The Perfect Tailing Recipes for Any Season

By Jonathan SooHoo


Football is back celebrating its 100th season and Chicago fans finally have something to look forward to this season. With the start of the regular season kicking off against the rival Packers on Thursday night comes the first (unless you scored a preseason game ticket to watch Tyler Bray do...things) opportunity for tailgating (if you can leave just a bit early from work).  While almost nothing could be more painful than a double-doink, a sad tailgate is no fun. Here are a couple delicious ideas that’ll keep you satisfied through the trials and tribulations, ups and (hopefully few) downs, and the heat and the biting cold while you support your team. 

Jalapeno Poppers

Makes: 24 pieces


12 jalapeno peppers, approx. 3-4 inches long

8 ounces softened cream cheese (block not spreadable)


2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon pepper

24 slices of bacon (not thick cut, it will take too long to cook)

Cooking spray 


Instructions: These can be baked or grilled depending on the situation. For baking, preheat oven to 400 degrees; for grilling, preheat grill to medium and coat with cooking spray. Cut the stem off each jalapeno and halve. Scoop out the seeds and membrane (leave more if you want it spicier). Combine cheeses, garlic powder, and pepper in a small bowl. Stuff jalapeno halves then wrap with bacon, covering the cheese entirely. Secure with toothpicks. Bake for 30-40 minutes or grill with cheese side down until bacon starts to crisp (approx. 6 minutes), then loosen from grill and flip. Grill on medium-low for an additional 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted and bacon is crisp. 

Adapted from Dinner at the Zoo

Beer-braised Bratwurst


Serves: 6 hungry people


12 brats

2-4 12oz cans of beer (enough to cover the brats completely) 

1 large sweet onion

½ stick butter

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon ground black pepper


2 teaspoons red pepper flakes 

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Instructions: Preheat a grill to medium-high heat. Cut the onion into thin slices and add to a large pot with the butter. Cook until slightly brown. Add the bratwurst then cover them with the beer. Add all remaining seasoning and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for approximately 10 minutes (until the brats are just cooked). Remove the bratwurst from the pot and brown on the preheated grill (5-8 minutes, flip once). Serve with the onion and beer mixture or your choice of toppings. 

Adapted from this recipe

Topping Ideas:

For the days when the summer heat feels like it’ll never end: Try something light like this spicy peach salsa, giardiniera, or coleslaw

For the whole two weeks of fall: Take advantage of the season with a maple bourbon sauce like this one combined with bacon (honestly, you should use bacon as a topping any time of year). 

For when Hell freezes over and you laugh at the teams from California, Texas, and Florida: Hot, hearty food is in order. Try topping your bratwurst with the beer-braised onions, chilli, and cheese, or make your own French onion bratwurst with the beer-braised onions, croutons, and Gruyere cheese. 

Jonathan SooHoo