepping the entire party with you, so the more you can prepare at home, the better. The key to tailgating is to plan ahead.
Even though an estimated 95% of our tailgaters prepare their food at the stadium, anything you can make ahead will free you up for more fun on game day. But being a good Boy Scout (is there a tailgating merit badge?) by being prepared, doesn’t limit you to boring pre-fab snack food, either.
Here are some tips for simplifying your tailgate prep:
- Be true to your school. Garnish dips in school colors: for Hawkeye yellow, try saffron, curry or turmeric. For the team from Ames, Tomato Powder, paprika, or red pepper flakes each lend a zippy taste and a Cyclone red tint to any dish.
- If you can’t beat ’em, eat ’em. Plan a menu that incorporates the regional cuisine of that weekend’s opponent: Fried Green Tomatoes for a southern team, Spicy Apple Cider for northern ones. Kielbasa or beer-simmered sausages for Wisconsin [or anywhere in the upper Midwest, dontcha know].
- Smoke your opponents. There are so many different varieties of barbeque to celebrate — or slow-roast — teams from Texas, Kansas City, Memphis, and the southeastern US. Check out our different blends and rubs, or make your own secret sauce recipe from our many ingredients.
- Prepare for the worst. If your alma mater chokes, have simple sweet desserts ready to soothe the sorrow: brownies, ice cream, cookies – and give them an adult twist of Espresso Brava Salt, Cacao Nibs, or spicy chile pepper.
What are your must-have tailgate foods? Do you have sure-fire recipes you bring to every tailgate party? Let us know in the comments, or share your recipes at this link. Thanks!
Photos: Library of Congress on flickr