Super Super Bowl Dining Tips From the Pros
The Super Bowl is all about eating and drinking to your heart's content, and while many prefer the simplicity of chicken wings and pizza delivery, restaurant food and beverage pros are here to share some pointers for making at-home Super Bowl parties substantially more delicious.
(Things are about to get saucy for the Super Bowl. Photo: Lillie's Q)
The Super Bowl Dining is basically a greasier, more TV-focused Thanksgiving, wherein hordes of people gather en masse to give thanks for football, silly commercials, and chicken wings. Another thing to be thankful for is food that doesn't suck, and while chicken wings, pizza, and beer are good and all, there are plenty of ways to improve upon the Super Bowl Dining gluttony template. Here are tips from a few restaurant industry professionals on how to raise the bar on football fare.
As the chef/owner of Lillie's Q, Charlie McKenna is a master of meat, making him a sage when it comes to Super Bowl supping. For starters, chicken wings are obviously paramount, and instead of settling for freezer aisle mediocrity, McKenna has several tips for poultry success. First, buy fresh chicken wings from a quality source, such as Whole Foods or your local butcher. Rinse and dry the wings before cooking, bread them before frying, and cook in batches so as not to overcrowd the oil. Keep the oil temp at a consistent 375-degrees whilst frying, keeping the cooked wings in a low-heat oven to maintain warmth while the rest cook. Once they're done, toss them all in sauce and serve hot and spicy. Pro tip: Lillie's Q boasts an impressive line of barbeque sauces and rubs in-store and online, which make a tasty addition to any chicken wing. McKenna suggests mixing equal parts Hot Smoky sauce and any buffalo sauce for the perfect combo.
The chef also shares a recipe for pimiento cheese, a nice Southern spin on the typical Super Bowl spread. Grab one stick of cheddar cheese and let it come to room temperature before grating it into a mixing bowl along with 8 oz. diced pimientos, one minced jalapeño, one teaspoon white pepper, pinch of sugar, and 1.5 cups mayonnaise. Mix it all together and refrigerate for eight hours.
And if this all crashes and burns under your watch, Lillie's Q also caters.
More Food (and Booze) Tips and Ideas
Chrissy Camba of Bar Pastoral likes good Asian-style wings for the Super Bowl Dining. Similar to honeyed Korean chicken wings, but a little spicier. For her pig skin fix, she makes a Filipino dish called palabok, a sauce made of pork skins and shrimp, with more pork skins on top. Although she doesn't often eat nachos, when she does she prefers to break all the components/toppings into different bowls, so that folks can dip chips as they please, thus preventing them from getting soggy under a heaping mass of add-ons.
Rob Levitt of The Butcher & Larder also has an idea for nachos. "You can't really gussy up nachos without defeating the purpose," he says. "But if you make your own chips using great tortillas and use quality ground beef or homemade chorizo, they'll be the best nachos ever!" So do that. As far as chicken wings, he suggests simply making your own wing sauce and purchasing the best quality chicken. "And if you really want to gild the lilly, fry them in lard, or oil laced with bacon fat."
And although the Super Bowl is often relegated to beer, Josh Kaplan believes the football day is just as wine-friendly. The beverage pro and GM of Eleven City Diner says he likes a "big chunky and clunky red Zinfandel with football food."
- Matt Kirouac