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Turn Up Your Tailgate

08/31/2015 04:30AM ● By Family Features
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(Family Features) Dust off the grill and get those favorite barbecue recipes ready – it’s tailgating time! Whether watching at home or at the stadium, big games provide ample opportunities for entertaining and nothing brings friends together like grilled dishes, flavorful sides and delicious drinks.

For many, watching the game is only half the experience. The tailgate is the main event and the fun and rivalry it brings is just as important as watching the game. Just as players work hard to prepare football formations, fans are just as focused on preparations for the big party.

When it comes to planning your tailgate menu, grilled fare is always a winning choice. While beer has historically reigned supreme as the game day beverage pairing, more fans are looking to mix things up. Here are some tailgate pairings sure to score big with guests at your next game day celebration:

  • Beef
    Classic selections such as juicy ribs and hamburgers are common fixtures on many tailgating menus. Try creating your own marinades with ingredients like honey, sweet chili sauce, ground ginger or Creole seasoning. Put a personal spin on classic hamburgers by serving them with interesting toppings like cherry chutney, smoky chili or creamy beer cheese.

    For side options, consider slow-cooked baked beans, jalapeno cornbread muffins or crunchy slaw tossed with a fresh lemon dressing. Bring out the richness of red meats with a glass of Yellow Tail Big Bold Red, which serves up flavors of dark fruits, a hint of spice and bold oak notes.

  • Chicken
    Whether its wings or sandwiches, chicken is typically on the game day menu, but that doesn’t have to mean boring. Add some extra zing to everyone’s favorite white meat with a spicy curry rub or Asian-inspired marinade blend. Serve these dishes with a side of cucumber or cold pasta tossed with roasted red pepper, mozzarella and cherry tomatoes. Not sure of a beverage selection? Pair your poultry with a sweet moscato or bottled sangria.
  • Seafood
    Some fans may need a break from the fried foods that grace the tailgate spread. Give guests the option of lighter fare with grilled seafood entrees such as salmon filets with avocado relish or grilled tequila-lime shrimp skewers. As a side, pair your favorite seafood selections with easy-to-grill veggies like corn, zucchini and yellow squash. Refresh your palate with a glass of crisp white wine such as Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio, which features refreshing green apple and pear flavors.

Whether celebrating at home or away, remember you can still impress your tailgating teammates with a championship-worthy spread. Leave the competition in the dust by putting your own spin on some grilled favorites, and you’re sure to be the game day MVP. For more entertaining ideas, visit

Photo courtesy of Getty Images (women tailgating)

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