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Game Plan for the Perfect Game-Day Tailgate

Feb 28, 2011 07:25PM ● Published by Ashley West



Gather up the home team and fire up the grill for a tailgate party with all the sights, sounds, and smells of the stadium in your own backyard with these smart game-day strategies from champion pitmaster Chris Lilly and football analyst Mike Golic.

“Tailgating prior to kickoff is a football tradition in my family,” said Golic, “I’m about as big of a grilling enthusiast as I am a sports fan, so any game day is a great day to be around the grill in my backyard.”

The award-winning pitmaster recommends using a charcoal grill to bring out the best flavor of tailgate fare and shares a few quick tips to make your menu a success.

“Nothing says game day like friends and family enjoying the signature smoky aroma and flavors of food prepared on the charcoal grill,” says Lilly.

Score an Early First Down: Chips and dip make great appetizers for any party. Try paring tortilla chips with a coal-fired pico de gallo for an instant fan favorite. Give tomatoes, peppers, and onions a quick turn on the grill before combining with cilantro, garlic, salt, sugar, and limejuice to taste. 

Home Field Advantage: Combine two game-day traditions at your tailgate party — grilling and pizza. Grilled pizza is a creative alternative to delivery when hosting guests for the big game. Plus, you can fire up another pizza on the grill immediately instead of having to wait for the delivery guy.

Instant Replay: One of the perks to hosting your own tailgate party is enjoying the leftovers. From chicken tacos to Philly cheese steak sandwiches, there are limitless options for what you can fix with the meat your guests don’t finish. Just make sure it gets cooked properly on game day — don’t forget to let it sit or “rest” undisturbed for 10 to 15 minutes before serving to allow the temperature to equalize and reabsorb the internal juices.

 

Grilled Steak Pizza

Makes: 4 servings 
Prep Time: 15 minutes 
Cook Time: 9-12 minutes 

1/4 pounds sirloin steak
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 13.8-ounce tube pizza dough
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup queso fresca cheese
1/4 cup salsa verde
3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

Preheat grill using charcoal.

Season steak with salt and pepper and grill for 4 to 5 minutes for rare. Remove steak from grill and let rest for five minutes. Thinly slice steak.

Roll dough out on a well-floured board or pizza peel. Slide dough from peel on to grill and grill for 3 to 5 minutes or until toasted and crispy on the underside.

Flip the pizza dough over and top evenly with sliced steak, green onions, and queso fresca. Place cover over grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese has melted and is golden.

Remove pizza from grill and serve drizzled with salsa verde and cilantro.

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