Jackie Garvin, the Florida blogger behind Syrup and Biscuits, is ready for football season and has the perfect recipe to kick things off.

Photo: Jackie Garvin

While the scorching hot temperatures and oppressive humidity of summer in the Deep South hang over us like a relentless fog, we look forward to the fall. Not only do we get some relief from the weather and the fear that we might spontaneously combust,  fall means college football. Southeastern Conference (SEC) football is big and serious business. Folks' interest in the game is only rivaled by their interest in the tailgating party. So, let's get a leg up and plan ahead for the party. I'm sharing a recipe for Grilled Flatbread Taco Pizza with Creamy Taco Sauce and tips to make it a tailgating hit.

I grew up in Alabama during the days of Paul "Bear" Bryant, head football coach at University of Alabama. My family considered him a legend. University of Alabama football was the center of the universe, according to some family members. To them, it was more than a sporting event. In some ways, they considered "Bear and the boys" part of the family. Conversation about the team members was natural and easy. Last names weren't needed. Everyone was readily identified by first names only.

WATCH: Southern Tailgating Foods to Master

So, on to tailgating and game day parties. Grilling is a popular cooking method for both venues so a recipe that's grilled, and a mash up between two popular dishes—tacos and pizza—is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser. My philosophy is have things organized, prepped in advanced, and as much done ahead as possible. A host should be able to enjoy her party and her guests. Which is why this Grilled Flatbread Taco Pizza with Creamy Taco Sauce is perfect for tailgating hosts and guests. Especially when you follow these organization and preparation tips:

  1. Make the sauce at least one day ahead and store in refrigerator. The flavor improves after a day or two. Use a hands-free squirt bottle for application.
     
  2. Cherry type tomatoes are easier to deal with than big tomatoes. Half only the ones needed when they're needed. Tomatoes are one thing you don't want to cut in advance and store in the refrigerator unless mushy, tasteless tomatoes are your bag.
     
  3. Naan (Indian flatbread) is a practical choice for portable party food. It's completely cooked and doesn't require refrigeration so there's no food safety worries. It is often sold in the bakery section of your grocery store, near the pita bread.
     
  4. Make the taco meat the day before and completely cool, then mix shredded cheese in with the meat. We will place cold meat and cheese on naan and warn it on the grill. No need to keep meat and cheese separate. Store in the refrigerator and transport in a disposable storage bag.
     
  5. Bagged lettuce in one of the handiest ingredients around. Use only what you need and it's one less thing for you to chop. Go bagged lettuce!
     
  6. Bagged pre-shredded cheese wins for the convenience factor but it doesn't melt as well as cheese you grate yourself. Since we're melting the cheese along with the seasoned taco meat, grate cheese just this one time, Or, assign that job to someone else. In the end, using pre-shredded bagged cheese isn't the end of the world. The decision is up to you. No judgement here.

For tailgating or game day parties, don't forget salsa and chips, sausage cheese balls, and pulled pork nachos. And, please, for the love of all that is Southern and good, don't you dare forget boiled peanuts.

Y'all come see us!

Click here for Jackie Garvin's recipe for Grilled Flatbread Taco Pizza with Creamy Taco Sauce

Jackie Garvin is an Alabama born and raised, award-winning author and cook. She is the author of the popular Southern food blog, "Syrup and Biscuits", and two Southern-inspired cookbooks: Biscuits and Sweet Potato Love. She currently lives in Florida with her husband and Basset Hound, both of whom are well fed.