By Scott Mechura EBS Food Columnist
It’s that time of year again, when we gather at stadiums, bars, or in our homes to watch “the game.” We laugh, we yell, we cry. We cook amounts of food that would make a Sumo wrestler throw in the towel. It is America’s pass time and we love it. And it’s not baseball.
As far as food is concerned, baseball seems intertwined with hot dogs and nachos. Hockey has its fair share of beer and, well, beer. When you sit at a professional basketball game, you rarely see fans eating food at all.
But football … the tailgating before, during, and after the game; the hosted parties full of friends and coworkers; and fans jam-packing bars making sure they can sit down to eat.
When I lived in Texas, where football is arguably the predominant religion in the state, my wife Carrie and I would have to reserve tables at a Sunday establishment with friends long before games.
I quickly learned there are only two social Sunday requirements in Texas: church and football. The former is a time to, among other things, reflect on your behavior and choices you made the past week. The latter begins your new week with the said behavior and choices that you’ll most likely ponder again the following week at church. It’s a fun, vicious cycle.
When it comes to football season, we Americans temporarily adopt the exact unhealthy diets that contradict those required by the athletes of the sporting event we’re watching. Think about it: Professional golfers don’t exactly require the physique and physical toughness of a J.J.Watt, and I’ve never watched the Masters filling my face with beer and hot wings.
Although fantasy football has been around for decades, it’s really taken off in the last 17 years. This competition allows us to indulge in football every day of the week. If you ask me, fantasy is just another excuse to eat and drink; which is fine by me.
My brother is in a fantasy league and the priority of the draft party is about who’s bringing what, who’s cooking what, and whether there’s enough beer. He starts planning what he’ll load into his smoker days beforehand. Simply talking about football triggers the desire to eat.
Scott Mechura has spent a life in the hospitality industry. He is a former certified beer judge and currently the Executive Chef at Buck’s T-4 Lodge in Big Sky.
Here’s one of my favorites I prepared last year for the most-viewed broadcast in TV history: Super Bowl XLIX.
This is not an exact recipe, but the fun of it is, pun intended, I just wing it every year.
Creamy molten buffalo wing dip
All ingredients are approximate, depending on crockpot size.
1.5 pounds plain cream cheese
10 each roasted chicken legs and thighs
Two to three 12-ounce bottles Franks wing sauce
2.5 cups crumbled blue cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
Lawry’s seasoned salt
Black pepper to personal taste
1. Season chicken with Lawry’s and black pepper.
2. Roast chicken in oven at 250 F for two hours until completely tender.
3. Pick meat from bones and add to crockpot with all ingredients except cheddar cheese. Do this early the day of or late the night before so blue cheese and cream cheese have time to melt.
4. 30 minutes before serving, top with the cheddar cheese.
Serve with corn or tortilla chips, or just stand over the crockpot with a fork and enjoy.