Tips on throwing a winning tailgate

Local football foodie Elizabeth Feustel shares advice on preparing the ultimate tailgate fare


Fall belongs to football and every fan looks forward to personalizing the tailgating experience. For most, the food takes the center stage to the set up. This season, try forgoing the traditional chili, hotdog and burger staples and take a chance to really impress fellow fans with something memorable. Local tailgating chef hobbyist, Elizabeth Feustel shares some of her football foodie tips and favorite recipes to really kick up the next pre-game party.

No. 1: Keep it simple

“For most events, you have the luxury of access to whatever you need, whereas the goal for tailgating is to be as simple and minimal as possible,” Feustel said. “For tailgating my go-to recipes are those that can be partially or completely prepped the night before the game. This way all I have to do game day morning is heat something or throw a few ingredients together.”

No. 2: Keep it clean

“I try my best to select recipes that do not take up much cooler space,” said Feustel. “Also, think about clean-up and disposal if you are tailgating all day and staying for an entire game, you don’t want dirty dishes lingering in your car.”

No 3: Keep it Inspired

“I have to admit this is my area of expertise because I really enjoy taking an existing dish and making it my own,” Feustel said. “Always evaluate the various spices and seasonings you could add to enhance the flavors of your dish. For example, chili doesn’t just have to be ground beef and beans; use chicken and vegetables to make enchilada chili…. I would also be lying if I didn’t acknowledge Pinterest as a resource other people (can help make you to be) creative and make things super easy.”

No. 4:  Keep it versatile

“My tailgate group arrives to the stadium by 7:45 a.m. most game days and the game doesn’t start until 1 p.m., so I try to choose recipes that can work for breakfast, brunch or lunch,” Feustel said. “Also, we live in Florida and most of our games are in sweltering temperatures, so I don’t want to have to worry about my snacks sitting out and going bad.”











Simple Pancake Muffins


½ pound breakfast sausage links (more if desired)

1 ½ cups cold milk

4 tablespoons white vinegar

2 cups all-purpose flour

4 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

4 tablespoons butter, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla

Maple syrup



Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook sausage links according to package instructions.

While sausage cooks, combine milk with vinegar and allow it to sit for five minutes.

Finish cooking sausage and set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add eggs, milk mixture, vanilla and melted butter to dry mixture and stir to combine.

Stir in cooked breakfast sausage pieces.

Prepare muffin tins with cooking spray or line with paper liners.

Fill each muffin cup ⅔ of the way full.

Bake 15 - 16 minutes, or until done.

Serve with maple syrup. 


“These are super easy to make the night before a tailgate, as they store well in Ziploc bags overnight. Just make sure you let them cool completing before storing. Pro tip: Heat for 30 seconds in the microwave before you head out for a fresh pancake warmth.

For your vegetarian friends you can easily substitute the sausage for blueberries or chocolate chips.

You can use small disposable plastic cups for maple syrup. Throw them in a Ziploc and place in your cooler until ready to serve with your muffins.

Gallon-sized Ziplock are permitted inside TIAA bank field, so save the leftovers and bring them to the game with you.”


Philly Cheesesteak Sliders


1 pound roast beef (recommend freshly shaved/sliced)

2 tablespoons olive oil

9 slices of provolone cheese

1 large bell pepper - chopped

½ cup chopped onion

4 tablespoons butter, divided in half

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 dozen dinner rolls (sweet Hawaiian works great)

2 tablespoons sesame seeds



Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of melted butter with sesame seeds, set aside.

In medium skillet over medium heat, melt remaining butter. Add chopped vegetables and sauté until tender and slightly golden. Set aside in bowl and wipe skillet clean.

Add olive oil and roast beef to pan and cook until heated through and slightly grilled.

Carefully cut dinner rolls in half, being careful to keep them together, creating a top and bottom.

Place bottom of rolls into 9x13 baking pan. Spread mayonnaise over bottom of rolls. Layer with roast beef, vegetables and cheese on top. Place in oven for 5 - 7 minutes or until cheese is melted, then remove from oven.


“When tailgating, be sure to cook your meat and veggies the night before so that you can quickly assemble the sandwich in the morning.

Bake your sandwiches in a disposable pan that comes with a lid. This makes transportation and clean-up super easy.

If you are waiting a bit to serve, you can reheat your sandwiches by placing your pan on the grill (indirect heat) for a few minutes.

You can use small disposable plastic cups for condiments like extra mayonnaise or mustard. Throw them in a Ziploc and place in your cooler until ready to serve.

Make sure to double the recipe for groups of 10 or more these go fast!

Replace top half of rolls and brush with sesame seed butter. Return to oven for 5 additional minutes or until rolls appear toasted.

Remove from oven and slice into individual sandwiches.”


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