September in the heart of the Bluegrass can only mean one thing...football! Not just any football, I’m talking SEC football! With the brand new stadium and our fantastic weather you know everyone is talking about tailgating, especially with Keeneland’s Fall Meet and Breeders’ Cup coming in October.
It’s so easy to fall into the tailgating trap of chicken wings, chili dogs and hamburgers. However, this year be unabashedly southern prep.  Dress up your table with chalkboard signs, big mason jars of candied bacon with bourbon Bloody Mary oyster shooters on the side. Have local craft beer on ice and a spread that will make Martha Stewart’s and Guy Fieri’s heads spin! 
With a little charm and the right amount of kick, you will have just the ticket for a tailgating touchdown!
Bourbon Bloody Mary Shooter
Whether you are just getting started or still partying from the night before, this bourbon bloody mary will do the trick with hints of wasabi, soy, lime and a fresh shucked oyster. 

  • 1 cup tomato juice
  • ¼ cup vodka
  • ¼ cup good quality bourbon
  • 1 tsp. wasabi paste
  • 1 tsp. mirin
  • ½ tsp. soy sauce
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tsp. superfine sugar
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 8 very fresh oysters (shucked and cleaned, oyster liquor set aside for mix)
  • 1 lime for garnishing

In a bowl, mix together all the ingredients except the oyster and lime and season to taste. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld together.
To serve, place 2 oysters each in the bottom of the four small shot glasses and pour the shooter mixture over them.
Garnish the glasses with lime wedges and celery stick, and serve chilled with some chopsticks for digging out the oysters.
Smokey Southern Sweet Potato Salad
Call me a sucker for chipotle but this potato salad is simply a must!  

  • 3 large sweet potatoes 
  • 6 strips of bacon, fully cooked and chopped 
  • 3 stalks of celery, finely diced 
  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped 
  • 1 cup of chipotle mayonnaise 
  • 1 bunch of parsley, minced

Bake your sweet potatoes at 350 degrees until they are fork tender. You want to be careful not to overcook the potatoes because they will get mushy (you will want them to hold their shape when you chop). Remove sweet potatoes and peel. 
Chop into a large dice and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add bacon, celery, green onions and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Add the chipotle mayonnaise and stir just until combined.
Taste and just salt and pepper, if needed. 
Pulled Beef Brisket Wraps
There is something to be said when you slow roast a beef brisket with garlic, herbs and love! But keeping it hot and serving it outside at a tailgate can be a tad messy. With these pulled beef brisket wraps, everyone can enjoy with ease. 

  • 1 beef brisket 
  • 6-10 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup fresh herb blend (rosemary, thyme, oregano and parsley minced) 
  • 2 cups of water
  • wrap bread, multigrain or spinach 
  • 6 onions, finely sliced 
  • 2 TBSP butter 
  • 3 heads of green leaf lettuce 
  • 2 chipotle peppers, finely diced
  • 1 cup of mayonnaise 

Heat your oven to 325 degrees. In a oven safe dish or hotel pan add the brisket and rub with garlic & herb mixture, olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.  Pour 2 cups of water in the bottom of the pan. Let the brisket cook covered (with parchment paper and aluminum foil over the top) for about 5-6 hours. 
Meanwhile, prepare your onions by cooking them on medium-high heat in a 10 inch sauté pan with two tablespoons of butter.  Season with salt and pepper. Continue cooking onions, stirring occasionally, until they are caramelized a nice deep brown/rust color.  This will give a fantastic sweetness to the wraps.  
In a small bowl combine the diced chipotle peppers and mayonnaise. If you like yours super spicy add some of the juice from the can to the mixture. 
Break the lettuce leaves and lay on a paper towel until ready to assemble. 
Remove brisket, let cool and pull using forks or man claws if you have them. The claws work wonders and are so fast when making brisket or pulled pork.
Once you are ready for assembly, spread chipotle mayonnaise on the wraps and layer with brisket, caramelized onions and lettuce leaf.  Roll like a burrito and slice in half.  Wraps can be served warm or at room temperature. 
Candied Bacon
Nothing screams southern prep than mason jars filled with candied bacon!

  • 1 lb of thick sliced bacon
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 TBSP of cayenne pepper
  • 1 TBSP of ground cinnamon

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Lay bacon on a wire rack over a baking sheet. Spread the brown sugar mix on top and bake for 15-20 minutes until brown and crisp.
Remove and let cool for 5 minutes.
Cranberry Poppy seed Slaw
No tailgating spread is complete without at least one coleslaw mix on the table. This poppy seed cranberry slaw is a crowd pleaser every time and can be made in 5 minutes!  

  • 2 bags of coleslaw mix
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 bag of almond slices
  • 1 bottle of poppyseed dressing
  • Salt and Pepper (to taste)

Mix all the ingredients together in a large glass bowl and stir. Chill for about 30 minutes (optional if you have the time) and serve.
That’s it! You are now privy to the simplicity of secrets behind my amazing cranberry poppyseed coleslaw!
Paleo Cauliflower Hummus
For your health conscious and “green” eaters. 

  • 4 cups steamed cauliflower
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 5 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
  • Sprinkle of cumin
  • Salt and pepper

Blend together the cauliflower, garlic, tahini, EVOO, lemon juice and cumin in a food processor.
Taste. Add more olive oil or cumin if you want. I added extra olive oil and lemon juice but I like things super-lemony.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with veggies for dipping.
Shrimp and Bacon Deviled Eggs 
Is there ever a bad time for deviled eggs? 
One Dozen Eggs 

  • 6-7 medium size shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 TBSP dijon mustard
  • ½ TBSP crushed red pepper flake
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked extra crisp
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise 

Fill a small stock pot with water and add eggs. Bring the water to a boil. Once the water comes to a boil, remove from heat and let eggs sit in hot water for 10 minutes. Drain water, rinse the eggs in cold water and peel them.  If they give you trouble, re-dip the eggs in cold water to help remove shells.  
In a small sauté pan add a ½ Tbsp of butter, bring to high heat, add the shrimp, tails removed, and sauté until pink. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. 
Slice eggs in half. Separate the eggs whites and save egg yolks in a separate bowl. To the egg yolks add mustard, red pepper flake, and mayonnaise and stir well. Chop the shrimp and bacon and add to mixture.
Fill the egg whites with the yolk mixture, add a bit of paprika for color and enjoy!

Posted on 2015-09-03 by Allison Davis