Texas Living

Tailgating Recipes to Win the Day

By Abi Grise Morgan 7.28.22

Tailgating fare is serious business. Bringing an addictively tasty finger food or choosing the right barbeque rub can make you a legend amongst friends, family, and neighbors. Keep your tailgating game going strong by trying out these tasty tailgating recipes next game day.

tailgating recipes
Photo by Imani Chet Lytle


The right barbecue rub can earn you a spot in the tailgating hall of fame (amongst your friends, at least). Steal these rub recipes from four of Texas’ top pitmasters, and remember: It doesn’t have to be complicated, and your method is just as important as the ingredients. Bring along your favorite Texas barbecue sauce for extra fire.

If you’re toting a smoker and a deep fryer to game day, Texas-style poutine is a solid choice. Poutine is a staple game day food for hockey fans up north. Crispy potatoes and melt-in-your-mouth brisket warm your bones on a cold day!

Photography by Elizabeth Lavin; Food Styling by Lisa Martel-Mohon; Prop Styling by Jamie Laubhan-Oliver

On the Grill

You can’t go wrong with the perfect burger or hot dog but mixing up the menu keeps things fresh. Steak kebabs are an easy, filling alternative for carnivores — and sneak in some veggies to your celebration. Tenderize the meat beforehand with a simple marinade made with soy sauce and Worcestershire sauce.

It doesn’t get much better than fresh corn. Throw a few ears on the grill to cook up one of Texas’ most popular street foods: fresh elotes. Let guests customize their cups by setting out a toppings bar with butter, sour cream, queso fresco, and hot sauce. Pro tip: Bring floss!

tailgating recipes
Photo by Natalie Goff

Finger Foods

Perfect portions. Less trash. Kid friendly. Finger foods are the ultimate tailgating fare – and the options are endless. Keep it simple with cut veggies and hummus or chips and guacamole, or show off your culinary skills with a decadent make-ahead choice, such as caramelized onion and goat cheese palmiers or armadillo eggs (bacon-wrapped jalapeños stuffed with sausage and cream cheese. Did I mention bacon already?).

tailgating recipes

Hot Drinks

The end of football season can get chilly. Stay cozy and warm with a slow cooker of mulled apple cider. Keep it fragrant with fresh vanilla bean, cinnamon sticks, and cloves. Another easy win is setting up a DIY hot cocoa bar for the kids, complete with homemade marshmallows that melt in your mouth.

tailgating recipes

DIY Dog Treats

Four-legged friends have a lot to love at the tailgate, too: endless pets, games, and adorable canine fanwear. (OK, it’s probably you looking forward to that one!) Reward your good boy or girl with homemade dog treats that provide the energy they need for a long day.

Continue getting ready for the big game by brushing up on your tailgating etiquette.

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