The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 16, 2011

Tailgating Feast

Karen Freeman

TARBORO — We aren’t tailgaters. We rarely go to games but when we do, we don’t tailgate. However, I have many friends who do and they can take tailgating to a whole different level! I think that might be fun. Here are some recipes to give you some ideas to get started with.

Our first recipe is for shrimp. This will take your tailgating up a notch! A very simple and easy marinade that makes your shrimp so delicious that you don't even need cocktail sauce.  You won’t even taste the cayenne pepper, so don’t leave it out. I make this with frozen or fresh shrimp and use my indoor electric grill if the weather is not good.

The second recipe is from an ECU student. It’s for wings. You can’t have tailgating without wings. This one is easy. I still like to dip them in Ranch dressing or bleu cheese dressing though.

The third recipe is jalapeño poppers. I love these. This recipe is great for tailgating. When I make them at home, I bread them and deep fry them or bake them and coat them with queso. Wow!

Our fourth recipe is for a great sandwich. You will enjoy this whether you are tailgating or packing a picnic lunch.  This dish uses black forest ham but you can easily substitute any meat that you wish. I use whatever is on sale!

The last dish is a “mock” slider. By definition, a slider is a little burger.  This is corned beef. I don’t buy canned corned beef but you can and it’s easy to transport. If you aren’t tailgating, I would use sliced from the deli. But, the canned version is perfect for tailgating.

Marinated Grilled Shrimp

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/3 cup olive oil

1/4 cup tomato sauce

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 pounds fresh shrimp, peeled and deveined


In a large bowl, stir together the garlic, olive oil, tomato sauce, and red wine vinegar. Season with basil, salt, and cayenne pepper. Add shrimp to the bowl, and stir until evenly coated. Cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour, stirring once or twice.

Preheat grill for medium heat. Thread shrimp onto skewers, piercing once near the tail and once near the head. Discard marinade.

Lightly oil grill grate. Cook shrimp on preheated grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until opaque.

Great Tailgate Wings

1 cup water

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1/4 cup minced fresh ginger root    

1/4 cup white sugar

2 limes, quartered

1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste (this is where you make it mild or hot)

3 pounds chicken wings

Combine the water, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, ginger, sugar, limes, and red pepper in a gallon-sized sealable bag; seal and shake to combine. Add the chicken wings; refrigerate 24-48 hours.

    Preheat the grill for medium-low heat. I use my charcoal grill but you can use either charcoal or gas. Then lightly oil grate with a brush or sauce mop.

    Drain the marinade from the wings and toss it out (it’s been in raw chicken). Cook the wings on the heated grill, turning occasionally, until juices run clear, 25 to 30 minutes.

Use your favorite dipping sauce, if desired.

Grilled Jalapeño Poppers

8 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

16 whole jalapeno peppers with stems

8 slices bacon, cut in half crosswise

Preheat THE grill for medium heat, and lightly oil the grate with a mop or brush.

Mix together the cream cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, and Cheddar cheese in a bowl until the mixture is thoroughly blended.

Lay a jalapeno pepper onto a work surface (might want to don some gloves) and cut a lengthwise sliver from the side of the pepper, exposing the seeds and white membrane. With the handle of a teaspoon, scrape out the seeds and membrane, leaving the hollow pepper.

Repeat for the rest of the peppers. Chop up the pepper slices, and mix into the cheese stuffing. Stuff each pepper with cheese mixture, and wrap each stuffed pepper in a half bacon slice. Secure with toothpicks.

Grill the poppers on a less-hot part of the grill until the peppers are hot and juicy and the bacon is browned, 30-40 minutes.

Tailgating Sammies

1 (12 count) package Hawaiian bread rolls

1 pound shaved Black Forest ham

12 slices Gruyere cheese

1 (8 ounce) tub Chive & Onion Cream Cheese Spread

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 tablespoon dried minced onion

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Cut all rolls in half. Place roll bottoms in 9x13-inch pan.

Place equal amounts of ham or roast beef on each roll bottom. Top with Gruyere.

On each of the roll tops, spread a generous amount of the cream cheese spread. Return the tops to the bottoms making sandwiches.

In a separate bowl, mix together the butter, Worcestershire sauce, onion and Parmesan cheese. Pour over your sandwiches and let sit for at least 20 minutes. (You can make these ahead of time and allow to sit in fridge overnight.)

Place sandwiches, covered in foil, in a preheated 350 degrees F oven. Bake for 20 minutes or until warmed through. Pack them  Enjoy!

Not quite a Slider

1 (12 ounce) can corned beef, chopped

1 (8 ounce) container sour cream

1 (1 ounce) envelope dry onion soup mix

2 (8 ounce) packages dinner rolls

1 (16 ounce) jar dill pickle slices, drained

In a medium bowl, mix together corned beef, sour cream and dry onion soup mix.

Cut rolls in half horizontally. Spread bottoms with the corned beef mixture. Replace tops.

Microwave 30 to 45 seconds on high heat, until hot and moist. Top with dill pickle slices before serving.

Did You Know?

Tailgating Tips

Zip Lock Bags: Make sure that you get the freezer bag versions, you need something tough. These bags are incredibly versatile and do a great job when you want to keep food cold on the way to the tailgate.

For example, flank steaks need longer marinating time. So, on Monday, I put them in a Zip Lock freezer bag with the dressing or whatever marinade we’re using. We let them sit for two days in the fridge, then freeze them until the night before the game.

We then take them out -- they will thaw, but are still very cold for the trip. So, there’s less danger of the meat turning, like it could in a cooler that isn’t fully chilled.

The Old Foil Trick: This is one of the oldest in the book. Line your portable grill with aluminum foil for easy clean-up and disposal of spent charcoal. You can use any kind, but I recommend using heavy-duty foil. It is a little more durable and stronger.

Freeze Your Water: I love this one because it can serve more than one purpose. If you get bottled water, freeze it. The day of the game, pop it in to the cooler. If it’s hot out, you can take it out as it melts and you’ll have plenty of cold water. These frozen gems can also keep things cool and the bottles make good ice packs. Plus, you won’t “water down” your cooler like ice will.

Prep for Burgers: Make your burgers in advance - and make sure they are no thicker than 3/4 inch -- thick burgers can take a long time to cook. If you like to eat, stack patties. Freeze your patties between sheets of wax paper. When you’ve got the grill going, put the patties on (still frozen) and cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Then, dress ‘em up accordingly.

The Jumbo Drink: It’s always a good idea to bring a “jumbo” cup. Less trips to fill it on up. Make sure that your cup sticks out like a sore thumb or has distinguishable markings so that you know it’s yours. You wouldn’t want to drink out of someone else’s cup now, would you?

Laminated Checklist: This is one that people keep telling me is the tip that saves them all kinds of headaches. We’ve been tailgating for years and our checklist was laminated early on -- because we knew that this would be the easy way to keep track of our list. As you pack for the game, simply check items on with a dry erase marker. When you’re done, wipe it off and you’ll be ready for the next game.

Large Storage Bins: Oh, where would we be without the large storage bins? These magnificent totes keep your tailgating gear and equipment organized. It’s easy in and easy out all season long. If you need these bins, your local home improvement store has plenty of ‘em.

Warm Weather Ice Melt: If you live in a warm climate or happen to have your tailgate on a hot day, make sure that your beverages are very cold before you put them in the ice in your cooler. The fact is, if you have really cold drinks, the ice in the cooler doesn’t have to work as hard and it helps slow the ice melt. And on a hot day, it’s always good to be able to reach in to the cooler for a little ice.