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The Art of Tailgating: Game Day Food

September 14, 2010

Certain foods are just meant to paired with football. Chili, hamburgers and hotdogs are tailgate staples. I’m also a big fan of anything football shaped or foods that can be made to match team colors. (Although we’re a bit limited with blue foods, I still try!)

Game Day Menu:

Tortilla Chips & Salsa

Taco Salad



Hot Dogs

Baked Potatoes

Baked Beans



Tailgate food


Chips & Salsa: Tortilla chips can be found in a number of spirited colors including red and blue. We like to use a combination of blue and white to represent team colors.


Taco Salad: The ingredients for Taco Salad (also called Mexican layer dip) vary from recipe to recipe, but I like this one.                                                                                                                                     In large bowl, layer 1 can refried beans, 1 cup  sour cream, 1 cup shredded lettuce, 1 cup salsa, 1 cup guacamole, 1 cup shredded cheese, ½ cup chopped green onions, and 2 tablespoons sliced black olives.


Hot Dogs and Hamburgers: Throw your favorite burgers and brats on the grill and provide all the fixings: chopped onions, American cheese, crumbled blue cheese, ketchup, mustard, relish, and sauerkraut.


Big Game Day Chili (From I love the combination of flavors in this chili. Between the beer, smoked bacon and the addition of chocolate, this is a very different and delicious chili recipe that will wow your guests.


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 orange bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 pounds cubed beef stew meat
  • 2 pounds Italian sausage meat
  • 4 slices applewood smoked bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 2 (6 ounce) cans tomato paste
  • 2 (14 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (7 ounce) can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) bottle dark beer
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste
  • 1/4 cup crumbled dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt, or amount to taste
  • 2 1/2 ounces dark chocolate candy bar


  1. Heat the oil in a large deep pot over medium-high heat, and stir in the onions, garlic, and bell peppers. Cook and stir until the onions are transparent, about 5 minutes. Add the beef stew meat, sausage, and bacon. Cook until meats are evenly browned. Drain the fat.
  2. Stir in the tomato sauce, tomato paste, black beans, kidney beans, chipotle peppers with sauce, beef broth, beer, chili powder, oregano, pepper, salt, and chocolate. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 1 hour; 2 hours is preferred.


Baked Potatoes: Wrap them in foil and throw them onto the grill. They taste especially good topped with chili and sour cream.


Baked Beans (from

  • 5 slices bacon, fried and crumpled
  • 32 ounces baked beans, drained
  • 1/2 green pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce (hickory smoked)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

Rinse and drain beans. Mix all ingredients in crock-pot. Cover and cook on low setting for 8-10 hours.


Popcorn and S’mores: Jiffy Pop and S’mores are always a fun way to end any day of grilling.

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