We love fall! Football fans especially look forward to weekends during this time of year because of the great outdoor eating experience of tailgating. Even if you don’t have a particular team that you’re rooting for, on this you can agree, tailgate food is a culinary touchdown!

The NFL or college football ritual involves lots of eating and drinking in stadium parking lots and out of the back of a vehicle. Finger foods are preferred like chips/dips and hot wings. Many folks start their pre-game football fellowship early, and win or lose they keep on tailgating post-game.

Here are some tailgate yummy must-haves that will make you stand out in a crowd.

Asian BBQ Wings

  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 5 scallions, sliced into discs
  • 1 Tablespoon white sesame seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 medium kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, broken into drummettes and flats
  1. Combine the garlic, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, scallions, sesame seeds, sugar, kiwi, black pepper, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Pour ½ cup of the marinade into a small bowl, and put in the refrigerator.
  2.  Put the chicken wings into the large bowl with the marinade. Massage the chicken pieces to make sure each piece is well covered in the marinade. With the chicken soaking in the marinade, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 8 hours.
  3. Light your barbecue. Take the ½ cup of marinade set aside out of the refrigerator and blend it in a food processor until it is smooth. When the grill is really hot, place the wings on it, and cook for 8 minutes on each side, until cooked through. As the wings grill, baste them with the blended marinade. Serve.

Mexicali Bean Dip

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes seeded and diced
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans drained and rinsed
  • 1 (11 ounce) can super sweet corn, drained (see notes)
  • 1 red onion diced
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro or parsley, from 1 bunch
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, sugar, white wine vinegar, chili powder, and salt
  • Add tomatoes, black-eyed peas, beans, corn, red onion, and bell peppers. Stir to combine
  • Stir in cilantro. Cover and chill until serving time
  1. Regular canned sweet corn or frozen corn may be substituted for the extra sweet corn. The closest measurement for either option is 3/4 cup, but feel free to use the whole 15-ounce can of corn.
  2. 1 sweet onion or a bunch of green onions may be substituted for the red onion
  3. A single bell pepper may be substituted for the 1/2 cup each of chopped red and green bell peppers.
  4. You can always add more vinegar, sugar, or salt if you want.

The Mellow Yellow

  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. rum
  • 1 oz. amaretto
  • 4 oz. orange juice
  • 7 oz. pineapple juice
  • Handful or more of ice (your preference)
  1. Mix vodka, rum, amaretto, and juices
  2. Serve over ice

Pear Punch Lemonade


  • 2 oz. vodka (pear-flavored, if you so desire)
  • 8 oz. lemonade
  • 2 oz. club soda
  • 1 pear, sliced
  • 1 lemon, sliced
  1. Combine the vodka and lemonade in a large glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of club soda.
  2. Garnish with pear and lemon slice.