A tailgate menu doesn't have to start with exotic ingredients to be tasty and creative, says Ambarish Lulay, chef in Purdue University's Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management.
Lulay says the humble hot dog and its big brother, the brat, tailgate staples, can be made over as a not-so-ordinary centerpiece to a football tailgate party.
Some suggestions from Lulay on dressing up your dogs:
-- Add charred sweet corn, avocado and jalapenos for a Mexican dog.
-- Add sauerkraut, then top it with crushed pretzels and German mustard for a German dog.
-- Add shaved corned beef, potato salad and some crushed crunchy potato chips for a St. Pat's dog.
-- Add bottled giardinera, feta cheese and crumbled bacon for a salty dog.
-- Top with a generous helping of shredded barbequed pork and French fried onions for a barbeque dog.
To add pizzazz to brats, Lulay suggests simmering them with lots of onion in beer. When the brats are plump, move them to the grill to char. Meanwhile, reduce the beer and onions until the mixture reaches the consistency of marmalade. Add a dash of soy sauce before topping the grilled brats with the onions.
Other ways to spice up brats:
-- Cut them into two-inch pieces, wrap the pieces in strips of bacon and put three on a skewer. Grill until done and serve with spicy ketchup.
-- Cut crusty baguettes into six-inch pieces, hollow them out with a spoon, then shove a grilled brat into the baguette. Add cheese and garlicky mustard.
-- Wrap brats in rolled-out pizza dough with cheese, mustard and sauerkraut. Bake on the grill with a pizza stone and a lid.
-- Top a brat placed in a pretzel hoagie with Thousand Islands dressing, sauerkraut and mustard