This classic has unexpected potential. 

By Southern Living Editors
October 04, 2017

Tailgates have a way of bringing out the overachiever inside all of us. But oftentimes instead of sitting down with our guests and beaming with pride over the spread of snacks we've prepared, we're left looking at a landscape crowded with dips and attempts at bite-sized appetizers that don't resemble the Instagram image you were inspired by.

The right approach: pick a two or three simple stunners that can morph and shift as needed. The best example: pimento cheese. Obvious selection we know, but you likely only encounter it served near a plate full of crackers. Instead, we use it as the foundation for multiple snack offerings at our tailgate.

Here's the game plan. Make a basic, middle-of-the-road pimento cheese (free of controversial ingredients and a texture that hits somewhere in between smooth and chunky). We've even gathered some tips for helping you achieve just this. Next, make a double, or even triple, batch according to your guestlist. Place it in a bigger serving bowl or in multiple bowls of different sizes.

Next, set out the building blocks to pair with it. We recommend a platter filled with crudite-style veggies, another plate with slider rolls and sliced ham or proscuitto, and one more filled with thin slices of pretzel bread, seeded flat breads (like Raincoast Crisps), and crispy bread sticks. Each of your guests can decide how they want to apply their pimento cheese, but it remains the foundation for each snack.

Of course you can elevate each of these concepts or even make a giant board that combines all three into one mega appetizer board.

But whether you go fancy or fuss-free, you can spend more time worrying about your team's chances and less on food come game day.