Secret Tailgate Recipe: Dave’s Awesomest Buffalo Wings

My buddy Dave makes this recipe every time he hosts the Rose Bowl tailgate party in his man cave, a pretty impressive converted garage behind his house.  He has a BBQ with a huge flat-top as well as a grill area and says that it is the secret to the way his wings are cooked. He takes these on the road as well, but uses a smaller griller.

His secrets are:

  • First marinate well.
  • Cook through on the flat-top
  • Transfer to the grill so that the grease can drip off and the wings get a crispy finish.

He achieves all this awesomeness on his fine Char-Broil Combination Charcoal Grill and Gas Grill with Side Burner.

Char Broil

Char Broil

It can truly cook anything so you never (or rarely) need to step into your actual kitchen.  Combines gas cooking and charcoal cooking so you can cover the full range of smoky tastes.  This has three burners under its sealed lids, perfect for cooking roasts, bakes and smoking.  The charcoal is easily accessed and removed and the whole thing is easy to clean.

Of course, when he is tailgating on the run, he takes his sweet little portable Coleman Roadtrip Grill:

A nice little compact BBQ, it heats up to a surprising level for something so small.  Gas but you can add your smoker chips to it to give food your unique flavor and totally collapsible for travel. Cast iron grates and 285 square inches of cooking space. Operates off the small propane bottles (always take 2 with you as a backup). Super easy to clean!

Coleman Roadtrip Grill

Coleman Roadtrip Grill

Also, Dave’s marinade is high on bourbon, beer, butter, olive oil and other flavors.

The Recipe: Dave’s Awesomest Buffalo Wings.

  • 2 pounds of wings.


  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 tiny Ancho chili finely chopped (discard seeds and ribs unless you are crazy about heat). (These are the dried, smoked ones).  Dave snips them with scissors in a cup rather than chops them.
  • A knob of ginger peeled and finely grated
  • The white base of a stalk of lemon grass – finely sliced
  • 1 purple onion finely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Some finely chopped bacon fat.
  • Pinch of salt
  • A few shakes of black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons of coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • A couple of shots of bourbon & a splash of beer.
  • More beer to top up if pre-boiling.


  • Fry the first 5 ingredients in the oil gently stirring and not allowing it to brown.  Add the salt and the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil.  Cool until really cold.
  • Drop the wings into the COLD marinade (don’t mix the hot and cold) and make sure they are well coated and then leave overnight.
  • BBQ when you need to and spoon some of the marinade over to keep the moisture and flavor happening.

Now, if you are travelling and your tailgate party is happening in a car park, his trick is to boil the wings in the marinade topped up with some beer to cover: Boil for 5 minutes rapidly, then let them cool in the marinade, put in the fridge overnight and take it to the party.  You will notice it has transformed into a fatty jelly full of wings. With your tongs, pick these out and put on the flat-top, then the grill as above.


NOTE:  Don’t recycle the marinade.  Too risky with chicken.

Further note:

When our BBQ died unexpectedly after years of service, I ended up cooking some of these on the griddle side of Mom’s Panini maker.  Heat it up well with the lid closed then cook with the lid open.  Works well!

Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler

Cuisinart GR-4N 5-in-1 Griddler

Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler

This compact 5-in-1countertop unit works as a contact grill, panini press, full grill, full griddle, and half grill/half griddle.  It is dishwasher safe so very easy to clean up after the cookout.  The temperature is quite high for an electrical appliance and if you use the side with the grill bars, you get a nice, BBQ appearance.  Very handy for emergencies.  Of course, it’s not portable unless you are going somewhere powered with electricity.

MSRP                         = $185

Amazon price = $89.99

If you have any cast iron sizzle plates, they will also do the job.

Cast Iron Sizzling Steak Plate

Cast Iron Sizzling Steak Plate

Cast Iron Sizzling Steak Plate

Here’s a great tool for when you are tailgating at home.  It’s a sizzle plate that not only lets you cook food at a high temperature but when you serve it, it keeps right on sizzling and stays hot through the whole meal.  A nifty wooden base (pine) for these large sizzle plates means that you won’t melt your plastic table.  It includes a lifter for taking the cast iron part off the heat and putting on the wooden part.

Size is a bit over one serve of a T-bone steak with say a roast potato and onion.  You need to buy a few of these, season them well by oiling them and baking them in the 400 °F oven and you will have them for life and beyond.   Don’t clean them with perfumed detergent ever as they retain the smell.  In fact, I only ever clean them by scraping off any bits then dousing with a nice hot wash and then oil them before air-drying for the next use.  Heat up to 400°F in the oven or on the cooktop until super hot and sizzle those wings on the stove top!

MSRP = $20.50


Tailgate Food: Deviled Eggs – 50 Great Recipes

Eggs are very cheap, super high in protein and low in carbs making them a tailgate food staple. There are infinite things you can do with them and, apart from having a grilled one on top of a burger, one of my favorites is deviled eggs. They make a perfect snack, can be plain or spicy, simple or inventive. In fact, some deviled eggs recipes are so tasty that you could easily eat 10 in one sitting.

Deviled Eggs are definitely one of the most easy and satisfying tailgate recipes you can take to the parking lot. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can make them and even more surprised how quickly they disappear on game day!

For those of you who have never made Deviled Eggs before, here’s a very simple (but delicious) recipe to start you off. Remember that you can be very playful with the recipe and add or subtract things to your liking (like Tabasco Sauce for example).

For those who want to get a little more adventurous with their tailgate food then I highly recommend Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes from Simple to Sassy by Debbie Moose. No stranger to the tailgate lifestyle herself, Debbie has put together 50 great recipes from the classic, to the exotic and to the painful (read: chilies, wasabi and jerk seasoning!).

Oh, and don’t forget to get yourself a good quality Deviled Egg Tray.

Simple Deviled Egg Recipe


See – it’s already looking so simple! Just 5 ingredients so far! And remember, if you want to get inventive you can simply chop and change this recipe. Instead of American mustard, try Dijon. Add some dill or Tabasco sauce. I’m sure you’ve already decided you’re putting bacon bits on top!


  1. Place eggs evenly in a large saucepan and pour enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 9 minutes. When eggs have cooked, cool them by placing them in a bowl of ice-cold water.
  2. When the eggs have cooled, peel them and cut them in half lengthwise. Remove the yolks and mash them until smooth and then mix in the mayo, mustard, salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a piping bag. If you don’t have a piping bag, improvise by using a Ziploc Bag and snip the corner out. Squeeze (or ‘pipe’) the yolk mixture into the empty egg white halves where the yolk previously lived.

So simple yet so tasty! If you really want to complicate things a little more then sprinkle a little paprika for garnish. And if you want to go even further, then get your hands on a copy of Debbie’s book Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes! Is this the perfect tailgate food? Let me know what you think by leaving a comment below – perhaps you have a favorite take on the recipe that you’d like to share!

Tailgate Food - Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes

Deviled Eggs: 50 Recipes

Tailgate Food: Sausage, Bean, and Spinach Dip Recipe

Want to find that perfect dip for the tailgate party? Look no further–this recipe, adapted from Southern Living, is a hearty, filling and very tasty dip designed specifically for tailgating. It freezes well and takes around 45 minutes to prepare. Of all the tailgate food, dip is one of my favorites since it’s so easy to prepare and, if you find the right recipe it can be a very satisfying companion to a good beer.

Definitely a nice spin on the old spinach dip and it’s a recipe that you can play with if you prefer more spicy or more sweet.

Tailgating Dip: Sausage, Bean & Spinach Recipe

Tailgate Dip: Sausage Bean & Spinach

Photo: Jennifer Davick; Styling: Lydia DeGaris Pursell


  • 1 sweet onion (diced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 1-lb hot ground pork sausage
  • 2 garlic cloves (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
  • 6-oz. package fresh baby spinach, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 15-oz. can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese
  • crushed red pepper flakes and garlic powder to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cook diced onion, pepper & ground sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, until meat crumbles and is no longer pink (around 10 mins). Drain.
  2. Stir in garlic and thyme; cook 1 minute. Stir in wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid has almost completely evaporated.
  3. Add cream cheese, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until cream cheese is melted.
  4. Stir in spinach and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until spinach is wilted. Gently stir in beans.
  5. Pour mixture into a 2-qt. baking dish; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  6. Bake at 375° for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with corn chips, bell pepper strips, pretzels etc.

There you have it! A hearty, tasty tailgate food with enough zing to satisfy even the most fussy palates. What do you think? Do you have a favorite tailgate food that you always take to the parking lot? Do you have your own tailgating dip and want to share it with fellow tailgaters? Then leave a comment! We’d love to hear what tailgate recipes y’all come up with for game day!