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The Smoking Musket Tailgate Menu: Cold weather tailgate in Stillwater

A tailgating favorite to keep everyone warm.

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

One of my good friends from West Virginia posted a meme this week that said, “When people think of fall, they think of pumpkin spice. I think of chili.” That meme, and my friend Jacob, are spot on. Now, I understand that the weather most of the country has been experiencing this week feels more like winter than fall, but chili is still the perfect dish to warm you up and

Chili is the best tailgate food for a cold day preparing to cheer on your team. Chili is also something very personal and one of the most contentious dishes to prepare that everyone is going to like anyway. Seriously, so many people fight over what goes in chili but rarely do we complain while eating it.

Trisha Yearwood’s Fancy Chili

This particular recipe requires a bit of explanation. You may know who Trisha Yearwood is. She’s a 90s country music diva who now has her own cooking show on Food Network. She’s also married to megastar Garth Brooks, who is an Oklahoma State alumnus. Trisha knew she couldn’t match Garth’s mother’s chili (which is apparently one of his favorite dishes), so she jazzed up her own recipe.

Trisha’s main changes are swapping the normal diced yellow onion for sliced green onions, using fire-roasted tomatoes instead of the normal variety, and adding shredded carrots. Honestly, the carrots add a nice texture to the dish, giving a bite.

Start by throwing some a lot of crushed or minced garlic, sliced green onions and ground beef into a pot with oil and brown the beef. While browning the beef (not after it’s browned), add half of the chili powder, then add the rest after it’s browned (or keep adding until your nostrils burn). Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 15 to 30 minutes. Have extra sliced green onions to top it.

You totally can make this at your tailgate on the grill or you can make it the night before and heat it up at your tailgate.

Grilled Garlic Bread

One of the best ways to eat chili is to dip bread into it. Be it a grilled cheese sandwich or just a nice piece of toast, it’s a great compliment to a hearty bowl of chili and makes the meal more robust.

Garlic is my favorite culinary ingredient. I love it. I use too much of it when cooking, but I don’t think it’s a problem because everyone I cook for seems to enjoy it, too. This garlic bread uses plenty of it, and for good cause, and it’s easy on the grill.

While your grill is heating on low, take a big loaf of Italian bread and slice inch-wide segments, but not all the way to the bottom. Spread butter on each slice, and then rub it on top; then, sprinkle garlic powder into each slice and on top of the loaf. Fill in the crevices with minced garlic and then sprinkle more on top, then sprinkle Italian seasoning on top. Wrap it all up and throw it on the grill for about 20 minutes, turning halfway through.

As the season draws to a close, it’s important to give each tailgate your best effort. Remember, By-Godders, make sure you’re staying warm! Mountaineers don’t lose tailgates!