Tips for the ultimate tailgating experience at home
By Hilton Head Monthly
Sometimes the best place to watch all the games is in the comfort of your own living room. You control the TV channels and, most important, the food selections are exactly what you desire to devour.
Hot dogs and chips are fun and traditional, but we offer some alternative servings that are sure to satisfy.
Before diving into a larger meal, there are some snack-sizes to consider. A few favorites include herbed popcorn (dried herbs and garlic powder), garlic pizza wedges (best served warm) and taco pinwheels (serve with salsa).
An avocado salsa is quick and yummy. You can scoop it up with chips and enjoy. Recipes vary but can include tomatoes, avocados, cilantro, pineapple and red onions.
Another quick but delicious idea is air-fried chicken, which offers little hassle, but a big, delicious taste. Air frying chicken strips is generally the fastest way, but chicken thighs are also tasty. Either way, you’ll have a crispy and crunchy snack.
Sure to be a crowd pleasure, charcuterie boards are simple but offer variety. You can include a board of cheeses, crackers, dips and an assortment of meats.
Some suggested goodies include salami and prosciutto, spinach artichoke dip, salsa and hummus, pigs-in-blanket, chicken wings, nuts, olives and ranch or blue cheese. Think about including celery and carrots.
If you are watching a game of gridiron action, try a cheese ball shaped like a football. Be ready to get your hands dirty as you design the football. You’ll want some bacon and cheese (provolone, white cheddar or mozzarella) and serve it on a football-shaped cutting board.
There are many varieties of boards that fit your style, but giving guests plenty of options is satisfying.
ON THE GRILL
Serve up sliders, sausage or delicious vegetables. Linguica sausages make an appealing appetizer because they are a quick barbeque snack. A tip: slice and wrap in a tortilla.
A vegetable kabob is another grilling option. Try peppers, asparagus and mushrooms and sauté with some balsamic vinegar. Yum.
For something a little heartier, try grilled bison sliders. These are extra tasty compared to regular beef and can be grilled in minutes (1-2 minutes each side). Add cheese immediately after grilling, and make sure to toast the bun.
Grilled corn with butter (garlic butter is a favorite) makes for a scrumptious meal. Also, corn can be seasoned with salt and pepper and grilled in 15 minutes.
SLOW IT DOWN
The action on the television may be frenetic but because it’s going to be a long day of viewing, consider Carolina Slow Cooker Pulled Pork. The pork will take some time (8 to 12 hours) but will be tender and have guests clamoring for more. There are many recipes but find a boneless pork shoulder for the best taste. A bonus: plenty of leftovers.
OK, the goal is to focus on the game. Who wants to cook? Let somebody else do it for you.
Great game-day ideas include ordering family-meal platters of barbecue (ribs, pulled pork, chicken with mac and cheese) or consider entrees that take minutes to heat up or are ready to serve. Some places offer large meals such as lasagna with vegetables and pot pies (filet mignon, seafood chowder), caprese platters, mini lobster rolls, or antipasto platters.
DESSERTS FOR GAME DAY
As the game reaches the fourth quarter, or the ninth inning, make sure to enjoy dessert. Fun ideas include S’mores treats shaped like footballs (use white icing to draw laces). Try making brookies, which are part fudge brownie and part chewy chocolate chip cookie. Vegan chocolate chip cookies are healthier options, with recipes that include vegan butter and semi-sweet vegan chocolate chips.