Delicious Tailgate Dishes for Game Day Success

Posted: September 17, 2021 10:30 pm

Football is back, and, with that, comes tailgating. Whether you’re actually attending the game or hosting a watch party, you’ve got to have the right snacks, appetizers, and main dishes for game day. We can’t forget dessert, either!

You can’t have a tailgate party without burgers, right? It truly is the easiest dish to grill, but, you don’t want to serve plain old burgers, right? This recipe uses a tasty mushroomy-flavored sauce and pepper jack cheese to create a signature flavor. Your buddies will be asking for this recipe!

Super Tasty Tailgate Burgers

For the Burgers

1 lb ground beef (the extra fat provides more flavor, so skip ground chuck)
6 mini-pretzel rolls or slider buns
6 pepper jack cheese slices (cut in half if you’re going to make sliders rather than full-size burgers)
mayo to your taste (optional)

Ingredients to create the mushroom sauce

8 oz fresh mushrooms, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons real butter (do not substitute)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced (you can also take four cloves and mince the garlic yourself)
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 c. heavy cream (can substitute half and half)
1/2 c. beef broth
salt and pepper to your taste
1 tablespoon cornstarch + 2 tablespoons cold water (mixed together)

For the Bun (Use as a topping, but only if you chose the pretzel rolls)

1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoon poppy seeds
2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Directions for Cooking:

Roll and flatten the ground beef into patties – six if you are using regular buns (however, if you’re going the slider route, double the number and make the patties smaller). Brown the patties in a large skillet; be sure they are fully cooked. Remove and put them aside after they’re cooked, then drain the grease.

In the same skillet (minus grease, of course) melt the butter. Add mushrooms, garlic, onions, cooking until the mushrooms are tender. Add remaining ingredients. Bring this mixture to a boil, making sure to stir the entire time. Now, add the cornstarch mixture to the ingredients. Give the mixture time to thicken and remove from the stove.

Use a knife to open the pretzel buns; put a light amount of mayo on each part of the bun. Add a pattie, then place the pepper jack on the pattie. You’ll want to put a small amount of the mushroom sauce over the pattie; place the top bun over it. Now, place the burger in a baking dish. If you’re going to put the topping on the bun, melt the butter and stir those ingredients together. Pour evenly over the burgers. Cover with aluminum foil, then bake in the oven for about fifteen minutes (at 375 degrees). Serve immediately.

Smoked Hot Dogs

Again, hot dogs are typical tailgating fare, but when you smoke the hot dogs over oak wood, you give this traditional food a brand new taste.


Your choice of hot dogs
a smoker
wood chips (oak wood)
Condiments including: mustard, ketchup, cheese, jalapeno slices, relish, chili, mayonnaise, relish, onions, and coleslaw.

Directions for Cooking:

Smoke the hot dogs at 225 Fahrenheit for fifty to sixty minutes. Add buns and condiments to your taste.

Suggested condiments if you dare: avocado and bacon, baked beans, salsa and avacados, caramelized onions, pickles, BBQ sauce, buffalo sauce.

Grilled Sausage and Apple Slaw Subs


1 tablespoon spicy brown mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 cup cabbage, finely shredded
1 Granny Smith apple (peeled, cored, and cut into thin strips)
1/4 cup red onion wedges (thin)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 12 oz. chicken apple sausage (cooked; should be five sausages total)
5 hot dog buns

Directions for Cooking:

Combine mustard and maple syrup in a small bowl and set aside. In another bowl, combine apple strips, red onion strips, and cabbage (chopped finely). Whisk the olive oil, apple cider vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of the mustard mixture together. Drizzle this over the cabbage mixture; be sure to coat evenly. Cook sausages over medium heat for approximately fifteen minutes. Place the sausages on the buns, and top with the remaining mustard mixture and apple slaw.

Chicken Drumsticks

Chicken drumsticks are a great appetizer for game day! You’ll need to utilize two-zone grilling and your favorite BBQ sauce to really punch up the flavor.


10 – 12 drumsticks
your favorite BBQ sauce or rub
garlic salt

Directions for cooking:

Get the grill going. You want the grill to be at about 375 degrees when you begin cooking the drumsticks. While the grill is preheating, season the drumsticks by putting garlic salt and pepper equally on both sides of the drumsticks. (You can use a rub as a substitute, but make sure the rub doesn’t have a lot of sugar in it; the sugar can burn.) Once the chicken has been seasoned and your grill is at 375 degrees, you’re ready to put them on the DIRECT HEAT of the grill. Cook them for about 30 minutes on direct heat, turning them every five minutes or so. Remember, the chicken will take longer to cook because it’s still on the bone. Grill until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees.

Remove the cooked drumsticks from the direct heat. Baste them in the BBQ sauce of your choice. Place the drumsticks back on the grill, but only on the INDIRECT HEAT side. Let them cook for between five or ten minutes until the sauce is set (or the internal temp of the chicken is 175 degrees.)

Grilled Vegetable Quesadillas

The cheesy goodness of these quesadillas guarantees that you won’t miss the meat in the dish. At all!


4 large tortillas
2 large zucchini, sliced
2 large squash, sliced
4 large portabella mushrooms, sliced
4 red bell peppers (can substitute with sweet pointed red peppers)
1 large red onion, sliced
2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 tablespoons pesto
salt to taste
pepper to taste

Directions for Cooking:

Preheat grill to 300 degrees. Salt and pepper the zucchini, mushrooms, and squash to taste. Grill the vegetables until grill marks form. Remove and set aside. Peppers should be charred, however. Remove the skins and seeds from the peppers. Take one tortilla, spread pesto over it. places the grilled vegetables on one side of the tortilla; top with cheese. Fold the other half of the tortilla on top, place on the grill (some recommend a panini grill or a regular skillet to do this.) Cook until both sides are brown (you’ll have to flip it for even browning.)

Repeat with each tortilla. Cut into four slices and serve.



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