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Get back to tailgating with 7 summer cook-out favorites

The college football season kicks off this weekend, and there’s no better way to prep for the action on the gridiron than by dominating the pre-game tailgate.

So whether you plan on traveling to Notre Dame to cheer on the Irish in tomorrow’s season opener or rooting for your favorite team from the comfort of your living room, we’ve rounded up a few crowd-pleasing recipes that will help you enjoy the last taste of summer while getting back into your tailgating groove.

Classic Barbecue Chicken

Nope, this summer favorite is not too complicated for the parking lot. You can whip up this barbecue sauce recipe from Gourmet the night before, pack it up, and simply brush the sauce on the chicken once it’s done cooking on the grill. (Just a reminder: some campuses do not allow charcoal or particularly large grills, so check the rules beforehand to make sure yours meets regulations.) And make sure to pack napkins!

Chicken and Honey Sandwich

Who says your food options should be limited to brats and burgers? Try out this tasty chicken and honey sandwich from and you might even be tempted to leave the grill at home.

Traditional Sides … with a Smoky Kick

We might be divided when it comes to football loyalties, but you can find fans of bacon at just about any tailgate. If you were generous when adding ingredients to the barbecue recipes above, you can use some of the extras to make this potato salad with bacon and barbecue sauce from Food and Wine.

And if you think your crew will have a hankering for some comfort food before or after the game, try out Food Network’s Mac ’N Cheese with Bacon. (Tip: If you pack the mac ’n’ cheese in a heat-friendly container, you can reheat it by placing the container on a warm grill.)

Go Green – Literally

There’s no shortage of meat and carbs on most tailgating menus, but if you have a vegetarian football fanatic in your life – or if you’d just like a lighter option for lunch – try out the All-Wrapped-Up Salad from Better Homes and Gardens. And share that summer flavor with all your friends with this Guacamole recipe from

Making Seasonal Produce Just a Bit More Fun

Watermelon is still in season, which is really all the excuse you need to cap off your pre-game indulgences with Tequila-Soaked Watermelon Wedges from Martha Stewart. It’s a refreshing treat for our 21-and-over crowd with no cups or cans to worry about!

Tell us — what’s your favorite Notre Dame tailgate grub?

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