Some people look at the end of August as the beginning of fall, one of the prettiest seasons of the year. The leaves start to change, the day’s get shorter, and the nights crisper and cool. For others the end of summer means one thing only, the beginning of football season; and with it comes the ever-important tailgate parties. Pre-game partying in the parking lot started as a fun way to get excited about the game, and now has turned into a full on production. Grills, coolers, extensive menus, and games are all things you’ll find at a serious tailgating event. So the next time you have tickets to a big game use these tips from PaulaDeen.com to do it like the pros.
The first thing to plan for is the fact that you are serving food in a parking lot. Which means there aren’t a lot of resources for eating and cooking, so you have to bring it all yourself. The essentials of a good tailgate party are: folding tables and chairs, large coolers, a portable grill, all the utensils and paper plates you may need, beverages, and cleaning supplies. Once you have that all squared away it’s time for the fun, the food and the games. Corn hole and other simple backyard games are perfect for getting you warmed up for the big event.
Use this great menu from Paula’s kitchen at your next tailgate party:
Midwestern-Style Beer Brats: simmering brats in beer provides great flavor while keeping them juicy and delicious. Cook them up the day before along with the pepper and onions and re-heat on the grill at the party. A dish that as easy to eat as it is to make.
Chili dogs are another all time favorite for a tailgating party. Cook the chili the day before and transport it right in your pot or Dutch oven, sit that on the grill and it will be warm in no time. Be sure to pack extra napkins!
Peppery coleslaw with orange chili vinaigrette is a perfect side dish with the brats and hot dogs. The orange and lime give it a great freshness while the hot peppers add a real kick. Make it a day ahead. The longer it sits the better it tastes.
Don’t forget the snacks and appetizers! Paula’s cheese straws, lightening fast bean dip and party popcorn are all delicious snacks for your friends to nosh on while they wait for the grill to heat up.
And, just because you’re in a parking lot doesn’t mean you have to skip dessert. Salted caramel brownies are a great ending to your delicious meal. Cut them up and individually wrap them to hand out just before going in for the big game.