Next-Level Tailgating

The best dishes are low maintenance, portable, and, above all, delicious!

For those of you dedicated to the art of pre-game noshing, grills are a must, stuff on sticks is a good choice, and anything you can make with beer, which gives meat a tender, more flavorful texture, is likely going to be a Win. 

Tailgate Chicken Skewers

by Jackie Dodd

  • 1 cup brown ale
  • 2 Tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • For the glaze:
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup stout beer
  • ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp Sriracha hot pepper sauce
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

In medium bowl stir together the brown ale, salt, granulated sugar, and onion powder. Add chicken thighs. Refrigerate and brine for 2-4 hours.

While chicken is brining, place 6 wooden skewers in water, allow to soak for 30 minutes to one hour.

Prepare the glaze. Heat olive oil over medium high heat, add the garlic (tip: use a microplane to quickly reduce garlic to a paste in seconds, rather than mincing with a knife), stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a strong simmer until thickened, about 8 minutes.

Preheat grill to medium high. Remove chicken from brine, rinse well and pat dry.

Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces, thread onto prepared skewers. Brush the
chicken on all sides with glaze, place on the grill, close lid.

After two minutes, turn and brush with additional glaze. Repeat until chicken is cooked through, about 6 minutes.

COOK’S NOTE: Chicken thighs are more flavorful than chicken breast, and also stand up better to high temperatures without drying out, making them the perfect choice for grilling.

Yes, you can grill these, too!

Grilled Hearts of Romaine


  • 1 c mayonnaise
  • 1/2 c sour cream
  • 1/4 c whole milk; more as needed
  • 6 oz. crumbled blue cheese
  • 1-1/2 T finely grated shallot
  • 1 clove finely grated garlic
  • 1 T fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1/8 t freshly ground black pepper


  • 2 hearts romaine, bases trimmed but intact, halved lengthwise
  • Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
  • Kosher salt, black pepper
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked & crumbled

Stir dressing ingredients in medium bowl. Cover, refrigerate at least 3 hours to let flavors develop. Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary. Dressing will thicken and may be thinned with more milk.

Heat gas grill or prepare charcoal fire to medium-low. (Be sure grate is hot.) Lightly brush olive oil over romaine, taking care not to break leaves. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. 

Put lettuce cut side down on the grate, directly over heat. Grill until outer leaves are charred and wilted, lettuce is warm and just barely tender to the core, 2-5 mins, depending on heat of your grill. Transfer lettuce to a clean platter and let rest 5 minutes.

Place half a heart of romaine, cut side up, on each plate, top with dressing, sprinkle with crumbled bacon. Serve immediately.

S’mores hand pies The Gunny Sack

  • 1 pie crust dough
  • 12 milk chocolate segments
  • 1 graham cracker, split into four
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow cream
  • 40 mini marshmallows
  • 1 egg white, beaten

Roll out pie crust dough, cut into four large circles (about 6″ each) using a bowl as a pattern (reroll scraps to use all the dough).

Place small graham cracker segment in the center of the dough circle. Add two squares of chocolate and a dab of marshmallow cream.

Place about ten mini marshmallows into the marshmallow cream.

Wet the edges of the dough. Fold dough over the s’mores toppings, pressing it in place. Fold up the edges, pressing them in place. Crimp edges with fingers or fork.

Brush the whole hand pie (top and bottom) with a beaten egg white.

Lightly grease the grill grates and start by grilling the top of s’mores hand pies about two minutes over medium heat.

Flip the hand pies over and cook the bottoms for two minutes. Move the hand pies to the upper rack to cook for an additional minute in the indirect heat.

After removing them from the grill, put a dab of marshmallow cream on top of each hand pie.

Place a segment of chocolate in the middle of the marshmallow cream to hold it in place.