What’s more fun than planning a game watching party for the weekend? Let’s be honest, though it may not be comprised of the healthiest bites, tailgate and football party food is some of the best there is. Here are a few of the recipes we’ll certainly be trying this fall.
Martha Hall Foose’s Bacon Wrapped Crackers from Garden and Gun
Yield: Serves 6
¾ pound (about 16 slices) thinly sliced bacon
42 Rectangular butter crackers (such as Club or Captain’s or Waverly)
Heat the oven to 250°F. Slice the bacon slices into thirds crosswise. Wrap each cracker with a piece of bacon, overlapping as little as possible. Place the wrapped crackers ½ inch apart on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet or broiler pan. Bake 1½ hours or until the bacon constricts the center of each cracker and becomes crisp. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the crackers to cool on the rack before eating.
The jalapeno popper gets a simple makeover with the addicting combination of goat cheese, honey, and crispy bacon.
- 2 dozen medium jalapenos (or large serranos), halved; pith and seeds removed
- 5 oz log of goat cheese
- 2 oz reduced fat cream cheese
- 3 Tbsp honey, plus more for drizzling
- Pinch of salt
- 3 pieces of bacon, cooked to a crisp
Yield: About 1 pint (serves 4 as an appetizer)
2 cups sharp orange cheddar, grated (8 oz.)
½ cup Duke’s mayonnaise
½ cup pimiento peppers, drained and chopped (7-oz. jar)
¼ cup green onion, chopped (use both the green and the white parts)
1 tsp. black pepper
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. cayenne
Dash of Tabasco
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl, and stir with a rubber spatula. Serve immediately with crackers, or cover, refrigerate, and let flavors marinate.
The Southern Staple: Bourbon and Spicy Ginger Soda
We checked in with award-winning chef Hugh Acheson of 5&10 and the National in Athens, Georgia, for a recommendation on a tailgating cocktail, and he came up with a winner—a slightly more refined take on the classic bourbon and ginger ale, swapping store-bought ginger ale for homemade ginger syrup. “The popular standard of Maker’s Mark and Blenheim is a ubiquitous Athens favorite,” he says. “But the fresh ginger is refreshingly spicy.” Don’t let the syrup scare you. Acheson keeps the recipe simple, and unlike most craft cocktails, this drink will travel. Make the ginger syrup a day ahead for an easy tote to the tailgate. Add a generous pour of bourbon over ice, a little soda water, and some fresh fruit, and you’re ready to go.
½ cup sugar (fine turbinado)
½ cup water
¼ lb. fresh ginger root (peeled and finely grated)
In a small saucepot bring the sugar, water, and ginger to a boil. Turn off the heat, and allow to steep and cool for one hour. Strain off the ginger pieces, and reserve the syrup.
Large ice cubes
3 oz. Maker’s Mark (or your favorite bourbon)
1 tbsp. ginger syrup
2 slices fresh ripe peach (Try pear if peaches are out of season.)
2 oz. soda water
Fill a 10 oz. highball glass with ice. Add bourbon and ginger syrup, and stir. Add peach slices (or pear), and pour soda water to the top of the glass. Stir gently.