It’s Super Bowl week. For that reason, I’ll be writing about the Super Bowl everyday this week. I think it deserves it. I mean, it is America’s 4th biggest holiday…
The Super Bowl is awesome for a lot of reasons, but if you’re not excited to consume somewhere between five and ten thousand calories while you watch it, then you’re not doing it right. These are the top ten foods I want to see at a Super Bowl party (presentation is your thing; a giant snack stadium like the picture above is cool, but who has that much time?). The only stipulation for this list is that no fork-and-knife dishes are present. When you’re dealing with 4+ hours of grazing in front of a TV, you can’t require someone to use a table. In no particular order….
1. Pigs in a Blanket – This will be the inaugural dish to define a unique happenstance on Super Bowl Sunday: the women are involved. All year long, we men have been ordering pizza and wings, or sticking to stuff we can easily mass-produce like brats and burgers. But on Super Bowl Sunday, the ladies care, and we can incorporate some things we rarely get. Do you know anywhere that you’d trust to do an order 100 pigs in a blanket for take-out? I don’t (FYI, the best time for a short-term girlfriend run is December 26th to February 9th…you get this Super Bowl food bonus right in that post-Christmas, pre-Valentine’s sweet spot). My favorite for these are lil smokies wrapped in Pillsbury croissant dough. Use the dipping sauce of your choice.
2. Chicken Wings – I’m not going to put ‘buffalo wings’ because that’s too one-dimensional. A buffalo wing has buffalo sauce. And you can’t discount teriyaki, honey BBQ, spicy garlic, or even a really tasty flavor I’ve never tried. As for its inclusion on the list, leaving the chicken wing off the list would be criminal. It was there for you all season long, especially once you found your team mathematically eliminated from the playoffs but too good for a top 5 pick. Especially when you stopped bothering to update your fantasy team because you’d let it be ravaged by the unfair trades of fantasy owners still in the hunt for a championship. The chicken wing tastes great no matter how badly everything else is going. THE CHICKEN WING…[dramatic pause]…is the most reliable thing about NFL Sunday. It’s Mr. Consistency, and you’re not going to snub Mr. Consistency.
3. Ribs – For the big ballers, you’ll fly them in from Jack Stack in Kansas City (they cater nationwide). The luckiest men will have a significant other that can make some awesome ribs, an elite talent amongst elite women. No doubt that ribs belong on this list. They are a top-five man food independent of any event. You don’t need utensils (I think that sentence deserves an exclamation point)! You tear the meat off the bone with your teeth like a hungry wolf. And you get to pile the bones up on your plate as a testament to your sex appeal (women prefer men who eat meat. It’s a fact). Half rack? Better make it a full.
4. Buffalo Chicken Dip – Had my first buffalo chicken dip thanks to Tommy Cooksey’s younger brother Greg. A master cooksman, Greg put this creamy goodness in me once, and it was the seed of a desire I’ve never lost (Thanks, Greg. I’ll never forget my first). Rudino’s and Buffalo Brothers are the best restaurants I’ve found for the dish. The main ingredient that can’t be overstated here is cream cheese, the people’s cheese. You mix that with buffalo flavoring, and how can you not get behind a relative of Mr. Consistency’s classic flavor? Few football meals treated me better than 20 buffalo wings preceded by an appetizer of buffalo chicken dip. Let me know when someone develops buffalo chicken cheesecake for desert (What’s that? It’s out there? Well, shut my mouth…).
5. 7-Layer Dip – It’s a dip. That’s a good start. How many layers? Seven, the luckiest number on the planet. When did God rest? The seventh day. What day was that? Sunday (for the sake of this argument, let’s stick with the Christian Sabbath (is that a real thing?))….You know what, in the time of writing that parenthetical phrase, I decided that I wasn’t going anywhere with that “7” thing. Here’s a good recipe. Just trust me on this one.
6. Ro-Tel Cheese Dip – There are four men in my immediate family that combined for a weight of 1,110 lbs at our collective peaks. We achieved that +250 status on a diet of melted cheese and football, which is also the phrase I use in place “peas and carrots”. Sadly, we’re down to 920 lbs due to my brothers no longer playing offensive line, my dad’s heart attack, and my hobo diet (turns out Velveeta cheese is expensive, and I haven’t bought it in over a year…is it possible to lose 40 lbs in tears?). But the Super Bowl is bigger than our health. Melt the cheese. Add the Ro-Tel. Lose yourself in the calories of a simpler time.
7. Sausage Balls – Not as gay as they sound actually. They’re fast, simple and delicious. I consider them the Robert Horry of finger foods. They can’t be the best food at the party, but they’re an important contributor, and your chances of winning go up if they’re there. Recipe here.
8. Sliders – It’s February, and it has been a long time since your grill got the attention that it needs. And that means it has been a long time since you gave yourself the burgers that you need. When you have only one gut to give for your happiness (I wish I was a cow), you can’t be filling it with an entire beefy burger (I’m glad I’m not a cow). The slider is a classy nod to the work the burger contributed back in August and September. Sure, it may be the Super Bowl, but let’s not forget the foods that helped us get here.
9. Mini Cheesecakes – Food. It’s the tastes of the consumer that makes it an art, and I’ve found that cheesecake is one of the trickiest mediums for any culinary artist. But when done right, how many desserts want to go head-to-head with cheesecake? And when we’re talking about finger-food desserts, well, it stands alone in its weight class. I’ve seen the mini version attempted many ways, and this year, I’ll be sampling cheesecake from within a hollowed-out Strawberry. Up yours, Bobby Flay!
10. Veggie Tray – The white guy on the end of the bench. Has to be there. The first reason is for the sake of tradition. I’ve never been to a Super Bowl party that didn’t have a veggie tray that I could actively ignore. The second reason is the same reason that large corporations have a “green initiative”. It’s easiest to just appease the hippies so they’ll leave you to your gluttony. You don’t need some whiny buzzkill talking about how hungry they are because they won’t break their New Year’s weight loss resolution for the third year in a row. Plus, if you’re the host, you’ll be glad to have some leftovers.
Honorable Mention: Anything with Bacon gets a nod because, you know, bacon’s the most beautiful thing on earth.
Future owner of a brand new 5 lbs,
Dusty “Thirds” Riedesel