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  • Writer's pictureTommy Centola

Try different tailgate recipe

Football season is here. Time to load up your friends and hangout for hours before the game. What’s a tailgate without plenty of good food for the group? It’s just an extension of the backyard cookouts you had during the summer.

Since not everyone brings the same types of cooking equipment, I thought I would share three recipes that are cooked differently. The first makes use of a grill, Char Grilled Oysters. We use the deep frying method for the second recipe, Fried Boudin Balls. Lastly, we can use any type of burner to make a big pot of Chili. So let’s gather up your ingredients, and Let’s head to the parking lot!

Char Grilled Oysters

Char Grilled Oysters were invented by Drago’s restaurant in Metairie, Louisiana. It’s a simple dish that packs plenty of flavor. If you can’t find oysters in their shell, you can purchase stainless steel shells that work great.

2 sticks butter, soften

3 tablespoons garlic, chopped

¾ teaspoon ground black pepper

½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 ½ dozen oysters on the half shell

¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

2 ½ teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped

Mix butter, garlic, pepper, and Italian seasonings together in a bowl. Heat a grill, either gas or charcoal, and put the oysters still in their shell over the hottest part of the grill. Spoon enough of the seasoned butter over the oysters so that some of it will overflow into the fire and flame up a bit. The oysters are ready when they puff and get curly on the edges. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese and parsley on top. Serve on the shell immediately with hot French bread to soak up the sauce.

Fried Boudin Balls

Here’s a dish that is found on menus throughout Louisiana. There is a great contrast between the crunchy coating with the soft boudin inside. There are plenty of sauces you can serve this with. My choice is Creole mustard straight from the jar.

1 package boudin

2 cups corn flour

1/8 teaspoon thyme, dried

1/8 teaspoon basil, dried

1/8 teaspoon marjoram, dried

Creole seasoning

Preheat deep fryer to 375℉. Season corn flour with thyme, basil and marjoram. Cut the boudin into 2 inch pieces and roll them in a ball. Roll in corn flour, shaking off the excess. Fry for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.


A nice warm bowl of chili is great for the cooler fall months. It goes great on hot dogs as well as in a bowl topped with cheese and onions. This is a Texas style chili as it uses no tomato products.

Canola oil as needed

3 cups diced onions

6 cloves garlic minced

2 1/2 pounds ground beef

4 tablespoons dark chili powder

1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper

2 tablespoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

3 cups beef stock, or more as needed

Salt to taste

Heat oil in a heavy Dutch oven until shimmering; add onions and cook, stirring often, until onions begin to soften. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add ground beef and cook, chopping into fine mince, until beef is brown and crumbly. Meanwhile, combine chili powder, black pepper, cumin, smoked paprika, and cayenne; toast in a small pan over low heat until fragrant. Add to ground beef, stir thoroughly and allow to cook for a few minutes.

Stir in beef stock; bring to a simmer. Taste and add salt as desired; will vary depending on how salty tomatoes are.

Cover and simmer for 2 hours, stirring from time to time, tasting and adjusting seasoning. Simmer for five minutes; serve at once. Have guests garnish as desired. 

Every school claims to have the best tailgating. For me, it’s not the location. It’s all about the foods that are being served. Naturally, my favorite places to tailgate would be where the Creole and Cajun foods are properly prepared and presented. For whichever team you cheer for, may they have a great year!

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