Beans, man' n' cheese, pecans perfect for game time
September 25, 2013 10:20 AM

Here are some tailgating recipes to try:


2 pounds dry pinto beans

1 (12-ounce) package of bacon

1 medium onion, diced

1 batch cilantro, diced

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 (10-ounce) cans Rotel tomatoes

4 tablespoons Fiesta pinto bean seasoning

2-3 tablespoons beef bouillon

1 tablespoon ground black pepper

Soak the beans in a pot of water overnight. The next day, dump out the old water and rinse the beans in a strainer.

Cook the bacon about halfway, then cut it into chunks.

Put the beans in a pot and fill up with hot water (2 inches or so above the beans), then turn on the stove. Throw in the pinto bean seasoning, garlic, pepper, bouillon and bacon — stir it up until the bouillon dissolves. Leave out the onion, tomato and cilantro for now.

After the water starts boiling, turn down the heat and simmer. The beans will take about 4 hours or so to cook depending on the temperature. You’ll probably need to add water occasionally. About one hour before the beans are done, throw in the onions and tomatoes.

When it’s getting close, try the beans — they should be tender but not mushy. When it’s done, throw in the cilantro. Serves about 20.

— Justin Barron


My tailgating version of spiced pecans adds an element of fun to this party snack staple. Why make them at home when you can easily make them on your grill? While the grill is heating up for your main dish, you can provide guests with freshly roasted spiced pecans and an experience they won’t soon forget.

3 cups pecan halves

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

ᄑ 1/2 cup sugar

ᄑ 1/2 teaspoons salt

ᄐ 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

ᄐ 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

ᄐ 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

At home, measure out the pecans and store in a sealable container. Pack the butter in a small sealable container and refrigerate overnight. Add the rest of the ingredients to a small sealable container and mix together.

At your tailgate, place a 9-inch-by-13-inch baking pan over a medium-high grill. Add the butter and let it melt. Once the butter is melted, add the pecans and stir, making sure all the nuts are covered in melted butter.

Add about half of the spice mix to the pan and stir. Cook the pecans over a medium-high grill, stirring frequently for about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and add the remaining spice mix. Stir to evenly coat. Transfer to a serving bowl or place the pan on a trivet and serve. Makes 3 cups.

From “The Southern Tailgating Cookbook: A Game-Day Guide for Lovers of Food, Football, and the South” by Taylor Mathis (University of North Carolina Press, $30)



5-6 Hatch chiles

1 pound dried macaroni

ᄑ 1/2 cup butter

ᄑ 1/2 cup flour

ᄑ 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

ᄑ 1/4 teaspoon pepper, to taste

ᄐ 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

2 cups half and half

2 cups whole milk

4 cups shredded sharp cheddar, divided

2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar

2 cups shredded muenster

Roast chiles in oven or grill until skin is blackened, rotating every 3-4 minutes. Immediately place in paper bag, seal and let sit 15 minutes. When chiles are cool enough to handle, peel skin off. Cut tops/stems off chiles and discard. Discard seeds, or leave some in if you like extra spice. Chop up chiles and set aside.

Cook macaroni according to directions on package. Drain and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in large skillet over medium-high heat. Whisk in flour and cook 2-3 minutes, whisking continuously. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder. Stir to combine.

Slowly whisk in half and half and milk. Cook, continuing to whisk, until sauce is thickened. Add in 2 cups sharp cheddar, 2 cups extra sharp cheddar and 2 cups muenster and stir until cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.

Mix sauce, green chiles and macaroni in large bowl and pour into greased 9-inch-by-13-inch casserole dish. Top with remaining 2 cups of sharp cheddar. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. For crispier top, remove foil for last 5-10 minutes of cooking to allow cheese to brown slightly. Serves 10.

— Kristen Smolik

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