Chefs Weigh In On Their Favorite Game Day Snacks


June 01, 2017 | Food Lion
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The Big Game is just around the corner and it's time to get serious—serious about the snack spread, that is. Watching the game is a great excuse to gather a group of friends or family together around shareable eats that are simple to prepare, and in some cases, can be made in advance.

And who better to coach us on stellar snack making than chefs across the country?

Here are a few ideas and recipes to take your game day eats to the next level.

Frito Pie

For a real crowd pleaser, chef Jason Dady who owns restaurants across Texas, including Two Bros. BBQ Market, likes to whip up a Frito pie. His recipe—designed to serve 30 or more people—tops the favorite corn chip with brisket and other toppings you'd find atop nachos. The savory "pie" doesn't take that much time to prepare (unless you smoke your own brisket), so it can be made right before game time.

“Big Tex" Frito Pie Tailgating Recipe

What you'll need:

  • 12 lb chopped beef (15 lb whole brisket)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper
  • 64 oz BBQ sauce
  • 8 10.25-oz bags of Frito Corn Chips

Garnishes:

  • 3 lb shredded cheddar cheese
  • 3 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 lb jalapeño peppers, diced
  • 1 lb scallions, chopped
  • 1 lb red onion, diced
  • 6 cilantro bunches
  • 64 oz sour cream
  • 32 oz BBQ sauce

For chopped beef, buy a whole cooked brisket (or smoke your own). Using a large chef knife, chop beef into very small pieces and add to the 64 oz of BBQ sauce. Season as needed with salt and pepper, if needed. Set Aside.

To Serve, heat chopped beef in large pan.

Using a large 48 inch paella pan, open all bags of Fritos and cover the bottom of the pan. It should be at least 2 inches deep of Fritos, across the entire pan.

Add the hot chopped beef, in the center of the Fritos and spread across the entire pan.

Garnish next with cheese, tomato, jalapeño, scallions, red onion.

Chop the cilantro and sprinkle on top.

Using a large spoon, place large dollops of sour cream randomly around the Frito pie.

To finish, drizzle with remaining 32 oz of BBQ sauce.

It's all about the dip

A game watching essential is some sort of chips and dip, easy to consume while watching the next big play. Chef Jason Santos of Abby Lane and Back Bay Harry's in Boston (and avid Patriots fan!) created a dip based on the flavors of another popular game day snack: buffalo chicken. His buffalo chicken dip combines chicken with buffalo sauce, creamy ranch and tons of cheese. Much of the dip can be made in advance so you can dunk chips with the rest of your guests.

Buffalo Chicken Dip (Makes about 4 cups)

What you'll need:

  • 4 oz. mascarpone
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup ranch dressing (see below)
  • ½ cup buffalo sauce (see below)
  • 1 oz. mozzarella, shredded
  • 1 oz. provolone, shredded
  • 1 lb of chicken breast, cooked & shredded
  • 2 tbl. chives, minced
  • ¼ cup your favorite blue cheese (chef likes Moody Blue, smoked blue cheese)
  • cracked black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk cream cheese and mascarpone until smooth.

Stir in the dressing, hot sauce and cheeses. Mix in the chicken and pour into cast iron pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling. Garnish with fresh chopped chives, blue cheese and cracked black pepper.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Whisk cream cheese and mascarpone until smooth.

Stir in the dressing, hot sauce and cheeses. Mix in the chicken and pour into cast iron pan and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken mixture is hot and bubbling. Garnish with fresh chopped chives, blue cheese and cracked black pepper.

Buffalo Sauce (Makes about 1 and 1/2 cups)

What you'll need:

  • 1 medium sized Spanish onions, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ½ lb. butter
  • ½ tbl. chili powder
  • ½ tbl. paprika
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 1 oz. white wine
  • ¾ cups franks hot sauce
  • 1 ½ oz. light brown sugar
  • honey to taste

Sweat garlic and onion in ¼ lb of butter, add spices and cook for 30 seconds, then deglaze with white wine, add hot sauce and brown sugar. Puree with remaining butter and season with honey, salt & pepper.

Butternut Ranch (Makes 2 cups)

What you'll need:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 tbl. red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbl. Italian parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbl. minced chives
  • 1 tbl. fresh dill, chopped
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tbl. onion powder
  • ½ tbl. celery salt
  • pinch of cayenne

Mix all ingredients and season

Fries with a twist

French Fries are a beloved treat—and they're also an easy thing to make. Just find your favorite bag in the freezer section to pop in the oven for this recipe. Kitchen manager Zach McGrath of Waller Creek Pub House in Austin, Texas, puts a simple twist on his fries with the addition of Asian flavors. He thinks they make up the perfect balance of sweet, spicy and savory.

Asian Fries

  • 1 bag of French Fries
  • sriracha
  • hoisin sauce
  • lime mayo (see below)
  • cilantro
  • ½ cup chopped peanuts

For the Lime Mayo

  • 2 limes
  • ½ cup mayo

Mix ½ cup of mayo with the juice from 2 freshly squeezed limes; add more or less juice based on personal taste.

For the Asian Fries

Cook French Fries per instructions on bag.

Drizzle fries with Sriracha, hoisin, and lime mayo to your likingTop with cilantro and chopped peanuts

Create Your Own Seafood Boil

If you're looking to get a little more adventurous with game day eats, creating a seafood boil is a good way to do it. LowCountry in Chicago, Illinois, offers up a Super Boil that you can recreate at home. They suggest boiling up your favorite seafood—from shrimp to lobster—and whipping up a complimentary sauce, whether it be a lemon pepper or garlic-butter blend. “When creating a home boil, try to seek balance. Boils are normally buttery, garlicky goodness, so try to counter that with something refreshing and crisp, such as pickled veggies and coleslaw. It cools the palette and allows your diners to dive in for more throughout the game!" says owner Pan Hompluem.