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Game plan for the perfect game-day tailgate

September 14, 2010

This football season, you don't need tickets to enjoy the hottest grid-iron games with friends, family and food fresh off the charcoal grill.
Gather up the home team and fire up the grill for a tailgate party with all the sights, sounds and smells of the stadium in your own backyard with these smart game-day strategies from champion pitmaster Chris Lilly and football analyst Mike Golic.
"Tailgating prior to kickoff is a football tradition in my family," said Golic, "I'm about as big of a grilling enthusiast as I am a sports fan, so any game day is a great day to be around the grill in my backyard."
The award-winning pitmaster recommends using a charcoal grill to bring out the best flavor of tailgate fare and shares a few quick tips to make your menu a success.
"In fact, nothing says game day like friends and family enjoying the signature smoky aroma and flavors of food prepared on the charcoal grill," said Lilly.
• Score an Early First Down: Chips and dip make great appetizers for any party. Try paring tortilla chips with a coal-fired pico de gallo for an instant fan favorite. Give tomatoes, peppers and onions a quick turn on the grill before combining with cilantro, garlic, salt, sugar and limejuice to taste.
• Home Field Advantage: Combine two game-day traditions at your tailgate party - grilling and pizza. Grilled pizza is a creative alternative to delivery when hosting guests for the big game. Plus, you can fire up another pizza on the grill immediately instead of having to wait for the delivery guy.
• Instant Replay: One of the perks to hosting your own tailgate party is enjoying the leftovers. From chicken tacos to Philly cheese steak sandwiches, there are limitless options for what you can fix with the meat your guests don't finish. Just make sure it gets cooked properly on game day - don't forget to let it sit or "rest" undisturbed for 10 to 15 minutes before serving to allow the temperature to equalize and reabsorb the internal juices.
For more ways to tailgate at home, including additional tips and game day recipes, connect with us at Facebook.com/KingsfordCharcoal. While there, find out how you can prove your college football knowledge for the chance to win a backyard makeover worth more than $10,000 and other weekly prizes (Aug. 4 through Dec. 4, 2010).

Grilled Steak Pizza

Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 9-12 minutes

1/4 pounds sirloin steak
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 13.8 ounce tube pizza dough
4 scallions, finely chopped
1/2 cup queso fresca cheese
1/4 cup salsa verde
3 tablespoons freshly chopped cilantro

Preheat grill using charcoal.
Season steak with salt and pepper and grill for 4 to 5 minutes for rare. Remove steak from grill and let rest for five minutes. Thinly slice steak.
Roll dough out on a well-floured board or pizza peel. Slide dough from peel on to grill and grill for 3 to 5 minutes or until toasted and crispy on the underside.
Flip the pizza dough over and top evenly with sliced steak, green onions, and queso fresca. Place cover over grill and cook for 5 to 7 minutes or until cheese has melted and is golden.
Remove pizza from grill and serve drizzled with salsa verde and cilantro.

Big Flavor for the Big Game

Looking for a way to kick up the flavor for your game-day party? Tailgating by the stadium or watching on a big screen, you can add great taste to the menu with a versatile cheese such as Jarlsberg.
Great for snacking, sandwiches and cooking, this popular cheese has a mellow, nutty flavor, a creamy, buttery texture and melts beautifully. You can find it in wedges, random-weight pieces and convenient slices.
Jarlsberg can be a tasty part of any tailgate experience - try some of these ideas to score big with your guests:
• Super Sliders: Mini beef, turkey or bison burgers topped with sliced Jarlsberg (or Jarlsberg Lite).
• Deep Fried Cheese Sticks: Creamy goodness battered and fried; take their flavor up a notch with marinara or spicy barbecue sauce for dipping.
• Ham & Cheese Calzones: Salty, smoky ham and gooey melted Jarlsberg all wrapped up in a munch-and-carry pastry.
• Kickin’ Kebabs: Skewer great taste by alternating cheese cubes with pickled vegetables and chunks of cured ham or smoked sausage.
This recipe for Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers is an easy way to bring some heat to the game - they can be made ahead of time, then just popped onto the grill or under the broiler to be ready before the next time out.For more exciting game-time recipes, visit www.tailgatejarlsbergstyle.com.

Cheese Stuffed Jalapeno Peppers

Makes 16 appetizers

16 pickled jalapeno peppers, rinsed and drained
2 4-ounce logs fresh goat cheese
1 cup grated Jarlsberg cheese
1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese*
1/4 cup diced green onion (scallions)
Dash of hot sauce
Cilantro leaves
Optional garnish: pickled mini hot red pepper

Using small sharp knife, cut slit down one side of each pepper. Leave stem intact and remove seeds and veins. In bowl, mash goat cheese with Jarlsberg, Manchego, onion and hot sauce. Divide among peppers, stuffing each generously. Refrigerate. (Recipe can be made ahead to this point.)
Arrange peppers in heavy aluminum foil packet. Grill 8 - 10 minutes until cheese begins to melt. Garnish with cilantro and, if desired, hot red peppers.
*If you can’t find Manchego, use 1-1/2 cups Jarlsberg cheese.

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