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Gridiron Grub: Your Guide to Entertaining This Football Season

Excerpt from Margaritaville: The Cookbook, available wherever books are sold. 

With the college and professional football seasons right around the corner, you’re going to need something good to eat and plenty to drink while you cheer on your favorite teams with friends and family. Decorate your party with team colors, buy inexpensive trophy cups to hold chips and snacks, get huge foam fingers for all your guests and do the wave!

Here’s whats on our starting lineup: 

  • Volcano Nachos
  • Pimiento Cheese Hushpuppies
  • Spicy Buffalo Chicken Wings with Buttermilk Blue Cheese Dressing
  • Sweet Chile Chicken Wings
  • Beach Club Sandwich, cut into quarters
  • Frozen Paradise Palomas
  • Cold LandShark Lagers
  • Iced Tea

Find recipes for all of these dishes in the new Margaritaville cookbook. And if you don’t have your copy yet, here’s some recipes to get the party started by kickoff.

Sweet Chile Chicken Wings
A Southeast Asian spin on chicken wings, this version swaps the typical hot sauce–and–butter mixture for a combination of sweet chile sauce and spicy chile paste. A platter of cool, crunchy cucumber slices would be a great accompaniment in the same way celery stalks usually complement hot wings. For a complete meal, serve these with a pot of rice and a bowl of Cilantro Lime Coleslaw.

Serves 4

  • ½ cup sweet chile sauce (preferably Mae Ploy brand)
  • 1 tablespoon chile paste (preferably sambal oelek)
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, wing tips discarded, halved at the joint, patted dry with paper towels
  • Neutral oil (such as canola or vegetable), for frying
  • 1 lime, cut into wedges, for serving

Place the chile sauce and chile paste in a large bowl . Whisk to combine and set aside. Pour 1 inch of oil into a large heavy pot and heat the oil over medium heat. Test the oil: When a chicken wing sizzles upon contact, it’s ready. Add as many wings as can fit in an even, not-crowded layer. Fry the wings, turning them a few times while they cook, until golden brown all over, about 12 minutes. Regulate the heat while they’re frying so that the oil is hot enough to bubble around the edges of the chicken, but not so hot that the chicken burns. Transfer the wings to a paper towel–lined plate to drain. Break into one to make sure it’s cooked through (if it’s not, throw the batch back into the oil and continue to cook until they’re done). Repeat the process, adding more oil to the pot as needed, until you’ve fried all your wings.

Put the wings in the bowl with the chile sauce mixture. Toss well to combine.

Transfer to a serving platter. Serve immediately, with lime wedges for squeezing over and plenty of napkins.

Frozen Paradise Palomas
Typically made with grapefruit soda, we love making palomas with freshly squeezed grapefruit and lime juices, and a little agave nectar for sweetness and throwing everything in a blender or a Frozen Concoction Maker to make the most deliciously tart frozen drink ever. You could substitute freshly squeezed blood orange juice or tangerine juice for a fun alternative.

Serves 4

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup silver tequila (preferably Margaritaville Silver Tequila)
  • 2 cups fresh ruby red grapefruit juice (or high quality store-bought)
  • 3 cups ice cubes
  • 4 grapefruit slices

Place the lime juice, agave nectar, tequila, grapefruit juice, and ice in a blender (or place the liquids in the container of a Frozen Concoction Maker and fill the hopper with ice) and puree until smooth. Divide the mixture among four glasses and garnish each drink with a slice of grapefruit. Serve immediately.