10 Recipes for a Tailgate

September  6, 2013

Technically, you've still got three weeks left of summer. That means three more weeks of weekend picnics, barbecues, and rooftop grilling extravaganzas -- except now it's tailgating season. No idea what NFL actually stands for? Can't name a college football team to save your life? No sweat. Show up with with an herby corn salad in creamy dressing, zippy sweet-hot jerk chicken skewers, or a dense banana coconut chip cake. Keep your mouth full and your friends will be none the wiser.

More: Check out our Provisions collection Gatherings: Eating Outdoors for all the tools you need for your tailgate.

Crispy Spice-Brined Pecans by AntoniaJames

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Crispy Spice-Brined Pecans from Food52

Pancetta Slaw with Chili-Lime Vinaigrette by checker

Pancetta Slaw from Food52

Tomato Salad with Corn, Summer Squash, and Roasted Onions by Merrill Stubbs

Tomato Salad from Food52

Jerk Chicken Kebabs by sdebrango

Jerk Chicken Kebabs from Food52

Tailgate Paella by North Country Rambler

Tailgate Paella from Food52

Grilled Skirt Steak with Greek Salsa by thirschfeld

Grilled Skirt Steak from Food52

New England Lobster Rolls with Lemon Chive Mayonnaise by Sonali aka the Foodie Physician

New England Lobster Rolls from Food52

Dilled, Crunchy Sweet-Corn Salad with Buttermilk Dressing by creamtea

Dilled Corn Salad from Food52

Roberto Santibañez' Classic Guacamole by Genius Recipes

Classic Guacamole from Food52

Banana, Coconut, Chocolate Chip Snack Cake by ATG117


Banana Snack Cake from Food52


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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Debi Bulmer
    Debi Bulmer
  • Lorayne King
    Lorayne King
  • I_Fortuna
  • Jen M.
    Jen M.
  • Peggy Gilbey McMackin
    Peggy Gilbey McMackin
Jen M.

Written by: Jen M.


Debi B. January 25, 2014
fabulous selection of recipes!
Lorayne K. September 10, 2013
So Leigh, just out of interest, why is it that your friends appreciate the good old 'tried and true' recipes, but would turn their noses up at food that's new/different? We don't have what you guys call tailgate parties here in NZ, but before a big rugby match everyone arrives with a variety of kai(food), from chips'n'dips, sausage rolls, clubbies, pizza etc, to the choicest kaimoana(seafood), imaginable and everything in between!! Oh nearly forgot!! There's always copious amounts of liquid refreshments, alchoholic and otherwise. So it's difficult to imagine that someone arriving with a food
koha(gift), that's different, say from another culture, would be rudely dissed for not 'planning ahead', 'keeping it simple' and turning up with a 'knife instead of a gun'!! Anyone who felt that way about a new food offering and worse, voiced it, would end up in the hangi hole!! Google it!! One of the many things I enjoy about FOOD52, is the community's love and respect for, not just food, but for their fellow contributors views, ideas and opinions. So pull ya head in Leigh, the 'My way or the Highway' attitude so DOESN'T fit with this topic... chill out mate, try the 'each to his own' outlook for once...besides, another bonus is, it's good for the heart!! If ANYONE, Leigh included, is EVER heading down to our neck of the woods, let us know, coz you'll be soooooo welcome in our whare(home), AND, ya don't have to bring a thing! Arohanui to you all.
I_Fortuna September 10, 2013
Although I really love the old standards that EVERYBODY brings to a tailgate party, I love these new recipes that can be a great addition. Like myself, others like to try new recipes and all new recipes don't have to be introduced at one time. One or two freshen things up and they keep the fare from being the same old boring mayonaisse, meat laden dishes. Sometimes, a little change is good, desirable and healthy. : )
Jen M. September 9, 2013
Thanks so much for all the positive feedback -- what an amazing community!
Peggy G. September 9, 2013
Hello,How might I Post Tailgating Food Photos and Recipes? Twice weekly from mid-August to early November I am involved in Team Family Tailgating- that is, after each game we feed a team, coaches, staff, families, and fans for anywhere up to one hundred and fifty people, and we do this on the road. I also include these in my blog: Spiced Peach Blog.com
Jen M. September 9, 2013
Hi Peggy! What a cool project. You can share recipes and photos here: http://food52.com/recipes/new Thanks so much for sharing.
Alicia G. September 8, 2013
Technically it's spring here in Australia, here we have months of picnics, BBQs and rooftop parties to come! Thanks for the inspiring recipes :) I don't know which one to cook first! Keep up the good work.
Lorayne K. September 8, 2013
Move on Leigh, move on...You've only just signed up recently and already you're bleating!!...it's just as quick to sign off, so go for it!! Haters not needed, it's a food site for goodness sake, and a very good one at that! Cheers FOOD 52, and thanks heaps for all the effort and hard work you do, much appreciated!
Lauren S. September 8, 2013
I think you're a little delusional, Ms Segel. I LOVE seeing something different at tailgates! Sounds like you either need to find a new group of friends who care about the food instead of what they're drinking. AND Guacamole is always a hit; just as someone else added, it doesn't last long enough to turn brown. THANKS Food 52 for your awesome recipes!
jess5244 September 8, 2013
Why on earth are you even looking at a site such as FOOD52. Clearly you're not open to trying something different. Yes. We all love wings and beer. But given a choice, I...and I have to think a plethora of others...would choose lobster rolls over wings. Try to expand your thinking. Get out of 1980 and move onto the new millenium.

Ignore the negative Nellies.Keep the great recipes coming, FOOD52!The majority of us are loving them!
Jennywren September 8, 2013
Touchdown! All these dishes look great. I can't decide which one to try first. It's this kind of creativity and fresh ideas that keeps me coming back to the the FOOD52 blog again and again. Keep it up!
prissyboo September 8, 2013
Judging from Ms. Segel's comments and vernacular, she would do well to find another food website. This is the first time I have seen such a vulgar posting on FOOD52.
I_Fortuna September 8, 2013
We just put a slight amount of fresh lemon or lime juice mixed into our guacamole to keep it from turning brown. Diced tomatoes work too. Also putting the pit in the center works too from what I have read.
Everything looks delicious, however, I don't think I would take seafood as it can degrade quickly and cause illness unless it is kept extremely cold, (40 degrees or less I think). Also, it seems that everyone is photographing burnt food. Makes a nice photo but burned protein is not healthy from my research.
Everything else looks great and I especially love tomato and corn salad, beautiful. Thanks for posting.
Verna B. September 8, 2013
Undoubtedly this site offers suggestions for a higher level crowd than the one you are accustomed to. Just choose a different site. I enjoy all of the recipes and items sold through here and wouldn't think of "sammiches" as an offering unless I'm having a party for my college age children and their friends. To each his own.
lighthouse6 September 8, 2013
I have made several of the recipes - they are great. My neighbors LOVE the things I bring to parties and usually the recipe comes from here! I can't think of the last time I even considered serving "chips and dip". Maybe I am not in my right mind but I am searching for something fun, totally different and gourmet to take to an Army/Navy football kick off tonight (GO NAVY). We will all be drinking wine and artisan home brew - we are not 25 so it won't be a drunken bash. I am looking at the Greek grilled skirt steak and will use tomatoes from my garden and my own pickled peppers - 52 recipe, of course : ) I actually considered the lobster rolls in "mini" form but don't have time today. Being from CA and growing up with avocado trees in my yard - I always serve guac - a little taste from home on the East coast. It actually never sits around long enough to turn brown : ) It is fun to not serve simple and expected. Thank you Food52 for all the fabulous recipes, insight and great ideas... I use them everyday (it has made me famous on this Army post). Please don't dis those of us that love to cook, create and enjoy.
Leigh S. September 7, 2013
All of these recipes disappoint. I can't think of anyone who is going to make lobster rolls for a tailgate party of drunken neighbors @ $10-$15 per sandwich. You're delusional. And if you should bring these particular burned chicken kebabs to a party, it's a surefire way to get yourself uninvited to your friends home permanently. Guacamole usually turns brown at a party, too. Think Chips and Dip. Sammiches, Hot wings. Beer. Sorry but nobody in their right mind would offer any of this other crap at a football tailgate party.
aargersi September 7, 2013
Wow, is this negative rant really necessary? Have you even TRIED any of these recipes? Because I have and they are GOOD. People have put a lot of time and care into developing these recipes, and other people have enjoyed them, and calling them crap is unfounded not to mention way out of line. Don't serve them if you don't want to, but keep the venom and judgement to yourself.
harriet September 8, 2013
Well, I've seen it written, on another blog, that if you cover ghe guac with plain water, not a lot, just enough to cover, the water will keep the guac from turning brown/black. Chicken has to be well cooked, not like beef or lamb. The choice is yours, use the recipes or not, but please don't slam them until you've done a taste test yourself and can post the results.
I_Fortuna September 8, 2013
Wow, from this post, I find it easy to imagine the bad manners that exist in some groups of people tailgate and otherwise. It is one thing to offer constructive comments and another to flame people for sharing their recipes. What has been accomplished with a negative attitude and nasty words?
Awonderer September 8, 2013
Wow, someone got beat with the grumpy stick... I serve guacamole at parties all the time. The biggest problem is it doesn't last because everyone eats it too fast. And a friend served lobster rolls at a party before the ball game a couple of weeks ago and everyone inhaled them! Can't wait to try these. Keep these ideas coming so we don't have to lower our standards to the usual boring fare...
Leigh S. September 10, 2013
Bringing salads and busy, complicated food dishes to a tailgate party is just a recipe for disaster. Plan ahead. Don't bring a knife to a gunfight. Leave the anthropologic food projects at home. Bring traditional tailgate foods your friends will appreciate: apps, bbq, burgers, brats, hot dogs, wings, sandwiches, chips & dip. Keep it simple!