Over the Top Tailgating

Traditional tailgating reaches new heights with creative recipes and over-the-top tent decor.

Recipes contributed and styled by Sarah McCullen | Decorating by Take it to the Grove | Photographed by Joe Worthem | Cups and Napkins provided by Olive Juice Gifts


Hotty toddy, it’s Grove season! Find inspiration for your tailgate gatherings as well as recipes that will hit the spot while you celebrate the return of college football.


Everyone’s Favorite Fried Chicken Sauce

Pair good ole store-bought friend chicken with this special sauce!


¼ cup honey

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

¼ cup barbecue sauce

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ cup mayonnaise


Combine all ingredients, and serve with your favorite fried chicken.


Laurie’s New Orleans-Style Shrimp Remoulade

Contributed by Chicory Market


2 pounds fresh raw Gulf shrimp

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

2 cups extra-virgin olive oil, divided

1 cup finely chopped green onions

¾ cup finely chopped celery

½ medium-size white onion, chopped

¾ cup chopped bell pepper

2 garlic cloves, pressed or minced

2 ½ teaspoons grated fresh ginger

¾ cup minced fresh parsley

1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh basil

1 tablespoon minced arugula

1 tablespoon grated fresh lemon zest

¾ cup apple cider or white wine vinegar

4 ½ teaspoons lemon juice

½ teaspoon yellow mustard

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Hot sauce (such as Tabasco), to taste

2 dried bay leaves


Peel and devein shrimp. Saute shrimp, salt and pepper in ¾ cup of the oil until shrimp are pink and cooked through (be careful not to overcook), about 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool. In a large bowl, stir together remaining ingredients until well blended. Add shrimp and toss. Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 1 hour and up to 24 hours. Serve on crackers, crostini or over angel hair pasta.


Bacon-Wrapped Balsamic Brussels Sprouts


20 to 25 large Brussels sprouts

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 pound sliced bacon

2/3 cup brown sugar

Wooden toothpicks


Preheat oven to 400°F. Trim and half Brussels sprouts. Toss with balsamic vinegar. Cut each strip of bacon into 2 to 3 pieces, and wrap 1 piece around each Brussels sprout half; secure with a toothpick. Place brown sugar in a shallow dish, and dip each piece in sugar to coat. Place on a baking sheet, and roast until bacon is crisp, about 20 to 30 minutes.


Tortellini Kebabs


1 package cheese-filled tortellini

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Mini skewers

20 to 30 garlic-stuffed olives

20 to 30 slices of assorted preserved meats (such as salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, capicola)

1 block sharp white cheddar cheese, cubed


Cook tortellini according to package directions. Drain pasta, and toss with olive oil and Italian seasoning. Thread tortellini, olives, sliced meat (folded in quarters) and cheese cubes onto skewers in desired order. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Onion and Cheddar Pigs in a Blanket


2 tablespoons butter, divided

1 sweet onion, thinly sliced

2 tablespoons sugar

1 package smoked sausage

1 block cheddar cheese

2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls

¼ cup honey

¼ cup Dijon mustard


Preheat oven to 375°F. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add onions, and cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 10 minutes. Add sugar, and cook, stirring often, until caramelized, about another 10 minutes; remove from heat.


Cut sausage into 2-inch pieces, and quarter each piece lengthwise. Cut cheese into 2-inch strips, similar in size to sausage pieces. Cut each crescent roll dough piece in half to create 2 triangles. Place 1 sausage piece, 1 cheese piece, and a scoop of onions on each wide end of dough piece, and roll up dough to enclose filling. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.


In a small bowl, microwave honey and 1 tablespoon of butter for 30 seconds. Stir in Dijon mustard. Brush each roll with honey mustard mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 35 to 45 minutes.

Mexican Street Corn Dip


2 tablespoons butter

3 cans corn

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 jalapeno

2 tablespoon mayonnaise

3 green onions

¾ cup crumbled queso fresco

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Zest and juice of 1 lime

Salt, to taste


In a skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add corn, and cook, stirring, until corn is browned and smells nutty. Stir in garlic and chili powder, and cook 1 minute. Remove from heat; transfer to a serving bowl. If using a gas burner, char jalapeno over direct heat, rotating until charred on all sides (or broil jalapeno on a foil-lined baking sheet, turning until charred on all sides). Remove charred skin, slice in half, discard seeds and dice. Add pepper and remaining ingredients to corn. Serve with corn chips, or cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Beef Jerky Parmesan Popcorn

*exclusive online recipe*


3 bags natural popcorn, popped

1 (8-ounce) package beef jerky

3 ¼ cup butter

½ cup Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish

1 tablespoon parsley


Pop popcorn, and dice beef jerky into bite-size pieces. In a small bowl, melt butter, and add cheese and parsley. In a large bowl, toss popcorn, jerky and butter-cheese mixture. Garnish with extra Parmesan, and serve.


Caramel Apple Bundt Cake


2 cups granulated sugar

1 ¼ cups vegetable oil

3 large eggs

1 (0.74-ounce) packet apple cider mix

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon apple pie spice

1 teaspoon salt

3 medium Granny Smith apples,

peeled, cored and cubed

½ cup butter

½ cup brown sugar

2 teaspoons heavy cream

½ teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325°F. In a medium bowl, beat sugar, oil and eggs until pale yellow and fluffy. Beat in apple cider mix and vanilla. In another bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, apple pie spice and salt. Gradually add flour mixture to oil mixture, beating on low speed just until blended after each addition. Fold in apples. Pour batter into a greased and floured Bundt pan. Bake in for 1 ½ hours, or until a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan on for 15 minutes, then turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.


While the cake is cooling, heat butter, brown sugar, cream and vanilla in a saucepan until bubbling. Remove from heat, and drizzle ¼ of the syrup over the warm cake. Let the rest of the syrup cool for about 10 minutes, then pour over the cake to glaze. Sprinkle cake with extra brown sugar to garnish.


White Chocolate and Rum Raisin Bread Pudding

*exclusive online recipe*


½ cup golden raisins

¾ cup rum

1 loaf French bread

½ cup butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

4 eggs

2 cans evaporated milk

½ cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cinnamon, to taste

Nutmeg, to taste

1 cup white chocolate chips


Rum Sauce

½ cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 egg

Rum, to taste


In a small bowl, cover golden raisins with rum and rehydrate, at least 2 hours or overnight (12 hours). Tear French bread into 1-2 inch cubes and set out until dry. When bread is dry, cream butter and sugar. Preheat oven to 350°F. Add eggs to sugar mixture, then combine. Add milk, cream, vanilla and spices. Drain the raisins, and pour the rum into the liquid ingredients.


In a greased baking dish, add half of the dried French bread and half of the egg mixture. Sprinkle ½ cup of white chocolate chips and half of the raisins over soaked bread, then finish by layering the last of the bread, the last of the egg mixture, and another 1/2 cup of white chocolate chips and the rest of the soaked raisins. Let the bread soak about 10 minutes, pressing gently every few minutes to promote a thorough soak. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour, until golden brown.


Once pudding is done baking, prepare the Rum Sauce. Over medium heat, melt butter in a small saucepan. Add sugar, stirring until dissolved. In a small bowl, whisk milk and egg. Remove butter and sugar from heat, and add milk mixture, whisking constantly to keep egg from curdling. Place back over heat until just boiling, then remove from heat again. Let cool for about 10 minutes, then add rum to taste. Serve pudding topped with sauce and whipped cream, if desired.


Oatmeal Lace Cookies

*exclusive online recipe*


1 cup butter 2 ¼ cups light brown sugar, packed 2 ¼ cups oats

3 tablespoons flour 1 teaspoon salt 1 large egg, whisked 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add brown sugar, and stir until bubbly. Turn off heat and add oats, flour, salt, egg and vanilla. Using a teaspoon, drop cookies about 2 inches apart to allow room for them to spread. Bake for about 6 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool on pan for 2-3 minutes before removing.

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