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Whether you’re tailgating outside a stadium or in your own backyard, you want to have innovative and delicious grilling ideas that everyone will enjoy. From the game to the camaraderie to the food, every part of your afternoon will be perfect with these fun and yummy grilling ideas.

Grilling Ideas FAQ


1. What Is Tailgating?

The term developed from the understanding of tailgating as driving too close to the car in front of you. When you tailgate in this way, you are often grilling behind your car in a stadium parking lot. However, many fans take the spirit of tailgating into their homes and backyards. Wherever you’re celebrating, you’ll want to do it with these grilling ideas. 

2. Where Can You Buy Supplies for Tailgating?

You can get ingredients and supplies for tailgating at any marketplace or from any grocery delivery service. 

 

How We Reviewed

Finding the best grilling ideas for your tailgate will depend on several factors, such as how much money you’re looking to spend on food, how much time you’re willing to spend prepping and cooking the food, and of course, personal preference. To help you get together a great menu to prepare you and your pals for the game, we’ve listed some of our favorite recipes. In no time,  you’ll be pulling out the grill and cracking open a beer while all your friends are astounded at your grilling skills.

What W​​​​e Reviewed​​​​

  • Grilled Brats with Sriracha Mayo
  • Grilled Vegetable Platter
  • Can-Can Chicken
  • Herb & Cheese-Stuffed Burgers
  • Baja Chicken & Slaw Sliders
  • Grilled Herbed Chicken Drumettes With White Barbecue Sauce
  • Dixie Beef Burgers With Chowchow Spread
  • Chili-Barbecued Chicken
  • Grilled Corn in the Style of Oaxaca
  • Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches

Grilled Brats with Sriracha Mayo


Grilled Brats with Sriracha Mayo

Details 

This delicious twist on the classic brat will turn your friends into your biggest fans. Pair these delicious brats with other great grilling ideas to make the perfect pre-game meal!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup minced roasted sweet red peppers
  • 3 tablespoons Sriracha Asian hot chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 4 fully cooked bratwurst links
  • 4 brat buns or hot dog buns, split
  • 1/2 cup dill pickle relish
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • Ketchup, optional

Directions

  1. Mix the first four ingredients together to make  your Sriracha mayo
  2. Boil the brats in your favorite beer to reduce the fat before grilling
  3. Grill the brats on medium heat for 7-10 minutes, turning the brats to cook evenly
  4. Serve the brats on your favorite buns with the Sriracha mayo, relish, red onion, and any other toppings


Grilled Vegetable Platter


Grilled Vegetable Platter

Details 

​This delicious side dish perfectly pairs with grilled meats. Every tailgate needs some salty, savory veggies to snack on, and this recipe will satisfy.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 4 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • Dash salt
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
  • 3 small carrots, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 large sweet red pepper, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1 medium yellow summer squash, cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients. Place 3 tablespoons marinade in a large resealable plastic bag. Add vegetables; seal bag and turn to coat. Marinate 1-1/2 hours at room temperature.
  2. Transfer vegetables to a grilling grid; place grid on grill rack. Grill vegetables, covered, over medium heat 8-12 minutes or until crisp-tender, turning occasionally.
  3. Place vegetables on a large serving plate. Drizzle with remaining marinade.


Can-Can Chicken


Can-Can Chicken

Details 

This scrumptious twist on the classic beer can chicken is both traditional and surprising. Paired with other grilling ideas, it’ll make for the perfect tailgate.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 broiler/fryer chicken (3-1/2 to 4 pounds)
  • 1 can (12 ounces) beer

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix the first seven ingredients. With fingers, carefully loosen skin from chicken; rub seasoning mixture under and over the skin. Tuck wings under chicken. Refrigerate, covered, 1 hour.
  2. Completely cover all sides of an 8- or 9-in. baking pan with foil. Place a beer-can chicken rack securely in the pan. Remove half of the beer from the can. Using a can opener, make additional large holes in the top of the can; place can in the rack.
  3. Stand chicken vertically on rack; place on grill rack. Grill, covered, over indirect medium heat 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours or until a thermometer inserted in thickest part of the thigh reads 170°-175°.
  4. Carefully remove the pan from grill; tent chicken with foil. Let stand 15 minutes before carving.


Herb & Cheese-Stuffed Burgers


Herb & Cheese-Stuffed Burgers

Details 

Surprise your friends with these burgers – they’re far more than meets the eye! This will become one of your favorite grilling ideas, at the tailgate, or on a calm weekend with the family. 

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard, divided
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage leaves
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean)
  • 4 hamburger buns, split
  • Optional toppings: lettuce leaves and tomato slices

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, mix cheddar cheese, cream cheese, parsley, and 1 teaspoon mustard. In another bowl, mix green onions, bread crumbs, ketchup, seasonings, and remaining mustard. Add beef; mix lightly but thoroughly.
  2. Shape mixture into eight thin patties. Spoon cheese mixture onto the center of four patties; top with remaining patties, pressing edges firmly to seal.
  3. Grill burgers, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat 4-5 minutes on each side or until a thermometer reads 160°. Serve on buns with toppings as desired.


Baja Chicken & Slaw Sliders


Herb & Cheese-Stuffed Burgers

Details 

This treat, with a kick, will easily become a new favorite of all your pals. Adding delicious slaw to sliders makes this one of our all-time favorite grilling ideas!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon lime juice

SLAW:

  • 1 cup broccoli coleslaw mix
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet red pepper
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

SLIDERS:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
  • 8 Hawaiian sweet rolls, split
  • 8 small lettuce leaves
  • 8 slices tomato

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine sour cream, lime zest and lime juice. In another small bowl, combine slaw ingredients. Chill sauce and slaw until serving.
  2. Cut each chicken breast in half widthwise; flatten to 1/2-in. thickness. Sprinkle with seasonings.
  3. Moisten a paper towel with cooking oil; using long-handled tongs, rub on grill rack to coat lightly. Grill chicken, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from heat 4-7 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.
  4. Grill rolls, cut sides down, 30-60 seconds or until toasted. Serve chicken on rolls with lettuce, tomato, sauce, and slaw.


Dixie Beef Burgers With Chowchow or Banana Pepper Spread


Dixie Beef Burgers With Chowchow or Banana Pepper Spread

Details 

These delicious burgers come ready with two amazing sauces: the sweet Chowchow spread and the tangy banana pepper spread. Make both and let your friends decide which is the winner.

Chowchow Spread

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chowchow 
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise

Directions

  1. Stir together chowchow and mayonnaise in a small bowl
  2. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 2 days

Banana Pepper Spread

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup jarred mild banana pepper rings, drained and chopped 
  • 3 tablespoons mayonnaise 
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  1. Stir together chopped banana pepper, mayonnaise, and paprika in a small bowl
  2. Serve immediately, or cover and chill up to 2 days

Dixie Beef Burgers

Ingredients

  • 1 (13.5-oz.) package frozen onion rings 
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, quartered 
  • 1 tablespoon honey 
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar 
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped sweet onion, divided 
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided 
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck 
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper 
  • 1 (8-oz.) package country ham biscuit slices 
  • 4 sourdough hamburger buns, split 
  • 4 green leaf lettuce leaves

Directions

  1. Prepare onion rings according to package directions; keep warm on a wire rack in a jelly-roll pan at 200° up to 20 minutes.
  2. Stir together tomatoes, honey, cider vinegar, 1/4 cup onion, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
  3. Preheat grill to 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat. Gently combine beef, pepper, and remaining 1/4 cup onion and 1/2 tsp. salt in a large bowl until blended, using hands. Shape mixture into 4 (4-inch-wide, 3/4-inch-thick) patties.
  4. Grill, covered with grill lid, over 350° to 400° (medium-high) heat 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until beef is no longer pink in center. Grill ham slices 1 to 2 minutes on each side or until lightly crisp. Grill buns, cut sides down, 1 to 2 minutes or until lightly toasted.
  5. Layer each of 4 bun halves with lettuce, burger, Chowchow or Banana Pepper Spread, grilled ham slices, and an onion ring. Spoon tomato mixture into centers of each onion ring. Top with remaining bun halves. Serve with remaining onion rings.

Grilled Corn in the Style of Oaxaca


Grilled Corn in the Style of Oaxaca

Details 

​This savory corn will make every tailgate complete.

Ingredients

  • 6 ears fresh corn with husks 
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise 
  • 2 tablespoons fat-free sour cream 
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons chili powder 2 limes, cut into wedges 
  • Vegetable cooking spray 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt 
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Prepare a hot fire by piling charcoal on one side of grill, leaving the other side empty. (For gas grills, light only one side of grill.)
  2. Remove heavy outer husks from corn; pull back inner husks. Remove and discard silks. Tie inner husks together with string.
  3. Stir together mayonnaise and sour cream in a small bowl, and set aside. Place Parmesan cheese, chili powder, and lime wedges in small serving bowls, and set aside.
  4. Coat each corn cob lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle corn evenly with salt and pepper. Position corn on food grate of grill so that tied husks lie on unlit side to prevent burning husks.
  5. Grill corn, covered with grill lid, over medium-high heat (350°to 400°) 10 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Place grilled corn cobs on a platter.
  6. Spread corn evenly with mayonnaise mixture, and sprinkle evenly with cheese and chili powder. Squeeze lime wedges over corn.

The Verdict

Wherever you’re tailgating the game with your friends, bring along the best grill ideas to transform your tailgate into a celebration. From specialty meats to savory veggies to cold brews, help your pals let loose and keep warm with delicious food during this cold season. Pick your favorite recipes and create a menu that will fulfill everyone, young and old. 

This season, create tailgates that everyone will remember. Visit our website today for more recipes, reviews, and tricks to make this game season the best one yet.

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