Is there anything so wonderful as a tailgate party? It’s a uniquely American tradition, and between the crisp fall air, the leaves turning, the beers, and the hot dogs, it’s a delight. As we’ve been mooning over chef Michael Mina‘s tailgating grill, we’ve gotten excited to bring out some of the best game day recipes our test kitchen has developed over the years. Here are a few of the tastiest recipes.
Nachos walk that line between “So fun to share!” and “Oh, no, will there be enough for me?” Be sure you have plenty by either making them on a sheet pan or doing two batches over the course of the game. Nachos, of course, are obviously better-suited to indoor parties, and we particularly love these super nachos from L.A. chef Josef Centeno. Not only do they involve homemade salsa, guacamole and queso, but they feature a sprinkle of toasted pumpkin seeds and pomegranate seeds. It’s a colorful finishing crunch guests will love.
“Wings” and football” are nearly synonymous. You can absolutely grill wings if you like, but this tandoori-style recipe calls for the broiler, and is particularly yummy thanks to a good amount of garam masala. We’ve got nine top-notch wing recipes to choose among, including a Sriracha-and-honey spiked rendition made using an air fryer.
Whether you’re a “yes on tomatoes,” “no on garlic,” or “lots of jalapeños” guacamole person, there’s got to be guac at your party. We’ve got a ton of recipes featuring pretty much every delicious variation, but this “taqueria guacamole” looks particularly appealing. (Pro tip: Consider making the salt level complementary to your chips. If you have very salty chips, dial down the salt content of the guac, and vice versa.)
4. Deviled Eggs
To add deviled eggs to your party is to add a touch of class. Pair them with Champagne, Crémant, Tom Collins cocktails or farmhouse-style ales, and you’re in particularly elegant shape. Keep finished eggs looking good by investing in a deviled egg-specific platter, or buy a carrier so you can bring them to a tailgate without breaking a sweat. We have 10 deliciously deviled egg recipes, and these Sriracha pressure-cooked eggs are particularly on-trend, adorable and tasty.
5. Grilled Vegetables
Whether you’re an eggplant person, a squash person, or a full antipasto person, why not make your favorite vegetable even more delicious by using your grill? (If you don’t yet own one, have you seen this gorgeous new number from Chef Michael Mina?) There’s nothing like grill marks when it comes to bumping up flavor, and it’s much more interesting to have a rainbow platter of bell peppers and zucchini than to have a ho-hum salad.
Don’t forget to have options for vegetarian friends! This slow-cooker vegetarian chili is so hearty and warming, packed with three types of beans, your carnivorous buddies won’t miss the meat. (If they insist that yes, they will, of course we have pork, beef and even New Mexican chili verde renditions online.) Chili is perhaps the ultimate tailgate food, easy to bring a big vat of and make everyone happy. Just do your garnish prep work in advance, shredding cheese, cutting limes and peppers, and shredding cilantro, so people can top individual bowls quickly, snuggle into warm sweaters, and get ready to cheer on the home team.