Is It The Football Game? Or The Incredible Food We Eat at The Tailgate Parties? I Can't Decide Which is Our Favorite.
This is a monumental quandary at my house. My guys love their football, but I have to say they have gotten quite accustomed to the meals I prepare for the pre-game festivities. Maybe it’s a tie.
Tailgating has become a social art form in the last five years. As soon as players report to camp, the public begins to eagerly anticipate tailgate time. And no more burgers and hot dogs for your guests anymore – tailgate cooking has gone full-on gourmet. Last year I attended a tailgate where they served fresh fried rattlesnake bites in honor of OU’s game against the Florida A&M Rattlers – it just goes to show there are no limits to what you can serve!
Here is a simple but savory twist on a classic: Sloppy Joes. It’s a dish you can make in large quantities to serve to lots of hungry fans, and the best part is that you can serve these out of disposable metal serving pans that you keep warm on the grill. On game days I call them Touchdown Sandwiches, and serve them with kettle chips with rosemary and sea salt.
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 ½ jalapeno, finely chopped
½ green and red pepper, chopped
1 package Mountain View smoked sausage, minced
2 lbs ground chuck
2 c fire roasted crushed tomatoes
2 T tomato paste
¼ c brown sugar
1 t Worcestershire sauce
½ t nutmeg
1 t salt
1 t pepper
6 Brioche buns or Hawaiian hamburger buns
Place a large skillet on stovetop over medium high heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, jalapeno, red and green peppers until tender. While the veggies are cooking, pulse the smoked sausage in a food processor so it’s minced into small pieces. Remove from processor and add the ground chuck and minced smoked sausage to the veggies and cook until the meat is browned and juices run clear. Drain off the excess fat and return mixture to the stove. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve heaping spoonfuls of meat mixture on the buns.
Kettle Chips with Sea Salt and Rosemary
3-4 large Russet potatoes, scrubbed
fresh rosemary, chopped
To prepare the potatoes: Thinly slice the potatoes to a " thickness using a food processor or mandolin. Place the slices in a large bowl filled with cold water.
Heat the oil in a large 4 quart saucepan or fryer until it reaches 375 degrees. Rinse the potatoes and then blot them completely dry. Carefully drop potato slices into the hot oil and cook until they are browned and crisp. Remove from the oil and place on a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess oil, and then sprinkle with sea salt and rosemary.