Super Bowl game time is drawing ever closer. It's a mere two days until the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots take to the field in a battle for the chance to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy as champions of the game.
While a seat in Arizona is pretty well out of the question or a local Super Bowl event doesn't appeal, it's never too late to plan your own Super Bowl shindig at home. Of course, the food will play an integral part in the festivities. So, strap in because we're 'travelling' the US in a bid to compile a list of must-have Super Bowl eats that could transform your modest get together into an authentic Super Bowl experience.
It's simply not a Super Bowl party until the hot wings make an appearance, so our search for the best Super Bowl grub rightly starts in New York.
There are a few different stories as to how these deliciously spicy little morsels came into existence, but everyone seems to agree that it all started in Buffalo, New York. Some say it was a late night snack for last minute guests at the Anchor Bar, while John Young insists that it was his chicken wings with 'mambo sauce' that started the craze in the mid-1960s.
Regardless of who, the wings have developed into a menu staple for bars and restaurants across North America and almost always feature on American-themed restaurant menus overseas. Now available in a variety of flavours, original wings consist of deep fried wingettes and drumettes tossed in a vinegar-based cayenne pepper hot sauce mixed with butter.
SERVING TIP: Tradition dictates that wings be served up with a side of blue cheese dressing for dipping and a few celery sticks. The former offers a bit of cooling respite from the hot sauce while the latter is to cleanse the palate.
Kansas Starts The Slider Movement
Growing in popularity, the history of the slider is a varied thread that stretches way back. It is widely accepted that the term 'slider' originated on the US Navy ships. It was the name given to the greasy burgers that slid across the galley grill as the ships rocked back and forth.
At some point in the 1920s, a little fast food chain in Wichita, Kansas known as White Castle picked up the term, using it to identify their unique mini burgers being sold at five cents a pop. The chain later copyrighted the term 'Slyder', but has since returned to the original spelling. White Castle's slider remains its most famous menu item and has been voted America's most iconic burger.
These days the term 'slider' has grown to encompass a number of different bite-size burgers or sandwiches, with toppings ranging from pulled pork and slaw to chicken slathered in BBQ sauce. It is because of their small size that they have earned their spot on the Super Bowl menu. They're easy to handle and relatively mess-free, making them perfect for cheering fans.
SERVING TIP: Stick to the origins of the slider: a thin beef patty topped with diced onions, pickles, and cheese served on a steamed bun.
Pop Over To Wisconsin For A Jalapeno Popper
Appleton, Wisconsin is an unassuming city that earned a page in the food history books with a little something called Jalapeno Poppers. While the influences can be traced south of the border to a Mexican dish called chiles rellenos, the modern day recipe was trademarked by Anchor Food Products in Wisconsin in 1992.
Jalapeno Poppers are a hollowed jalapeno pepper that has been filled with cream cheese or cheddar. It is then crumbed and deep fried. Some variations involve adding minced beef or bacon. The spicy pepper is offset by the creamy cheesy centre, creating a taste sensation that continues to delight Super Bowl party-goers across the US.
SERVING TIP: It’s best to serve poppers fresh and hot, when the cheese is melty and the crust is crispy.
Thanks For The Potato Skins, Dallas!
My personal favourite of the Super Bowl menu, potato skins, are a popular appetiser that originated at the famous chain restaurant TGI Fridays. While the flagship restaurant is in New York, it was the Dallas venue that introduced potato skins in the 1970s. However, there are some out there that insist a couple of other sources contributed to their widespread success. This includes Prime Rib Restaurant in Washington DC and the Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises in Chicago.
Nevertheless, the brilliance behind potato skins is that they are easy to make and easy to adapt to suit all tastes. Twice baked so the skins are crispy and delicious, they can best be described as a portable version of the loaded baked potato. You can fill them up with whatever you want!
SERVING TIP: Classics are classic for a reason, so when deciding on your potato fixins’, my advice is to opt for classic cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. A dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of chives makes for a flawless combination. For a vegetarian twist, the bacon can be replaced with broccoli.
BONUS RECIPIE: Buffalo Wings courtesy of the Food Network Kitchens
- Vegetable or peanut oil for frying
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 3 kilograms chicken wings
(split at the joints and tips removed)
- 5 cups Franks RedHot sauce
(sold in specialty stores)
- 1/2 cup of butter
Heat approximately 2.5cm of oil to 190 degrees Celsius, using a large, deep skillet.
Mix flour and paprika in a shallow dish. Dredge the chicken wings to coat in the flower mixture, tapping off any excess.
Fry the wings in batches, turning as needed until cooked through and a deep golden brown. This will take approximately 15 minutes. Transfer to a rack to drain. Return the oil to temperature between batches.
Combine the hot sauce and butter in a pot over medium heat, stirring until the butter melts and the sauce begins to thicken. This will take approximately 10 minutes. Reserve one-quarter of the sauce for serving. Add the cooked wings to the pot and toss through the sauce.
Serve with blue cheese dressing and reserved sauce.