Monday, September 26, 2011

Game Day Brunching

We may tailgate with a bunch of men,
but my gal pals like Elizabeth are just next door!
Part of the grand football tailgating experience, in addition to the drinks and corn hole and sunshine, is making food for a crowd. And not just any crowd. We are talking men who get up at 6AM just because they want to be the first ones out there with their tents. Women who are part of their own competition to wow the crowd with their game-day outfits. Random friends and family who always "stop by" ready for a bite to eat. This is a challenging crowd to feed, especially if you factor in the tastes and preferences of them all. Some are picky eaters, while others want to out-do each other with the grandest dish.

After a number of years of attending "grown-up" tailgates with my parents, I thought I had a starter list of tailgate-ready recipes that would be sure to please a crowd, no matter who was in it. Sure enough, though, it's easier said than done. Some things have gone over better than others. Pimiento cheese sandwiches? Only about half usually get eaten. But pimiento cheese by itself to top burgers is always cleaned out. Chips with homemade dips are ok, but only if the dip can sit outside in the heat for a few hours. Sweets, especially those that can be eaten in one or two bites like cookies, are always a winner. I don't think I had any pumpkin cookies left last year by the kickoff!

Brunch games especially are a tough sell. Breakfast casseroles are hit-or-miss, and it all depends on how willing people are to stand around with a fork and plate to eat them. Fruit is nice, and there are always a handful of healthy people that appreciate when someone brings that. Cinnamon rolls, doughnuts and pastries are great, but they lead to a super sugar crash. How to feed the masses without killing their buzz? :)

This past weekend, I decided to keep things simple and go for broke - Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuits, all handmade. Or should I say, semi-homemade Sandra Lee style! I do have to make these dishes in the wee early morning hours, after all. A girl's gotta pace herself with game day food.

The evidence showed - this one was a winner. The biscuits were cleaned out in no more than EIGHT MINUTES. And we even got there late, so the crowd had already been eating other things.

Image Source
Ready to please the guys at your next tailgate? Follow these easy "steps," because this is no "recipe." This is classic Betty-style tailgating, y'all!

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Tailgate Biscuits
Serves 12

Night before or first thing, morning of game: 
1. Cook the bacon. Lay out a package of bacon in individual strips on a baking sheet, and cook at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes until crisp. Lay out on paper towels to dry. Cooking the bacon like this will result in perfectly flat pieces rather than wavy ones.

Morning of game:
1. Preheat oven for biscuits. Bake 12 Grands! Southern Style biscuits according to directions.
2. Crack one dozen eggs into a large bowl, add salt and pepper, and whisk well to combine.
3. Preheat greased large non-stick pan on stove. Cook eggs, stirring occasionally to keep curds large. Aka make them big, lumpy eggs, because they will assemble better on the biscuits later!
4. Remove individual Kraft Singles (I use the 2% milk kind) from packages. For extra cheesy eggs (yum), use one slice of cheese per biscuit. For regular eggs, use a 1/2 slice per biscuit.
5. Assemble! Cut open all biscuits on a cutting board. Top one half with eggs, cheese, and one slice of bacon, broken in half. Top with other half of the biscuit, pressing down to keep the heat in.
6. Wrap! Use sheets of aluminum foil to wrap each biscuit individually. Doing this right away ensures that your biscuits will stay warm for at least an hour, and it will get that cheese all melted and gooey! It also makes them easy to devour later :)

Enjoy! And Go Jackets!