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First...Get Together a Basic Tailgating Food Menu

The first thing I like to do is to get together a menu of Tailgating Food that fits just about any tailgating party.

A nice menu of tailgate party recipes should have items that you can cook or grill quickly or they should be things you can begin to prepare the day before.

The basics of tailgating food and tailgate party recipes should consist of a really good sausage, hot dog, or bratwurst recipe. Get you a really good and simple hamburger grilling recipe that is easy and tastes great in any party. And try a stew or chile for really cold weather.

After that, a menu of simple side dishes is in order. Plan your side dishes to reflect the different types of the weather you may encounter in your area.

For example, if the temperatures are cold, plan to cook hot side dishes like bbq beans or grilled vegetables. If the weather is warm, salads and cold sandwiches should make your menu.

Always remember that the tailgating food should be the heart of a tailgate party. But it should never weigh you down to the point of feeling frustrated or lost in the whole cooking and preparing process. You should be able to enjoy the whole tailgate party experience every time you plan one.

Here are some simple tailgating food recipes that will get your menu started. Experiment with these and make them your own if you'd like. The main thing is to have always have fun tailgating.

7-Layer Ranch Dip

1 envelope ranch dip/soup mix
1 (16-ounce) container sour cream
2 tablespoons bottled green pepper sauce
1 cup shredded lettuce
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 (2.25-ounce) can sliced pitted ripe olives, drained
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Tortilla chips

Combine soup mix, sour cream, and green pepper hot sauce in a shallow 2-quart dish; mix well and spread evenly over bottom.

Sprinkle remaining ingredients except tortilla chips evenly over top, ending with cheese. Chill if desired and serve with tortilla chips.

Bratwurst in Dark Beer Sauce

8 Fresh Bratwurst
1 tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
2 teaspoons Vegetable Oil
1/8 teaspoon Caraway Seed
1 Cup Dark Beer

Place bratwurst in center of grill. Grill approximately 20 minutes, until brats are no longer pink in the middle, turning several times to brown on all sides.

In a small saucepan heat flour & oil over low heat. Stir frequently until sauce is light brown. Add caraway seed. Stir in dark beer. Bring sauce to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until the sauce is slightly thickened.

Place bratwurst in sauce to coat. Serve with remaining sauce. Makes 8 appetizer servings (or 4 as the main course).

Chipotle BBQ Pulled Pork

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (2 1/2 pound) boneless pork roast
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
4 teaspoons Tabasco chipotle pepper sauce
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
6 buns

Heat oil in a large skillet. Season pork with salt and pepper, and brown on all sides.

Combine ketchup, vinegar, sugar, Chipotle Pepper Sauce, paprika, and worcestershire in a slow cooker. Add the pork and 2 teaspoons of the drippings and cook on low for 8 hours. When finished, use 2 forks to shred the meat in the bowl of the slow cooker.

Toss meat with sauce and serve on rolls.

Makes 6 servings.

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