Two things are essential for a successful tailgate: good food and good friends. The first one we can help with; the latter you’re on your own for. Tailgate food needs to be easy to grab and eat, and it also needs to appease the masses. Check out these seven tasty tailgate foods you can prepare and serve at your party. Tailgate season is soon coming to a close, so you need to go out with a bang. These recipes yield dishes that are simple, fun, and satisfying, and there’s a snack on this list for everyone.
1. Tailgate Asian Wings
Chicken wings are found at many a tailgate, but the Asian riff on these wings will make you the star of the party. Try Guy Fieri’s Asian Chicken Wing recipe featured on Food Network. The sauce that dresses the wings is made of soy sauce, oyster sauce, honey, lime juice, orange juice, ginger, and herbs, and it’ll coat a pound of cooked chicken wings. Prepare your chicken and sauce at home, and then barbecue the wings at the tailgate.
- 1 pound chicken wings, cut into segments, tips removed and discarded
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- ¼ cup honey
- 2 teaspoons lime zest
- 3 tablespoons lime juice, from 1 lime
- ¼ cup orange juice, from ½ orange
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon chili garlic paste
- ½ teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
Visit The Food Network for full recipe and directions.
2. Tailgate Sliders
Sliders, anyone? These bite-size sandwiches are impossible not to enjoy. They’re easy, fun to eat, and delicious to boot. The recipe for Tailgate Sliders from Chef In Training has you stuffing beef, Jack cheese, and mushroom sauce between your carbs, and it takes things up a notch by enlisting pretzels buns rather than your typical white variety. The saltiness from the buns pairs perfectly with the tangy cheese and juicy beef, and this is one snack option everyone is going to want seconds of.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 12 pretzel rolls
- 6 slices pepper jack cheese, cut in half to make 12 pieces
- Mayonnaise to spread over the inside of the rolls
- 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 3 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic or 4 garlic cloves minced
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup beef broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch plus 2 tablespoons cold water, mixed together
- ½ cup butter
- 2 teaspoons poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Visit Chef in Training for full recipe and directions.
3. Mini Margherita Pizza
This next creative recipe from The Cookie Rookie lets you serve pizza at your party without calling the delivery guy. Follow this food formula and make personal pizzas at home with tortillas, marinara, and mozzarella. These mini pizzas are made in cupcake tins and can be served warm or cold. The recipe serves 12 but don’t hesitate to multiply.
- 2 large wheat tortillas (burrito size)
- 6 tablespoons marinara sauce, divided
- ½ can diced tomatoes
- 12 slices whole milk mozzarella
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
Visit The Cookie Rookie for full recipe and directions.
4. Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites
For a simple snack tailgate guests can grab and go, prepare these soft pretzel bites ahead of time. The pretzels are the perfect size as they let you get your pretzel fix but leave room for other food, too. Ever better, they’re served with a homemade cheese sauce that is just as good as the salty snack itself. These Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites from Two Peas and Their Pod require yeast, but pretzel dough is forgiving and is the perfect foray into yeast baking. Make the bites ahead of time, and prepare to be the most popular tailgate in the parking lot.
- 1½ cups warm water
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 3 ounces unsalted butter, melted
- 2½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 4½ to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil
- 3 quarts water
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1 whole egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
- Coarse sea salt
- ½ tablespoon unsalted butter
- ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
- ½ cup milk
- 8 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated
Visit Two Peas and Their Pod for full recipe and directions.
5. Pigs in a Blanket
It’s safe to say consumers’ animal instincts come out when this next snack is available. Pigs in a blanket have been around since forever, but they’re still just as delicious and still not nutritious. Luckily, you’ll be at a tailgate where calories don’t count anyway. Bring these pigs to the party, and they’ll be the first to go. This recipe from Food Network breaks down the art of making pigs in a blanket, and also showcases how to make a tangy dipping sauce. Grab your crescent dough and go.
- 1 (8-ounce) can original crescent dough
- ¼ cup Dijon mustard
- 20 mini hot dogs or cocktail franks
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Poppy seeds or sesame seeds
Tangy dipping sauce
- ½ cup sour cream
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
Visit The Food Network for full recipe and directions.
6. 30-Minute Chili
You can’t host a tailgate without serving chili. Warm everyone up with this tried-and-true recipe from Martha Stewart. It takes only 30 minutes to prepare and makes 8 1-cup servings. Ground beef is the meat of choice for this dish along with kidney beans, tomatoes, chipotle chilis, and cheddar cheese. Serve this 30-Minute Chili with cornbread, and your guests will enjoy a meal that will stick to their ribs for all 4 quarters.
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 3 medium onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, chopped
- Coarse salt and ground pepper
- 1 can tomato paste
- 3 tablespoons chili powder
- 2 tablespoons chopped canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 pounds ground beef chuck
- 3 cans diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 bottle mild lager beer
- 2 cans kidney beans, rinsed and drained
- Shredded cheddar cheese
Visit Martha Stewart for full recipe and directions.
7. Cobb Salad Sandwiches
Our last recipe is one for a cobb salad inserted between carbs. These Cobb Salad Sandwiches from Southern Living will make a salad eater out of anyone. Who can resist turkey, ham, bacon, Swiss cheese, and eggs sandwiched between French bread? The green and meaty sandwiches are simple to make and simple to eat, and they take 25 minutes to prepare. The classic cobb salad never disappoints, and the extra carbs never disappoint, either.
- 1 French bread loaf
- Avocado mayonnaise
- 6 ounces smoked turkey slices
- 6 ounces honey-maple ham slices
- 6 (1-ounce) Swiss cheese slices
- 8 cooked bacon slices
- 2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 2 cups arugula
Visit Southern Living for full recipe and directions.