Any tailgate can have chips and dip, pre-made at the store and quickly tossed in the cooler at the last minute. But you can upgrade your whole tailgating experience by taking your snack game to the next level with one of these memorable treats that travels just as well as chips and dip.


Grilled Sausage Pizza
Cooking pizza on the barbecue is a brilliant idea for a tailgating party that involves any sort of grill. L’inizio, a hot Long Island City, New York pizzeria, shared the Salciccia Pizza recipe, made with sausage, roasted red peppers, mushrooms (and sauce and cheese, of course!). Prep the ingredients in advance: roll out the dough on a round tray and cover with plastic wrap, and cook and crumble the sausage at home. On game day, place the dough on hot grill and cook for 15-20 minutes (as you like). Add sauce, sausage, chopped mushrooms roasted red peppers, and cheese. Grill for another 5-10 minutes and serve.


Oven Baked Jerk Chicken Wings
This recipe from Grace Jerk Barbecue Sauce puts a tropical spin on the fried chicken wings we’re all used to snacking on come game day. Marinate the chicken at home and then cook the wings on location, or bake them in advance and reheat (or eat them cold). Since they are baked rather than fried, you can feel a bit less guilty about eating as many as you want—and you’ll still have room for dessert!

  • 1½ cups Grace Jerk Barbecue Sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 16 whole chicken wings

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. In a bowl, combine Grace Jerk Barbecue Sauce and soy sauce. Add to chicken and allow marinating for 1½ hours in the refrigerator or overnight. Place chicken in a greased baking dish. Bake for 40 minutes, basting occasionally with jerk barbecue mixture until done.


Mini Black Bean Cakes With Guacamole
Chef Randy Johnston of The International Culinary School at The Art Institute of Washington, shared this recipe for guacamole—a party staple— paired with mini black bean cakes for a healthier alternative to chips.

Black Bean Cakes

  • 1 # 10 can cooked black beans, pureed in food processor
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 green pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped garlic
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • Celery salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp. hot sauce
  • ½ tbsp. southwest seasoning

Run all ingredients through a food processor, and then portion and shape into mini cakes. Cook in skillet over medium-heat until heated through.


  • 8 avocados, diced
  • 2 serranos or jalapenos, minced
  • 1½ red onions, finely diced
  • ½ cup diced tomato (no pulp)
  • ½ red pepper, finely diced
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • Salt, pepper, and cumin to taste
  • 1 tbsp. chopped garlic
  • Tabasco to taste

Add all ingredients in bowl and mix well. Puree in food processor, if needed, for smooth consistency.


Game Day Jar-Faits
These semi-homemade, no-bake treats are easy to prepare, require only a few ingredients, transport easily in Mason jars (or an airtight container)—plus they make an adorable addition to any tailgate spread.

  • 1 family pack box of Tastykake Koffee Kake Juniors
  • 1 large containers of vanilla yogurt
  • 1 12-oz. tub of cool whip, thawed
  • 1 20-oz. can blueberry pie filling

Cut Koffee Kake Juniors into one-inch cubes. Place a few Koffee Kake Juniors cubes into the bottom of each Mason jar. Spoon a layer of vanilla yogurt directly onto the Koffee Kake Junior cubes. Add a layer of blueberry pie filling and then a layer of whipped cream. Repeat layers. If desired, finish with cherry filling.


Wine Jerky
Class up tailgating season with a batch of homemade jerky made with wine. This recipe has all the smoky goodness of jerky coupled with the multifaceted taste of a Noble Vines Cabernet Sauvignon.

  • 2 lbs. flank steak
  • 2 cups Noble Vines 337 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 2 tsp. black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp. liquid smoke
  • 2 tsp sea salt (or to taste preference)

Going against the grain, cut flank steak into thin ¼” strips that are about 1” wide. (For easier cutting, chill the meat in the freezer for a few minutes to harden without completely freezing.) Combine all other ingredients—except sea salt—in a large bowl until thoroughly mixed. Add steak strips to bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours. Place meat on dehydrator trays or oven racks and sprinkle with 1 tsp sea salt. Dehydrate or smoke for about 8 hours. Halfway through dehydration or smoking process, flip the meat and add sea salt. Finished jerky should be dry but still flexible.

ALY WALANSKY is a Brooklyn-based travel and food writer. She always appreciates an athletic man rocking his uniform.