11 Easy, Crowd-Pleasing Recipes for a Tailgate on the Road
Although it doesn’t hurt, you don’t need a fancy rig to pull off a great tailgate on the road. All it takes is a little advance planning, careful packing, and recipes that travel well or that can be cooked on-site.
When transporting food to a game, always keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Transport cold dishes like coleslaw or potato salad in an ice-packed cooler serve them by nesting the serving bowls inside larger bowls of ice. Keep hot foods likes baked beans or chicken wings hot by transporting them in a slow cooker (if you have access to an outlet) or try one of these three easy methods.
Also be sure to round out your menu with a few non-perishable snacks that don’t require refrigeration like pretzels, chips, snack mixes, and nuts. For even more inspiration, check out our tailgating menu ideas, which include everything from drinks to desserts, plus plenty of main and side dish recipes.
Warm Spinach-Sweet Onion Dip with Country Ham
Dry-Rubbed Smoked Chicken Wings
Recipe: Dry-Rubbed Smoked Chicken Wings
Bringing your smoker to the party? Try these incredible dry-rubbed chicken wings from our barbecue cookbook, South’s Best Butts. The recipe, from Butts To Go in Pell City, Alabama are coated with a Memphis-style dry rub and cooked low and slow for the most tender, finger-licking results.
Smoky Snack Mix
Recipe: Smoky Snack MixThis recipe can be doubled or tripled easily, which we highly recommend. Don't skip the white Cheddar cheese crackers—their buttery richness makes them the MVP of this hard-to-resist mix. Use paper cones to make this snack mix easier to grab and enjoy.
Brisket-and-Black Bean Chili with Cilantro-Lime Crema
Recipe: Mini Muffulettas
These sandwiches are small but they’re stuffed with layers of cheese, cold cut, and pickled vegetables. Prepare the muffulettas the day before the game, store in zip-top plastic freezer bags, and refrigerate overnight.
Lemony Potato Salad
Recipe: Lemony Potato Salad
Try our Lemony Potato Salad, which is made with a simple olive oil, lemon juice, and dry mustard dressing. Mayonnaise-based dishes should be refrigerated after two hours (or one hour if it’s 90˚ or hotter outside), but you can serve salads with vinaigrette dressings, like this one, at room temperature.
Asian Ginger Wings
Recipe: Asian Ginger Wings
Make these wings in the slow cooker and bring them to your tailgate in a covered container so they stay warm. The wings will still taste great at room temperature as they cool—but they likely won’t last that long.
Recipe: So-Good Brownies
Sturdy bar cookies like brownies are perfect for tailgating, and you can’t go wrong with these. Make these fudgy brownies plain and simple, or jazz them up with swirls of peanut butter, chopped pretzels, or toasted coconut and cashews.
Recipe: Texas Caviar
We love this party staple because it can be served cold or at room temperature and as a side dish or a dip with tortilla chips.
Big Batch Bloody Marys
Recipe: Big-Batch Bloody Marys
Set up a Bloody Mary bar at your tailgate with celery stalks, pickled okra, and lime wedges.
Whiskey-Apple Cider Punch
Recipe: Whiskey-Apple Cider PunchBring a drink dispenser to your tailgate for easy distribution of this tasty punch.