(Family Features) Just like your favorite sports team, hosting a winning big-game party or tailgate takes planning, preparation and teamwork. To make your festivities fun-filled, remember these entertaining tips that are sure to score big with your fans.
Scatter the refreshments. Help direct movement and traffic flow by setting up food stations. Using different rooms or areas helps prevent congestion and encourages guests to mingle. Try placing finger foods and other appetizers in a couple of locations, beverages in another area and desserts in yet another space.
Embrace variety. Take into account taste preferences and dietary needs, and have an assortment of food and drinks available. Offer spicy options along with less seasoned dishes, both indulgent and better-for-you treats, plus an array of beverages for drinkers and non-drinkers alike.
Build your roster. If your party is a potluck, encourage guests to sign up for dishes so you don’t end up with multiple versions of the same thing. Create a discussion group online, or simply ask guests to indicate what they’ll bring along with their RSVP.
Don’t forget the dips. Wings are a tailgating staple, and dips are a great way to complement those zesty flavors or cool the heat, but you may find yourself in a team rivalry when it comes to the preferred dip at the game day bash: ranch or bleu cheese dressing? Both pair well with a range of wing flavors, so these dips are sure to be crowd pleasers. The delicious combination of fresh herb and vegetable flavors make Litehouse Homestyle Ranch a perfect party choice, and Litehouse Chunky Bleu Cheese features fresh buttermilk, homemade mayonnaise and a blend of spices as the backdrop for award-winning artisan blue cheese chunks that will make your fellow sports fans cheer for more.
Expand on tradition. Tailgating is a time-honored tradition, and the food lineup is often based on familiar fare. Along with those fan favorites, don’t be afraid to put some new flavors into play, such as these Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings that add a tangy ethnic flair to traditional wings.
Find more game day recipes at LitehouseFoods.com.
Sticky Sesame Chicken Wings
Yield: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 20 chicken wings
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon Litehouse Instantly Fresh Garlic
- 3 tablespoons water, divided
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- sliced green onions, for garnish
- sesame seeds, for garnish
- celery sticks (optional)
- Litehouse Homestyle Ranch and Chunky Bleu Cheese Dressing
- Heat oven to 400° F.
- In large bag, combine flour and salt. Add chicken wings and shake to coat. Discard any leftover flour.
- Line baking sheet with foil and spray with pan spray of your choice. Place wings in single layer on baking sheet.
- Bake wings 40-45 minutes, turning halfway through.
- In sauce pan over medium heat, combine soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, 2 tablespoons water and brown sugar. Whisk together remaining water and cornstarch, and pour into sauce. Bring to boil then simmer until thickened.
- When wings are done, toss with sauce, garnish with green onion and sesame seeds, and serve with celery sticks, ranch and bleu cheese dressing.
Source: Litehouse, Inc.
(Family Features) When the clock ticks down toward game day and you’re putting together a snacking plan of attack, turn to recipes like these that you and your guests can savor for all four quarters of action.
With different choices to draft from, there’s no need for a superstar main course at the center of the meal. Instead, rely on options like customizable brats and pulled pork sandwiches, baked chicken wings and game-day dips for winners all around.
Find more recipes for hosting game day at Culinary.net.
Top Your Tailgate
Take your tailgate or home viewing party to the next level by setting up a topping station with a variety of both traditional and unexpected condiments and garnishes to let your fellow fans customize their grilled fare. Include options such as:
- Ketchup and mustard (with flavor variations for added zing)
- Sauerkraut or cole slaw
- Chopped fresh and grilled onions
- Chili (homemade or from a can)
- Pickle spears and relish
- Barbecue sauce
- Assorted shredded and crumbled cheeses
- A variety of peppers
A Game-Day Winner
Game time is no time to mess around when it comes to fast, savory snacks. Crispy and light, tangy and bold, these wings have you covered for all your game-day needs. These spicy hot wings pair perfectly with Litehouse Chunky Blue Cheese or Homestyle Ranch Dressing and may result in another game day rivalry: blue cheese vs. ranch. Whether you’re hosting the game-day party or bringing a dish to a friend’s bash, these wings can make mouths water from the opening kickoff to the final whistle. Find more game-day recipes at litehousefoods.com.
Crispy Baked Buffalo Chicken Wings
Total time: 1 hour, 25 minutes
- 4 pounds chicken wings
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- nonstick cooking spray
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
- 1/2 cup Litehouse Chunky Blue Cheese or Homestyle Ranch dressing
- 1/3 cup Litehouse Blue Cheese Crumbles
- Lay wings on rack on rimmed baking tray and let dry in refrigerator overnight, or pat dry with paper towels.
- Heat oven to 250° F. Put one oven shelf in lower quarter of oven and one in top quarter.
- Place wings in large re-sealable bag. Add baking powder and salt. Shake bag to coat wings evenly.
- Line tray with foil. Spray rack on baking tray with nonstick spray. Place wings skin side up on rack. Bake on lower shelf 30 minutes.
- Move tray to higher shelf and turn oven up to 425° F. Bake 40-50 minutes, rotating tray halfway through. Wings are done when they are dark, golden brown and skin is crispy.
- While wings bake, whisk together butter and hot sauce; keep warm.
- Remove wings from oven and toss with hot sauce; sprinkle immediately with blue cheese crumbles. Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing, carrots and celery sticks.
Dip into Game Day
Game day is about huddling up with friends and family, and feeling good about the food you share. Kick off the big game with Sabra, the official dip of the NFL, and help the crowd go wild when you put a twist on traditional hummus by topping it with bruschetta. Available in more than a dozen flavors, Sabra Hummus is made with fresh chickpeas, a touch of garlic and smooth tahini, making it a wholesome and delicious accompaniment for your favorite game-day chips, crackers and veggies. Find more big-game recipes at sabra.com.
Prep time: 5 minutes
- 2 cups multi-colored cherry tomatoes
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 10 fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus additional (optional)
- salt, to taste
- container Sabra Classic Hummus (10 ounces)
- To make bruschetta: Cut cherry tomatoes into quarters or eighths, if large. Place in small mixing bowl. Stir in garlic, basil and olive oil, and season with salt, to taste.
- Scoop hummus out of container and swirl onto serving plate. Top with bruschetta and drizzle with touch of olive oil, if desired. Serve with fresh vegetables or pita chips.
A Heaping Handheld
Snack like a champion during the big game with recipes that please palates without overfilling like these Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches. Since guests can pile their sandwiches as high as they like with sweet pork and optional toppings, there’s no need to worry about serving sizes. Find more honey-infused recipes for tasty meal solutions at honey.com.
Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches with Honey Barbecue Sauce
Recipe courtesy of the National Honey Board
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bone-in pork shoulder roast (4 pounds)
- 2 cups hickory chips
- 1 cup water
- 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
- 1 1/2 cups honey
- 1 cup ketchup
- 8-10 rolls
- chopped jalapeno peppers (optional)
- chopped onion (optional)
- chopped pickles (optional)
- To make Pork Rub: Stir together sugar, chili powder, paprika, seasoned salt, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, cumin, pepper and cayenne pepper.
- Massage Pork Rub over surface of pork and let stand 30 minutes.
- Soak hickory chips in water; drain well. Wrap chips in foil; punch holes in foil and place on top of gas grill set on high. When chips begin to smoke, place pork on grill and cook until well browned on all sides with lid closed, about 30-45 minutes.
- Heat oven to 300° F.
- Remove pork from grill and place in turkey-size oven bag set in large, shallow baking dish. Add water and seal well; pierce bag several times with small knife. Cook 3-3 1/2 hours, or until meat is tender and pork bone can be removed easily. Remove from oven. Remove bone and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Shred meat into small pieces, removing fat. Add juices from cooking bag, skimming off excess fat.
- In separate saucepan, stir together barbecue sauce, honey and ketchup, cooking until hot and honey has dissolved. Stir most of sauce into shredded pork and mix well.
- Serve on rolls and drizzle with remaining sauce. Top with jalapenos, onions and pickles, if desired.
Photos courtesy of Getty Images (Brats and Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwiches)
Quick and tasty ideas for game day
(Family Features) Take your tailgating game to new heights this season with fresh dishes that are easy to make and serve, whether your tailgating tradition takes place at the game or at home.
Fast prep times and short ingredient lists make these recipes a cinch to prepare in advance and have ready to go as soon as you reach the parking lot or before guests arrive. The star ingredients are naturally hardwood-smoked sausages and seasoned deli meats from Eckrich, which offers a variety of smoked sausage flavors in traditional ropes and bun-length links as well as gluten-free deli meats such as Black Forest ham and oven-roasted turkey, all with just the right blend of seasonings for a rich, savory taste.
You can switch up the flavors of these recipes by subbing in different varieties of smoked sausage, such as replacing the original rope-style smoked sausage with Eckrich Jalapeno & Cheddar Links. The roll-ups are also easy to customize for guests using any type of deli meat, and they’re easy to enjoy on the go if you need a quick bite on the way to the stadium.
Tailgate Like a Pro
Try New Toppings
Smoked sausage and deli meats are easy to add to a bun for an instant meal, and there's plenty of ways to dress your tailgate menu up or down based upon the preferences of your guests. Be sure to keep some basics on hand for those who prefer traditional preparation, but for the more adventurous types, try out these ideas for toppings that create a new dimension of flavor.
- Grilled onion
- Grilled peppers
- Grilled, roasted or sauteed mushrooms
- Spicy mustard
- Flavored ketchup (think spicy, fruity or sweet)
- Ethnic flavors like curry or marinara sauce
- Hot sauce
- Roasted corn relish
- Crumbled or shredded cheese
- Bacon crumbles
- Repurpose coffee filters as holders for your sandwiches. They're easy to hold and help keep your favorite toppings contained.
- Up-cycle an empty six-pack container into a convenient cookout caddy to hold napkins, condiments and utensils. Not only is it quick to grab and place on the table, but it helps keep napkins from blowing away in a breeze.
- For kabobs, keep wooden skewers from charring by soaking them in water before threading on ingredients.
- Prepare toppings the night before and arrange them in a disposable foil pan for a quick and easy DIY topping bar.
Million Dollar Moment
This season, Eckrich – the official smoked sausage and deli meat sponsor of the College Football Playoff – is once again hosting the Road to the National Championship sweepstakes. Fans around the country will have the chance to make a 20-yard throw for $1 million at some of the biggest college football games of the season, including the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta. Visit EckrichFootball.com for your chance to win.
Find more game-day recipes at Eckrich.com.
Grilled Sausage Skewer Sandwiches
Cook time: 15 minutes
- 1 regular size package Eckrich Smoked Sausage
- 1 small red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 6 wooden skewers, 10 inches long
- 1/2 cup Italian salad dressing, divided
- 6 bolillo or sandwich rolls, split
- 1 avocado, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
- Heat grill to medium-high.
- Cut sausage into 1/2-inch thick slices. Thread sausage, onion and bell peppers alternately onto skewers. Brush 1/4 cup salad dressing on skewered sausage and vegetables.
- Grill until sausage is golden brown and vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10 minutes, turning once.
- Brush remaining salad dressing on rolls. Fill rolls with grilled sausage and vegetables. Divide avocado and cilantro onto each.
Tip: To broil sausage rather than grill, heat broiler to medium-high, follow the same skewer preparation instructions and broil about 10 minutes, or until sausage is golden brown and vegetables are crisp-tender.
Ham and Turkey Roll-ups
Cook time: 10 minutes
- 4 ounces Eckrich Deli Oven Roasted Turkey Breast
- 4 ounces Eckrich Deli Black Forest Ham
- lettuce leaves
- 2 tablespoons chunky guacamole
- 1/4 cup chopped cucumbers
- 1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese
- 2 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
- Layer turkey and ham slices. Layer lettuce, guacamole, cucumber, cheese and bacon crumbles. Roll meat and secure with toothpick.
Potato Salad with Smoked Sausage
Cook time: 30 minutes
- 3/4 regular size package Eckrich Smoked Sausage, halved lengthwise, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
- 3 small red potatoes (about 2 1/2 pounds), cooked and quartered
- 1 can (4 ounces) pitted ripe olives, drained and halved
- 2 cups Italian dressing
- 1 green onion, sliced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- In large skillet over medium heat, cook sausage 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in potatoes; cook until heated through, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Add olives, dressing, onions, garlic and pepper; mix lightly.
(Family Features) It’s not just a Spanish, tapas-style thing anymore. At all different types of bars and restaurants across the United States, you’ll find menus that continue to explore ways to feature favorite foods – like pork – in more bite-sized, snack-able ways. Beyond the walls of those eateries, street vendors, food booths and food trucks also are featuring portable, easy-to-eat dishes like kabobs and sliders.
One of the great things about street food is that it’s typically an easy way to sample a variety of dishes and global flavors without having to travel far or sit down to a formal meal – which is what makes these on-the-go options the perfect choice for your next tailgate, especially if juicy, tender pork is on your menu.
Whether at the game or in your backyard, a tailgate party is the perfect opportunity to share small but tasty plates with your neighbors, friends and family – perfect bites to enjoy while keeping a close eye on the action on the field.
Spicy Korean Pork Skewers deliver snack-sized game-winning flavor without a lot of preparation time, and without messy plates and silverware, the clean-up is something to cheer about, too. Marinated in an Asian sauce that gets a bold kick from chili garlic, soy and fresh ginger, bite-sized cubes of pork ribs are skewered and then grilled for an unbeatable addition to your game-day spread.
If you want to keep your menu authentic, serve these Korean pork skewers with white rice. Combine them with other small-plate pork dishes to offer your guests a variety of great-tasting choices.
Spicy Korean Pork Skewers
- 2 pounds boneless country-style pork ribs, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup chili garlic sauce*
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 2 inches fresh ginger root, skins removed and chopped (or substitute 2 teaspoons ground ginger)
- 4 tablespoons filtered sake or dry sherry (optional)
- 2 tablespoons sesame oil*
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- In large bowl combine chili garlic sauce, soy sauce, ginger, sake, sesame oil and brown sugar and whisk to form a marinade. Add pork to marinade and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Heat indoor grill pan or outdoor grill to medium-high heat.
- Thread marinated pork on skewers, about four to five pieces per skewer. Transfer skewers to grill and cook uncovered, turning to brown evenly every two to three minutes until tender, about 10 minutes total. Serve immediately.
*You can find chili garlic sauce and sesame oil in the ethnic or Asian section of most major supermarkets.
Quick Tip: Make sure to leave plenty of room on the grill between each skewer to avoid overcrowding the meat and to ensure even cooking.
Source: National Pork Board
(Family Features) For millions of football fans, the grill is as important as the gridiron when enjoying a weekend of games. There’s nothing like team spirit, the anticipation of kickoff and the smell of a delicious pregame tailgate wafting through the stadium parking lot.
National barbecue expert Rocky Stubblefield of Stubb’s Legendary Bar-B-Q offers tips and recipes for game day grilling that will have the whole crowd cheering.
Keep it simple
Stubblefield says anything that cooks fast on the grill is great for tailgating – burgers, hotdogs, chicken – and to bring on the flavor without having to pack a carload of ingredients, use sauces, rubs and marinades. Prepare as much food as you can ahead of time and have a checklist for the things you always need but are easy to forget, like napkins and tin foil.
For perfectly shaped, evenly cooked burgers, make a thumbprint in the middle of each patty before grilling. Amp up the flavor by rubbing your burgers with Stubb’s Bar-B-Q rub before putting them on the grill – just like you would a brisket or ribs. No matter what you’re making, wait to put the sauce on until the very end of grilling to avoid charring and burning.
For dozens of easy, delicious tailgating recipes, visit stubbsbbq.com.
Toasted Pecan Burgers
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1/4 cup chopped red onion
- 1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped green bell pepper
- 3 tablespoons Stubb’s Original Bar-B-Q Sauce
- 2 tablespoons Stubb’s Bar-B-Q Spice Rub
- Mix together chuck, onion, pecans, bell pepper, sauce and rub. Shape into 4 patties.
- Prepare grill for direct cooking. When coals are ashed over in charcoal grill, spread them in bottom of grill so food can cook directly over coals.
- Grill burgers over direct, medium heat, first on one side then the other, 7-10 minutes, until they reach desired doneness. Medium burgers register an internal temperature of 160° F.
- Serve with your favorite burger toppings on toasted buns.
Smokey Stuffed Jalapenos with Bacon
- 1/2 pound uncooked chorizo
- 16 ounces cream cheese
- 24 fresh jalapenos, halved and seeded
- 24 slices bacon (about 2 pounds), halved
- 1 cup Stubb’s Smokey Mesquite Bar-B-Q Sauce
- Heat skillet to medium heat and prepare grill for direct cooking.
- Remove chorizo casing and cook in skillet over medium heat until cooked through. Transfer cooked chorizo to paper towel-lined plate to drain and cool.
- Mix cream cheese and chorizo.
- Stuff each jalapeno half with cream cheese mixture. Wrap with half strip of bacon and secure with toothpick.
- Place peppers on grill and cook 8-10 minutes, turning frequently. Baste peppers with sauce during last 2 minutes of cooking.
Source: Stubb's Legendary Bar-B-Q
- 1 pound Bob Evans Original roll sausage
- 1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
- 1 can (4.5 ounces) chopped green chiles
- 1 package (1.25 ounces) taco seasoning mix
- 1 container (16 ounces) sour cream
- 1 jar (11 ounces) salsa
- 1 can (6 ounces) sliced black olives
- 1 large tomato, diced
- 1 bunch green onions, chopped
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded Mexican cheese blend
- Tortilla chips
- In large skillet over medium heat, crumble and cook sausage until browned. Stir in beans, chilies and taco seasoning mix.
- Spread sausage mix into 7 x 11-inch serving dish. Top with sour cream, then salsa. Sprinkle olives, tomato and onion on top. Cover with cheese.
- Serve immediately with chips. Refrigerate leftovers.
Notes, Tips & Suggestions
Whether you're hosting a watch party, or headed to a tailgate, having the right foods for the big game is crucial. Use these appetizer, side dish and dessert ideas to kick game time up a notch and try this recipe for a delicious dip that will be the hit of the season.