The Tailgate Knight’s Superbowl Tailgate Snacks
As we get all excited about the Superbowl, a lot of attention is given to the game itself, what to expect and who will win. Being the biggest game, there is so much more to it, such as food and drink to get us through the wee hours of the morning. We asked Adam, our resident tailgate expert and author of two books on the subject, to share his tips, advice and recipe ideas for this weekend, whether you are hosting or going to a Superbowl party! Take it away The Tailgate Knight..
The best way to watch the Superbowl (other than being at the big game of course) is to go to a Superbowl party, or better yet, host one yourself. Now, any decent Superbowl party starts with great tailgate food and here are some of my favourites that you can cook up nice and quickly.
But first some tips for your Superbowl party!
- For me, the tailgate is all about being social, so make sure you serve up plenty of food that can be shared in nice big bowls. i.e don’t just make one burger for each person and be done. Continued snacking is the ONLY way the game can be viewed properly.
- A tailgate takes place in the car park of American football stadiums, where cutlery is more of a nuisance than a necessity, so make things that don’t need cutlery.
- Serve the food in those tin foil trays with lids, so that the food remains warm, so your guests can go back and grab another mouthful. BBQ pulled pork is not great cold.
- Have lots of ice. A 3.5 hour game means that your 50 beers will get to room temperature by the second half, and that’s no good.
- Turn your lounge into a sports bar, and truck out your room with as much NFL gear as possible, even if it is your embarrassing #1 draft pick bust jersey, get it out and put it somewhere, your dog, your wife or use it a as table cloth…whatever. All NFL trinkets are welcome on this day. (Apart from Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson jerseys/figurines)
- Lots of your crew probably won’t be rooting for either team, so you need to keep the neutrals happy (on top of piling them with booze and food of course). Play Superbowl games, such as Superbowl Squares (google it) or your own version of a Superbowl bingo. Or try tailgate classics such as beer pong and cornhole if you have the space.
Now that you have booked the next day off work, got plenty of ice, and turned your lounge into a NFL Shop advert, it is time to get grilling! Note: No one says ‘cooking’ on the Black Top; (the name for sacred concrete asphalt where the tailgate parties occur). Every one either says they are BBQs or grilling even if they are doing neither and are in fact “cooking”.
- It is always good to have food represented from both the cities at a Superbowl party. Both Seattle and New England are famous for their seafood. So feel free to throw in as much prawns and clams as possible.
- Seattle is also famous for coffee but I wouldn’t serve that until your guests have to drive home.
- New England is also famous for their own style of baked beans. This is not straight out of a tin from Heinz. This New England style of Baked Beans takes hours to cook and is often cooked with bacon! Very hearty indeed.
- Name your dishes or menu to coincide with the team or the players: Eg the 12th Man ribs or the Brady Munch
- Where possible put the team colours on the food e.g. put some Seahawk green food dye on the pastry to be wrapped around sausages, or only serve up red, blue and white Skittles to annoy any Seahawk fans.
- Dress the food to look like anything that may resemble a football, or a stadium. One easy way is to put “football laces” on any flat cake dish with spray cream, cream cheese or sour cream.
Some easy recipes to get you started:
Artichoke and Spinach Dip, serve with Pita chips or Tortillas crisps.
I don’t care if you thought all tailgate food had to be meat based and that you have never eaten these two vegetables before. This is a bad ass tailgate dish and is perfect for watching the game, as it stays warm for a long time and it only takes 25 minutes to make.
Whack 300g of frozen spinach (though cut it up into little pieces once defrosted) into a cooking dish (an oval football shaped one would be best). Cut up artichokes from a tin and add to the bowl. Throw in as much grated mozzarella and grated parmesan as humanly possible. Sprinkle in some white spice, a dash of lemon juice and mix it thoroughly. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 C. Add some left over parmesan and put that on the top and return it to the oven to bubble for five minutes. Serve it up and let your guests just peck away at it with pita chips or crisps. If it gets cold, then just put it back in the oven for a few minutes at half time.
Now anyone can grate some cheese, spread it over some tortilla crisps and oven/burn them, but your guests have come to a Superbowl party, where the rule is: Go Big or go home and don’t burn the tortillas. This recipe gives you the melted cheese without the potential to burn the tortillas.
Get buckets of tortilla crisps. If you search you can get them in blue and red for those Patriot fans. Lay them on a football shaped dish. Put a knob of butter, two table spoons of flour and 300ml of milk in a saucepan with a ton of grated cheese that will melt, such as cheddar. If you use a cheese made by Kraft (Robert Kraft owns the Patriots) you get an extra point.
While that is melting griddle/fry up mince meat, garlic, chopped onion, peppers and chilli powder. Add some kidney beans after five minutes and simmer. Pour the melted cheese on the tortillas. Then put the warm beef mince on top. Then put on the some finely chopped fresh tomatoes and onions. Add a dollop of sour cream or everyone’s favourite Superbowl dip, the mighty guacamole…and wholla!
Side note: You can serve your own guacamole, in a flat dish, and as it is green , by carefully places a string of soured cream you can make a mini gridiron!
1.25 billion chicken wings get eaten on Superbowl Sunday in America alone, so you know this is a staple of the Superbowl party. Though don’t go easy and get pre-marinated frozen wings to just oven up…This will not do. In the U.K wings come usually deep fried or BBQ, so get creative and make your own sauce.
Search for “naked” wings. These are the wings (sometimes with drumettes too) that have no flavouring added thus far. Buy a lot of them! Marinade them in either a favourite bbq sauce/ marinade or be brave and make up your own from scratch. Personally I like to make it a Teriyaki wing by marinating them in soy, honey and a touch of garlic for a good hour. Then oven up those bad boys up, though it is better to BBQ them if you have access to that. Or you grill them. Serve with celery and carrot sticks with some all American ranch dressing. Or you can fry the wings naked or in a rub and then add the sauce once cooked.
Basically there are lots of ways to do wings so don’t be lazy.
Your guests will notice that you have gone the extra yard for this party by keeping it football themed. They will return the favour by not blocking your toilet.
While a lot of beer will be consumed don’t just get cheap British beer like Carling. While you will certainly get extra points for bringing in craft beer, please be warned. While I recommend Tailgate Beer, and even the Dodgy Knight beer that has my face on it (http://tailgatebeer.com/dodgy-knight/) craft beer can be very strong and with a 3.5 hour game and at least 2 hours of pre-game partying, your guests will be passed out drunk before the half time show.
Although it is usually embarrassing to get “stadium” beer (American pissy light beer), this is the one night you can get away with it, as long as it is American. Coors Light will not get you mocked on this night. It is American, sponsors the NFL, the Rockies go blue when it is cold, and your guests can pound it all night and now get too drunk.
[Editors note: Harvieston do an American IPA called The Ridge which has a mouse in football gear!]
If you do go craft, or import, then you will get brownie points by getting in brands from Seattle and New England. If you have a guest from either of these Cities and you surprise them with a brew from their home State they will high five you all night. In fact if you get a local brew from any American city, any Americans in the party will love you forever, well until it is time to clear up.
Superbowls (apart from the oddity in New Jersey) are played in hot party towns, New Orleans, Miami and err Glendale, Arizona, and Americans love to party with a Margarita. At a Superbowl you will see many men knocking Margaritas back in an array of colours, while their wives neck a bottle of beer. You can buy packed Margaritas in various colours and flavours that you just freeze at home and pour into a fancy glass. If you have a good blender and even more ice then feel free to make your own!
For the non alcoholic drinks, again I would stick with the staples of America. Dr. Pepper , Cherry Coke and Arizona Ice Tea. Though if you want to blow the mind of a non alcoholic drinking Seattle fan, import a few bottles of Jones’ Soda. S This Seattle soda company makes flavours in the Seahawk colours. Add some Seahawk Skittles to the mix and you have one happy 12th Man fan.
Patriot fans are way harder to please. Basically to get a Patriots fan to have the same enthusiasm at your party as this sugared up Seahawk fan you would probably have to bring over Gisele. Though they would still be upset with you if Brady chokes on a game winning drive. They will blame you for hosting his wife at your party when she could have been cheering him on in the stands.
If any one cooks up any great Superbowl dishes feel free to tweet me over a pic.
I will be hosting a Superbowl party at the Pipeline bar in London. Tickets are £10 which includes a meal and there are lots of fun prizes to be won. Sadly I don’t get to the cooking but I’m told it is a good Superbowl meal!
Adam’s book The Tailgate Rises, all about his tailgate hosting adventure, is available as an ebook on Kindle for under £3!