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5 Easy Tailgate Food Ideas You Need to Try

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In 1869, Rutgers and Princeton face off in the first-ever American football game. It is at this game where some say tailgating began. It wasn't until 1904 that Yale University adopted tailgating as a tradition.

Over the past century, tailgating has grown in popularity especially during football season. Across America, friends and family drink beer and prepare and eat delicious grilled foods in the parking lots of their favorite team stadium or ball field.

If you're new to the tailgating game or are sick of making the same old food, we've got you covered. Here are 5 easy tailgate food ideas you need to try at the next game. There is no better tailgating grill than the PK Grill & Smoker, so fire it up and get your taste buds ready.

1. Jalapeno Popper Wonton Cups

To kick up the spice of your tailgating party, try these jalapeno popper wonton cups. Yeah, we just did that. Incorporating wonton wrappers with a traditional popper recipe might just make you a parking lot celebrity at your next tailgate.

All you need to make this flavorful dish is 12 wonton wrappers, 4 ounces cream cheese (softened), 1/2 cup sour cream, 12 ounces of cooked and crumbled bacon (reserve 2 tablespoons for later), 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (reserve 2 tablespoons for later) and 3-4 jalapenos, seeded and chopped. If you like more spice, keep the seeds in!

Set up your PK Grill for indirect heat (coals pushed to one side) and preheat it to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Place a wonton wrapper in each muffin cup and bake on the cool side of the grill (the side away from the charcoal bed) for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

Remove them from the PK Grill and cool slightly. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the sour cream, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, bacon, and chopped jalapenos. Spoon the mixture into the wonton cups and sprinkle with the leftover bacon and cheese.

Return the pan to the cool side of the grill and bake for an extra 8-10 minutes with the lid closed, until the cheese melts and the wontons are golden brown. Serve and enjoy!

2. Beer Cheese

You're already pouring beer into your mouth, so why not get ahead and add it straight into your food? This beer cheese is easy to make ahead of time and delicious to eat and share. Dip your favorite grilled bread, crackers or veggies or (Protip!) pour it over french fries!

You'll need:

  • 1 (2-lb.) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 1 (12-oz.) bottle amber beer, at room temperature
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: thyme sprig

Start by beating together the cheese, onion, garlic hot sauce, and red pepper at low speed with an electric stand mixer until combined. Gradually add the beer, beating until blended after each new addition. Beat at medium-high speed for 1 minute or until combined and creamy.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill for up to 2 hours, garnish if desired.

Store in an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks!

Protip: Grab yourself a loaf of ciabatta or other hard bread and cut it into 1/2 inch or 1/3 inch slices. Brush each slice with olive oil and grill it over the hot coals on your PK for a few seconds. You'll want it slightly charred for great flavor, but keep the bread moving so it doesn't burn. Dunk it in the beer cheese and put it in your mouth.

3. Dry-rubbed Smoked Wings

Do you even tailgate without wings, bro? Try a new take on a classic tailgating staple. For these dry-rubbed smoked wings, you'll need 1 pound chicken wings and drums, 1/2 cup paprika, 1/4 cup kosher salt, 1/4 cup freshly ground pepper, 1/4 cup garlic powder, 2 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano, and 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper.

Start by stirring the paprika, salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper together in a bowl. Prepare your PK Grill & Smoker for indirect heat (coals pushed to one side, vent open beneath the coals) and bring it up to an internal temperature of 215 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Toss the chicken wings and drumettes in the dry rub until well-coated. Smoke the chicken on the indirect heat side of the PK for 1 1/2 - 2 hours. This recipe only serves 2, so you'll want to double or triple the recipe depending on how many people like wings!

4. Pretzel Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are THE TAILGATE CLASSIC, but they don't have to be boring. Instead of just throwing them on the PK grill, spice up your sausage party! Once you try these pretzel hot dogs you'll never want an original one again.

You'll need:

  • 8 frozen dinner rolls, defrosted
  • 8 hot dogs
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • coarse salt

Defrost your dinner rolls according to the package instructions. Roll each roll into an 18-inch rope, winding each one around a hot dog from top to bottom. Press the dough onto itself at the top and bottom to avoid it from unrolling.

Boil 3 quarts of water, carefully pouring the baking soda in. Place 2 of the wrapped pretzel dogs into the water for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a cooling rack. Repeat until all the dogs have been boiled.

Set up your PK Grill for indirect heat (coals pushed to one side, vent open beneath the coals) and preheat to 450 degrees. Place all the pretzel dogs on a sprayed baking sheet. Combine the water and egg, mixing well. Brush the pretzel dogs with the water and egg mixture and sprinkle with salt. Bake in the PK for 6-8 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with your favorite condiments and enjoy!

5. Buckeye Dip

It's finally dessert time, and no tailgate party is complete without some sort of dip. For this buckeye dip you'll need:

  • 1 8-ounce package of cream cheese softened
  • 1/2 cup of butter softened
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Use a hand or stand mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter, and pecan butter until smooth. Add in the flour, brown sugar, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Use the paddle mixer attachment or a wooden spoon to mix in the chocolate chips.

Store in the refrigerator or cooler until ready to serve. Use teddy Grahams, apples, or graham crackers to dip and enjoy.

Enjoy Your Easy Tailgate Food!

Prepare to be the hit of the tailgating party with these unique and fun recipes all made on your PK Grill & Smoker. From something spicy to something sweet, your taste buds will thank you.

Explore our website for more tailgating accessories. Have questions about a particular product? Contact us!



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