There are very few things I love more then a great football tailgate. Beer, burgers and rowdy fans; what’s better then that? It’s the only moment when winners and losers are irrelevant and we can just celebrate and gear up for the hopefully victorious game.
I have been going to New York Giants games with my dad for the past twenty years and our crew puts on an epic tailgate. You need to be an expert to know how to work the food game plan. Everything is homemade, and everything is delicious. It begins with spicy buffalo wings, sausage and pepper sandwiches and gumbo (yup,gumbo). If it’s a 1pm kick off, they make breakfast sandwiches for good measure. Next, the burgers (cheese or regular) and hotdogs make their way onto the grill. But I hold out for the good stuff, the skirt steak sandwiches. And finally for dessert, s’mores are concocted on the grill, which drives the little kids wild.
There’s a fully stocked bar situation, with Bloody Mary’s to start off the game, coolers full of a variety of beers, and all of the liquor you could imagine. In our tailgate tradition, the gigantic bottle of Patron comes out right before we head into the stadium, with the entire crew toasting to the Giants victory before heading inside to our respective seats.
The key to making an amazing tailgate is serious night before prep. The boys who run our tailgate are sure to marinate the steaks, cook down the peppers and onions for sausage sandwiches, and bake spicy buffalo wings. All of the meat is cooked on site, and everything else from the night before is re-heated. It’s a multiple grill process and the result is pure perfection. Here’s a few similar recipes you should be sure to try out for your next game day. Don’t forget to stock up on condiments, good Italian sandwich rolls, and lots and lots of beer.
Spicy Buffalo Wings
These are perfect for the beginning of the tailgate while everyone starts to arrive. Cook at home and transport to the game in a aluminum tray. Reheat at the game by placing the tray on the grill until the wings are warmed through. serve with blue cheese/ranch.
2 lb chicken wings
1 1/2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon cayenne
2 sticks butter
1 bottle Frank’s Red Hot (12oz Bottle)
Tabasco Sauce to taste
Blue Cheese Dressing/Ranch on the Side
- Heat the oven to 425°. In a large bowl, combine the wings, oil, garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt, and the cayenne. Arrange the wings in a single layer on two large baking sheets. Bake until just done, about 25 minutes.
- While the chicken is cooking melt 2 sticks of butter (1cup) in a medium-sized saucepan. To it add one 12-ounce bottle of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce (a.k.a. “Louisiana Hot Sauce” or “Cayenne Pepper Sauce”). Stir well until combined. Next you will add Tabasco sauce to your preferred temperature. I usually like 12 to 13 shakes.
- When the chicken has cooked for about 25 minutes, in small batches begin placing the cooked wings into the sauce to coat. Give them a good stir until thoroughly coated. Place them in a serving bowl. Repeat until all of the chicken is coated with sauce and ready to eat.
- Serve with carrots and celery and ranch or blue cheese dip.
Homemade Bloody Mary’s
These are the best for those 1pm games (but I’ll still enjoy a good Bloody any time of the day). All you need is a gigantic container (buy here). Fill this with any mixed drinks, but we find Bloody Marys are always a fan favorite. You can easily buy a mix and add vodka, but it’s a little more fun to make your own.
1 tablespoon celery seeds
3 tablespoons grated fresh or prepared horseradish
2 quarts tomato juice, chilled
2 tablespoons hot sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups pepper vodka, chilled in the freezerDirections:
- Combine the lime juice, celery seed, and horseradish in a pitcher
- Muddle the mixture with the end of a wooden spoon to blend and break up the celery seeds
- Pour in the tomato juice, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce; season with salt and pepper
- Stir everything together to combine
- Add Vodka
- Serve on Ice
Asian Marinated Skirt Steak Sandwiches
Easiest and best thing to serve at a tailgate. Just marinate the steaks the night before, and grill up at the game. Serve with Italian Rolls and everyone leaves full and happy.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
4 scallions, washed and cut in 1/2
2 large cloves garlic
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar or Mexican brown sugar
2 pounds inside skirt steak, cut into 3 equal pieces
- In a blender, put in oil, soy sauce, scallions, garlic, lime juice, red pepper, cumin, and sugar and puree.
- In a large heavy duty, zip top bag, put pieces of skirt steak and pour in marinade. Seal bag, removing as much air as possible.
- Allow steak to marinate for at least 1 hour in refrigerator.
- Grill on a steaks for 4-5 minutes per side, until medium rare.
- Allow the meat to rest for a few minutes before slicing along the grain.
Italian Sausage, Pepper & Onion Sandwiches
Create the pepper and onion mixture at home, and store in an aluminum tray. Reheat the onions and pepper mixture at the game, and serve adjacent to the grilled sausages with an Italian roll. People can build their own sandwiches. These are a little fancier then a traditional hot dog, and are sure to please.
1 lb smoked sausage, sliced into quarters then lengthwise
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
1 orange bell pepper, sliced
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup beer
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, I used Jack Daniels
4 hoagie rolls
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat.
- Add onions and peppers to the skillet and saute until tender and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Stir in the tomato paste, beer, and BBQ sauce. Cook for a few minutes.
- Grill Sausages, according to package directions.
- Slice the bread open, put on sheet tray, and toast on the grill, while the sausage is cooking
- Serve Onions/Peppers together, Sausages, and Toasted Rolls, allowing for people to build their own sandwich
Happy Tailgating! Let’s go Blue!