Tailgating season is officially here! For some, the pregame party is better than the actual event itself, but the star of this show that everyone crowds around is always … the grill. The author of Canada’s #1 tailgating cookbook, Paula Stachyra, the Queen of the Grill herself, is sharing a list of tips and recipes for your readers on how to successfully grill in the chill for the ultimate tailgating experience. Here are her top five tips:
- Charcoal vs propane: While charcoal is less expensive, many stadiums prohibit its use, so consider propane which lights faster, has better heat control, quicker cooling times, and is easier to clean.
- Stock up on fuel: As the weather gets colder, more heat is lost when grilling so you can easily use double the fuel. Make sure you have a sufficient supply on hand.
- Adapting for cool weather: When it’s cold outside, factor in extra time for the grill to heat up and remember that each time you open the lid you add 10 minutes to your cook time! Also, consider a wireless meat thermometer, which allows you to check the temperature without opening the grill.
- Enhance quick cooking foods: Choose game-day eats that cook quickly so there’s less monitoring, then melt some Castello cheese on top to elevate the dish and act as a delicious warming blanket for the food.
- Convert your cooler: Coolers aren’t just for ice! Insulated coolers will help keep your food warm longer so you can enjoy hot dips, wings, sausages and hot cheesy sliders.
Now it’s time for the food! The Queen of the Grill is sharing a favourite tailgating recipe with a premium touch. Try this one at your next tailgate! —Vita Daily
Grilled Blue Velvet Spinach and Artichoke Cheese Dip
1 (125 g) Castello velvet blue cheese, shredded or crumbled
1 (250 g) package cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups fresh chopped spinach or 10 oz. frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 (398 ml) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, finely diced
½ cup sour cream
½ cup mayonnaise
6-8 slices of bacon, fried crispy and crumbled
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ tsp red pepper flakes, optional
Tortilla chips, pita chips, crackers, or celery sticks for serving.
Place the bacon in a skillet and cook over medium heat until crispy. Remove bacon and drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, crumble into pieces. Set aside. In the same skillet, add onion and garlic. Cook on medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add the spinach, artichoke hearts, bacon, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally until artichokes are warmed through and the spinach has wilted, about 5 min. Preheat your grill or smoker to 350ºF (177ºC) or 275ºF (135ºC) for a smoky flavour. In a mixing bowl, stir together velvet blue cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise. Stir in the spinach and artichoke mixture. Spread mixture evenly into a cast iron skillet or baking dish. Grill for about 25 minutes or until warm and bubbly. Smoke for about 45 minutes at 275ºF (135ºC). Serve hot.