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The Top Tailgate Foods Inspired by Each NFL Team’s City

Posts by Anthony St. Clair By
November 26, 2018

Around the country, the 32 teams of the NFL inspire fans to turn out on game day—not just for the football, but for the food. Here are the standout, must-try foods from each NFL team’s hometown.

Arizona Cardinals (Phoenix, AZ)

With its blend of Sonoran, Mexican, and Californian cultures, the Phoenix area is not only home to the Cardinals, but also to amazing Sonora-style carne asada tacos. The seasoned beef blends savory tang and heat in your choice of flour or corn tortilla.

Get your fix at:

  • Benny’s Tacos Culver City (LA)
  • Cemita’s or Dos Toros Taqueria (NY)
  • Don Fresco (CHI)
  • Rito Loco (DC)
  • Tacos El Paisano (SF)
  • CoJo Unlimited Catering (ATX)

Atlanta Falcons (Atlanta, GA)

If it’s game day in the Peach State, then there has to be some peach cobbler. This baked treat touts sweetness and wood notes from bourbon-soaked peaches, cinnamon, and brown sugar. A crumble topping adds crunch, then yields to a full peach flavor that can sweeten a victory or soften a defeat for any Falcons fan.

Get your fix at:

  • Bina’s Belly (CHI)
  • Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe (SF)

Baltimore Ravens (Baltimore, MD)

With 11,684 miles of shoreline, the Chesapeake Bay is renowned for its blue crab. On game day that means Ravens fans love to fry up some Baltimore-style crab cakes. The secret? Instead of breadcrumbs, the Baltimore version gets its crunch and texture from buttery cracker crumbs.

Get your fix at:

  • Patatas (SF)
  • Lolo’s Seafood Shack (NY)
  • Chow Town Foods (ATX)
  • Garden of Eating (LA)
  • AllSpice Cafe & Catering (DC)

Buffalo Bills (Buffalo, NY)

Wings may be popular around the country, but there’s a reason this New York specialty is dubbed “buffalo.” Whether saucy or crispy (with sauce on the side of course), buffalo wings aren’t complete without a side of blue cheese or ranch to battle the heat. They’re a favorite of Bills fans when tailgating or hitting up food stands at New Era Field.

Get your fix at:

  • Supper Pub (NY)
  • Home Run Inn (CHI)
  • Creative Ideas Catering (SF)
  • Rose’s Pizza (NY)
  • Peach & Green (CHI)

Carolina Panthers (Charlotte, NC)

Panther fans love whole-hog, pulled-pork barbecue. It makes sense. After all, eastern North Carolina’s vinegar-based sauce is considered the common ancestor of all American barbecue styles. Whether you smoke your own or hit up one of Charlotte’s many barbecue joints, barbecue is a crowd pleaser on any game day.

Get your fix at:

  • Mint and Limone (SF)
  • BBQ Bus (DC)
  • Soul & Smoke (CHI)

Chicago Bears (Chicago, IL)

While pizza and hot dogs quickly come to mind when thinking about Chicago food, it’s the hot Italian beef sandwich that scores the touchdown for Bears fans. Made with slow-cooked sliced beef (usually chuck roast) and topped with giardiniera (a mix of pickled vegetables), this Chicago staple blends spicy and tangy. The key to a hot beef sandwich is to dip it in the beef’s juices to get the most flavor.

Get your fix at:

  • Home Run Inn and Orso’s Restaurant (CHI)
  • The Picnic Basket (NY)

Tailgate Essentials And Tips

Cincinnati Bengals (Cincinnati, OH)

With more than 180 chili parlors, Cincinnati is a true chili town. Called “spaghetti chili” by the Macedonian immigrant who invented it in 1922, the chili’s unique flavor profile comes from warming spices such as cinnamon, cocoa, and allspice. Typically served over pasta, you can also have this dish Four-Way (with onions) or Five-Way (with chili, kidney beans, shredded yellow cheese, and chopped onion, served with oyster crackers).

Cleveland Browns (Cleveland, OH)

Starting in the late 1800s, Polish immigrants brought their food traditions to Cleveland. Today, Browns fans love digging into hearty pierogis—and Clevelanders have been known to buy more than 850,000 pounds of pierogis a year. The simple dough dumplings are filled with cheese and potatoes, boiled or pan-fried, and served with sour cream and sautéed onions.

Get your fix at:

  • Apolonia (ATX)
  • Veselka (NY)

Dallas Cowboys (Dallas, TX)

In 2017 alone, more than 12 million cows called Texas home. It’s no wonder, then, that Cowboys fans see game day as brisket day. Texas-style smoked brisket graces many the smoker and plate during a Cowboys tailgate. Simply seasoned with salt and pepper, the key to the brisket’s rich flavor is quality hickory or oak charcoal and about 10 to 12 hours of patient cooking time.

Get your fix at:

  • Carvery Kitchen (LA)
  • The Peached Tortilla (ATX)
  • Bullhead Cantina and The Smoke Daddy (CHI)
  • Smoking Kow and NeatMeat (DC)
  • Black Hearth (SF)

Denver Broncos (Denver, CO)

Like its southern neighbor New Mexico, Colorado is green chile country. And Broncos tailgating is all about Denver green chile nachos. Considered a fan favorite in the Super Bowl Favorite Recipes eCookbook, Broncos nachos combine ground beef, garlic, queso, and diced green chiles that can make you fly sky-high in the Mile High City.

Detroit Lions (Detroit, MI)

When you hear coney dog, your first thought may be New York’s Coney Island—but Motor City is actually the hometown of the beloved Detroit coney dog. What sets the coney apart? Simple, unassuming spiced hot dogs with natural casings are grilled—not steamed—then topped with zesty, rich chili (known locally as coney sauce).

Get your fix at:

  • Haute Dogs & Fries (DC)
  • AMASS Chicago (CHI)

Green Bay Packers (Green Bay, WI)

Wisconsin is known for its cheese—and Packers fans are known for hearty, full-on tailgate fare. The highlight? Fried cheese curds. Breaded and deep-friend for a squeaky-chewy, savory, rich texture and flavor, remember that mild, fresh, young cheddar is the cheese of choice whether you buy your own or air fry on game day.

Houston Texans (Houston, TX)

Houston focuses on big flavor from small seafood with its go-to game day delight: shrimp-stuffed jalapeños. After stuffing the jalapeños with your mix of cheese, shrimp, garlic, and cilantro, wrap with bacon and grill till ready for an extra decadent take.

Indianapolis Colts (Indianapolis, IN)

Buffalo may have its namesake wings, but to the west Indianapolis Colts fans liven up game day with a unique interpretation: grilled root beer chicken wings. Submitted by Colts fan Rico Mendez of Sheridan, IN, this unique recipe was the winner of a 2017 recipe contest and appeared in a Colts tailgate recipe cook booklet given out to fans on game day.

Jacksonville Jaguars (Jacksonville, FL)

Located on Florida’s eastern shore just south of the Georgia state line, Jacksonville has been reinvigorating its food scene over the last few years. A local favorite that also turns up on game day? Shrimp and grits. This southern comfort food combines buttery and garlicky notes in the shrimp with creamy, cheesy grits.

Get your fix at:

  • Chow Town Foods (ATX)
  • Creative Concepts (NYC)
  • Sweet Chick (LA)
  • Huegah (CHI)
  • Amore (SF)

Kansas City Chiefs (Kansas City, MO)

Sure, there’s barbecue. And then there are burnt ends. This iconic KC dish brings a satisfying crunch to every juicy, fatty bite of KC-style barbecue. Since they were introduced in the 1970s burnt ends have become a signature local dish that are now a popular winter warmer on game day.

Get your fix at:

  • Mighty Quinn’s BBQ (NY)
  • The Smoke Daddy (CHI)

Los Angeles Chargers and Los Angeles Rams (Los Angeles, CA)

Los Angeles has long been considered a place where different cultures and cuisines come together to be reinvented in new ways. That’s certainly the case for Korean fare. In LA’s Koreatown and beyond, you’ll find everything from Korean-style fried rice and cold noodle dishes to bibimbap and full Korean BBQ spreads. You can even find Korean BBQ at StubHub Center.

Get your fix at:

  • Stone Korean Kitchen (SF)
  • The Yum Dum Truck (CHI)
  • Red Star Sandwich Shop (NY)

Miami Dolphins (Miami, FL)

With its rich heritage of Cuban and other Latinx cultures, Miami’s food scene owes much to Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. On a Dolphins game day, it’s time to grill up some arepas. The easy-to-make, flat, cornmeal pancakes are stuffed with cheese and grilled until golden brown.

Get your fix at:

  • Casa Cubana Cuban Restaurant and Catering (NY)
  • Maite Catering (SF)
  • Four Brothers (ATX)

Grilled Stuffed Cheese Arepas

Minnesota Vikings (Minneapolis, MN)

In the 1950s, as the story goes, a customer asked a restaurant owner to put the cheese inside the burger instead of on top. After a bite, the customer declared it was “one juicy lucy!” The name stuck, and the cheese-filled burger has since become a local favorite, especially at U.S. Bank Stadium for tailgaters on game day.

New England Patriots (Boston, MA)

Creamy, hearty, rib-sticking, soul-satisfying New England-style clam chowder can warm up any Patriots game at Gillette Stadium. Made with fresh or canned clams, the fall and winter favorite has been simmering on New England stoves and cooking fires for centuries. Let’s make one thing clear: If you’re at a Patriots game, remember to leave the Manhattan-style tomato base chowder at home and stick to creamy New England style instead.

Get your fix at:

  • SSB Catering (SF)
  • Tasty Catering (NY)

New Orleans Saints (New Orleans, LA)

With its rich culinary history and location on the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico, New Orleans is the perfect place for oyster lovers. With oyster spots throughout the Big Easy, Saints fan Scott “Sparky” Sparks has gained local recognition for his tailgate-ready, soft-shell, chargrilled oysters prepared with garlic and cheese and served on sauce-dipped French bread. And as the home of the po-boy, you’ll be sure to find this New Orleans sandwich specialty topped with oysters, too.

Get your fix at:

  • Cojo Unlimited Catering (ATX)
  • Home Cooked (NY)
  • Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe (SF)

New York Giants and New York Jets (New York, NY)

Whether rooting for the Giants or Jets at MetLife Stadium, the cure for New York’s sometimes blustery fall and winter game days is simple: Italian meatball hero sliders. Combining salty parmigiana cheese and ground beef, the key to these simple sandwiches is to roll out small, bite-size meatballs the size of grapes, then combine with a spicy tomato-based sauce on crusty bread.

Get your fix at:

  • Two Boots (NY & LA)
  • Babycakes Gourmet (CHI)

Oakland Raiders (Oakland, CA)

Raiders fans know what they need to fuel their support of all things black and silver. The Oakland Raiders tailgate dog isn’t just a hot dog. In addition to ketchup, chili, and pickled or fresh jalapeños, what really sets the Raiders dog apart is a dollop of macaroni and cheese on top.

Philadelphia Eagles (Philadelphia, PA)

Thin-sliced steak, sautéed onions, and peppers topped with mozzarella and provolone and served hot on Italian or French bread: Since its invention in the 1930s, the iconic Philly cheesesteak has been a locally beloved tailgate mainstay for Eagles fans and Philadelphia visitors alike.

Get your fix at:

  • Ike’s Place (SF)
  • Way South Philly (ATX)
  • Babycakes Gourmet (CHI)

Pittsburgh Steelers (Pittsburgh, PA)

You may have heard of chipped beef. But have you heard of chipped ham? If you are a Steelers fan, odds are you know and love well this unique sandwich. Originating at deli and dairy producer Isalys in 1933, chipped ham is thinly sliced and served sandwich-style for a savory game day favorite that will steel you for whatever fate the Steelers face that day.

San Francisco 49ers (San Francisco, CA)

San Francisco’s iconic seafood stew, cioppino, has no original baseline recipe. Instead, the hallmark of cioppino is how flexible it is for your tastes and preferences. Whether you make yours with butter, leeks, scollops, celery, and/or sage, or make it thick or thin, cioppino shines with fresh seafood and will warm up any game day at Levi’s Stadium.

Seattle Seahawks (Seattle, WA)

The East Coast’s Chesapeake Bay may have its blue crab, but the Dungeness is the king of crab in the Pacific Northwest. On a rainy fall or winter day at CenturyLink Field, there’s nothing like a warm piquillo and crab dip to make you forget about the weather and just enjoy the game and the camaraderie. Or if you prefer crab legs, smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.

Get your fix at:

  • CoJo Unlimited Catering (ATX)
  • AllSpice Cafe & Catering (DC)

Piquillo And Crab Dip

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Tampa Bay, FL)

When in Tampa for a Buccaneers game, dig into a juicy, hot Tampa-style Cuban sandwich. Made with skin-on, citrus-marinated pork butt, glazed ham, and sopressata and topped with Swiss cheese, pickle slices, and a tangy mustard-based sauce, this sandwich will leave you both full and refreshed for a big day at Raymond James Stadium.

Get your fix at:

  • Casa Cubana Cuban Restaurant and Catering and Red Star Sandwich Shop (NY)
  • With Love Market and Cafe (LA)
  • Peach & Green (CHI)
  • Havana Catering (SF)

Tennessee Titans (Nashville, TN)

Whether it’s hot or cold out, it’s always time for hot chicken in Nashville. The story goes that hot chicken came about when a wife covered her cheating husband’s fried chicken in hot pepper. Trouble is, he loved it—and from there opened a chicken shack that has given rise to a national hot chicken sensation, full of mouth-tingling cayenne and juicy, savory chicken.

Get your fix at:

  • Bluebird (CHI)
  • Mulberry & Vine (NY)
  • Sweet Chick (LA)

Washington Redskins (Washington, DC)

At FedExField, don’t be surprised at Redskins fans chowing down on fudgy, richly flavored chocolate Rockslide brownies—a decadent treat topped with caramel and ice cream for a spoonable hot-and-cold delight.

Conclusion

Whether you’re heading to stadiums across the country or throwing your own tailgate party for the office, you can serve up some hometown inspiration with these dishes.

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