Whether you’re watching your alma mater and reliving the ol’ college days or rooting on your favorite pro team Sunday night, I think we can all agree that half the fun of a football game is the tailgate party. The perfect tailgate requires a great playlist, some ice cold drinks and flames under the grill. It doesn’t matter if you’re a grill master or a novice…the folks at Valley Smoke have some great ideas to help you win the tailgate (no matter the score of the game).

 

Burgers

No reason to reinvent the wheel here. Keep the day easy and stress-free with some simple, juicy burgers. Prepare the seasoned beef patties the night before the party and you’ll impress your friends on game day, not to mention you’ll still have plenty of time for a few rounds of cornhole! This may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t forget to supply the buns, condiments, pickles, lettuce, onion, tomato and whatever else you think your guests will prefer on their burgers. A perfectly cooked burger is great, but it’s nothing without the right fixins.

 

Chicken

Whether you choose to bring buffalo chicken wings, barbecue chicken breasts or beer can chicken, you’re sure to be a huge hit at the tailgate. No matter how you make your chicken, a strong buffalo sauce and a tangy barbecue sauce will give your friends options and make everyone happy. If you choose to bring wings or chicken breasts, be sure to marinate them the night before.

 

Corn on the Cob

When tables are occupied by avid flip cup players and every truck’s tailgate is covered in food and party supplies, having food you can eat right out of your hand can be a lifesaver. Unlike what you’re probably accustomed to, there are a variety of ways to season and cook corn on the cob. One easy way to prepare the corn is to remove the husk and rub the kernels in butter, salt, pepper, chili powder and lime. Wrap the freshly seasoned cob in aluminum foil like a tootsie roll, and that’s it, you’re ready to grill! This is a great game day dish because it can be prepared the day before and thrown on the grill when ready. If you’re in the mood for some Mexican flare, simply throw the husk-free cob on the grill and coat the hot corn in mayonnaise, sour cream, dill, lime juice, salt and pepper, and top with feta cheese and chili powder.

 

Grilled Shrimp Skewers

Bring the heat on game day with some grilled shrimp skewers. Skewers are easy to prepare and even easier to eat at a laid-back tailgate. Coat the shrimp with salt, olive oil, lemon, parsley and cayenne pepper. If you want to make these skewers even healthier, we recommend adding some roughly chopped veggies, such as onions and bell peppers. The prep work is easy: Marinate your favorite veggies in Italian dressing and soak the skewers in water before adding the meat and vegetables (pro tip: soaking your skewers in water prevents food from sticking to the kebab).

 

Keep these great foods at the top of your list for your next tailgate and nobody will even remember the score. If you’re really looking to impress your guests and keep the day carefree, then our amazing team has you covered with carry-out options. Here are a couple of our favorite BBQ dishes that transport well and fit perfectly into any tailgating spread:

Smoked Chicken Wings

Wood-Fire Boneless Beef Short Rib

Fire-Spice Pork Belly

Wood-Fire Local Shrimp

Any dish from the Pit

 

Cookouts might be full of grilled meat and veggies, but they’d be nothing without a sweet treat at the end! Sweeten up your next Ponte Vedra beachside cookout with one of our favorite summer desserts. Desserts come in all shapes in sizes and flavors. You can go the tangy route, the rich indulgent route or you could go the refreshing route. Whichever type of dessert you choose, you just can’t go wrong with sweet.

 

Lemon Tart

 

Summer and citrus go together like sand and the ocean. Lemons are so fresh during the summertime and complement any meal you’ve got on the grill. A sweet and a little bit salty crumble underneath a layer of tart and tangy lemon custard is a match made in heaven. Serve this dish with some whipped cream for guests to pile on as much as their taste buds desire.

 

Berry Parfait

 

Whipped cream and berries…does it get any more simple and delicious? Masurate the berries before assembling the parfait with sugar, lemon zest and some juice so that the berries pack a punch of flavor. Layer the berries you just perfected with the whipped cream, and just like that your dessert is ready for enjoying. Cookouts have a lot that goes into them and this dessert will take a little bit of the pressure off.

 

Summer Fruit Pie

 

Nothing screams America quite like homemade pie. The great thing about a summer fruit pie is there’s so much flexibility with the ingredients. In the mood for strawberries and peach? Awesome. Want to go for something a little more tart like blackberries? Throw ‘em in! If you choose to stick with the seasonal theme, we suggest strawberries and peaches. Throw in some lemon zest and you’re well on your way to rocking the dessert table.

 

Peach Crisp

 

Layered peach slices with melted cinnamon sugar and butter and granola on top all baked to a gooey perfection is definitely hard to resist. We suggest that you get the first plate of this dish because it’ll go quick. It’ll be a crowd pleasing dessert for a big cookout. It’s hard to go wrong with these ingredients and your fellow partiers are going to a adore your baking skills.

 

Killing it in the kitchen is a masterful skill that will certainly make your friends jealous! Pick out a dessert you know you’ll enjoy and make it your own! We’d like to think of this as a suggestive list of desserts to inspire your next cookout. But hey, if you and your group aren’t much of the cooking type, stop by Valley Smoke for some waterfront sweets.