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Smoking Musket Tailgate Menu: Baylor, featuring cold weather favorites

A home game in December means the end of the football season. Let’s plan a menu that does the work up front so you can have fun.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Unfortunately, tailgating season is coming to a close. It’s been a really fun season and I hope you’ve learned a lot about the food cultures of our opponents this season. With one final tailgate remaining (except for the bowl game), I want to make it easy on you. All of these can be made the day before the tailgate, meaning you can spend your day entertaining and preparing for WVU’s final home game of the 2016 season.

Texas Beef Chili

I’m telling you that if anything screams cowboy food for a tailgate, it’s chili. No, Texas chili is a serious endeavor, just like their barbecue. Texas-style chili, also known as chili con carne, doesn’t use beans and uses chunks of beef, not ground beef, and chili paste.

As with barbecue, you still use a “low and slow” method for chili. This ensures all the tastes are blended together. This recipe uses a whole bunch of simple flavors, which makes for the best chili.

The main ingredient in this is the four pounds of beef chuck roast, cubed and browned. Personally, I like to throw my meat and onions in the stockpot together, but this awesome recipe calls for bacon grease to cook everything in, so we’ll go with that. After the beef chuck is browned, sauté the onions, jalapeños and garlic, then add the chili paste we made.

Pro tip: Add two packets of Chick-fil-A sauce after you stir in the chili paste. This is my own personal secret to good chili.

Then, add the remaining ingredients and add the beef and bacon back into the pot. Let this cook 2-3 hours, until the beef is tender and sauce is thickened. You can transfer this into a crock pot to heat again before the tailgate or keep it in the stock pot and heat that at the tailgate.

As with chili you’re familiar with, top with whatever you want.


Layered Taco Dip

We’ve explored a lot of Tex-Mex items throughout the season, so let’s do one more as we host a team from Texas. This is even a little health-conscious, as the recipe uses ground turkey instead of beef—as health-conscious as a taco dip with cream cheese, shredded cheese, sour cream and mayo can be.

Firstly, brown your turkey with the jalapeños and some of the taco seasoning. While that happens, spread cream cheese on the bottom of a baking dish. Spread a can of refried beans on top of that.

Now, mash some avocado with lemon (or lime) juice. Spread that on top of the refried beans. Mix the sour cream, mayo and taco seasoning together and spread that on top of the avocado. Top is all with the ground turkey mix, then shower it with shredded cheese.

Pro tip: Add fresh cilantro to the smashed avocado for a more guacamole-like taste.

Bake this at 325 for 25 minutes. While the dip is baking, slice bell peppers and cherry tomatoes and chop green onion. Add the fresh veggies on top with a little more cheese. Cover and refrigerate overnight. You can also serve this cold or heat it up on the grill at the tailgate.


Cannoli Cheeseball

A good tailgate needs a dessert. Also, cheeseballs are great at tailgates. So here’s a dessert cheeseball! Not only is this a really simple thing to make, it’s easy to serve and eat!

Simply beat together room-temperature cream cheese, ricotta cheese, powdered sugar, cinnamon and chocolate chips. Then, plop the mixture onto a large sheet of plastic wrap and mold into a ball. Bonus points if you shape this like a football.

After, roll it around in a pile of chocolate chips, then maybe wrap and shape it again to make it holds its shape. You can keep this overnight as well.

Serve this with vanilla wafers for the full cannoli effect.


It’s the final home game of the season, so make sure you have fun! The most important thing for this weekend will be staying warm, so load up on that chili and layer up.