Tailgating Gets a Little Nutty

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of NFL or college football or whether you watch the games in person or at home, you are going to snack and munch and celebrate with friends.pecan football
Every year it seems, tailgate food gets fancier and fancier. When I was fresh out of college and newly married, on game day my husband and I arrived at our parking spot at 8am no matter what time kickoff was, with a bucket of chicken, some chips, and a twelve-pack of beer. We threw the folding chairs in the back of the car and maybe a card table and we were off. If we didn’t have room for the card table, we literally tailgated from the back of our Tahoe.

Now when we go to games there are tents, decorated with outdoor lights, fans and chandeliers. The food spread rivals that of a buffet reception at the Ritz Carlton. Some tailgates even have full bars — seriously. I went to one where a bartender was present. It was amazing!

Maybe you’re invited to a tailgate this year or you’re the one hosting the ultimate tailgate at the school or NFL city of your choice. We’ve gathered some recipes, featuring our favorite football-shaped nuts–pecans, of course!– that will make your dish the touchdown of the party!

Roasted brown butter pecans with rosemary
Chicken Salad with Grapes and Pecans
Sugared Curried Pecans
Chili Lime Pecans
Mississippi Mud Brownies
Candied Pecan Bacon

And the one I will be making this weekend for my team’s kickoff?

Bacon Bourbon Brownies with Pecans

What are your secrets, other than throwing out a big, delicious bowl of salted and roasted pecans, to impressing your tailgate or party guests?



Recipes via Southern Living, May 2012; All You, August 2010; Real Simple, December 2002; Southern Living, November 2009; Southern Living, April 2011; Serious Eats; Food & Wine, August 2011.