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Cooking Pros Share Their Favorite Game Day Recipes

I might not know all the rules of football (yet!), but I do know that delicious snacks are a must when watching professional and college games on TV. This football season, level up your snacking game with these winning recipes from cooking pros. 

Jalapeño Popper Pigs in a Blanket

Recipe by Jason Goldstein, food blogger and recipe developer for Chop Happy

This magical mashup of classic finger foods is what your game day spread needs. “Using premade crescent dough, mini hot dogs are rolled up with a combination of cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and chopped jalapeño, then baked until lightly browned and the cheese is bubbling,” Jason said. “These can be assembled and frozen before baking, making it easy to take from freezer to oven on game day.”

Recipe for Jalapeño Popper Pigs in a Blanket

Yields 6 servings


1 package crescent dough (cut into 1-inch triangles)

1 package mini hot dogs

1 egg, whisked

8 oz cream cheese

1 c Cheddar cheese, grated (save some for sprinkling on top)

1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped

1 tsp sriracha

1 clove garlic, grated

2 scallions, chopped

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, jalapeño, Sriracha, garlic, scallions, salt and pepper.

Smear a tablespoon of the cheese mixture onto a crescent dough piece. Then, place a hot dog on one end of the crescent piece and roll up. Repeat until you have used all the dough, cheese and hot dogs.

On a sheet tray, brush beaten egg on top of each pig in a blanket.

Sprinkle Cheddar cheese on top of the egg wash.

Bake for 20 minutes or until brown.

Cacio e Pepe Deviled Eggs

Recipe by Fredo Nogueira, executive chef of Cure in New Orleans, Louisiana

This riff on traditional deviled eggs is sure to be a winner on game day. “These deviled eggs come together with a creamy, smooth texture that’s packed with a punch, featuring Duke’s mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, roasted garlic and Tabasco sauce, topped with a generous amount of grated Pecorino Romano and fresh grated black pepper,” Fredo said. “And here’s a fun fact—deviled eggs originally hailed from ancient Rome, so it makes sense that these flavors play well together.”

Recipe for Cacio e Pepe Deviled Eggs

Yields 12 servings


1 dozen eggs

1/2 c Duke’s mayonnaise

1 tsp Dijon mustard

3 cloves roasted garlic*

4 dashes Tabasco sauce

Grated Pecorino cheese (for topping)

Freshly grated black pepper (for seasoning)


Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil.

Using a slotted spoon, drop eggs in and cook for exactly 11 minutes. Make sure the water remains at a gentle simmer and not too rapid of a boil. This ensures that the eggs won’t turn green.

Plunge cooked eggs into an ice bath to stop the cooking. Once cooled, peel and slice eggs in half. Separate yolks from the whites and reserve both.

Place yolks, mayo, Dijon mustard, roasted garlic and Tabasco sauce in a food processor and process until contents are fully incorporated. 

Once combined, transfer the contents to a pastry bag fitted with a star tip. Fill egg whites with the egg mixture.

Generously grate Pecorino over the eggs and finish with freshly cracked black pepper.

*For the Roasted Garlic

1 quart peeled garlic

Neutral oil

Put garlic in a pan and drizzle with a generous amount of neutral oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

Fried Chicken

Recipe by Michael Twitty, culinary historian and food writer, author of The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South, blogger of Afroculinaria 

Level up your game day snacking with this real-deal fried chicken recipe. “My grandmother Hazel C. Todd (‘Grammy’) was an amazing cook,” Michael said. “At first she didn’t know how to make much, her mother Mary and father Joseph had a lot of kids and my great grandmother, affectionately known as ‘Big Mama,’ didn’t really do too much culinary training. She learned a lot by watching her father who made the large Sunday midday meal after church and after she married my grandfather gleaned a lot from her aunties and the ladies in her circles. She really knew how to impart the taste of Alabama in her food.

“A survivor of the Jim Crow South, my Grammy was dedicated to Civil Rights and Pan Africanism. She used to tell me, ‘sit up straight like Mr. Garvey!’ Her food—her chicken and greens and candied yams and homemade rolls were always a hit and she gave away a lot to friends and neighbors even though she never really had a lot. One of the first things she taught me to master was her fried chicken and I’m sure this herby, spicy melange will perk up fried chicken, fish, seafood, hush puppies and oven or air-fried goodies too! The trick is to season the protein or veggie well, not the flour.  My grandmother was keen to remind me that the spices would burn in the hot grease.” 

Recipe for Fried Chicken

Yields 4-6 servings


1 whole chicken, divided into parts (can substitute with all wings)

2 Tbsp Hazel C. Todd Chicken Seasoning

1 tsp kosher salt

1 c buttermilk or buttermilk substitute (optional)

Canola oil, for frying

2 c all-purpose flour


Mix the chicken with the Hazel C. Todd spice mix and salt. Get it in there, every nook and cranny! Add buttermilk and mix well. Let sit in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours.

Dip each piece of chicken in the flour. Tap to get rid of any excess coating but make sure each piece is well coated. Place on a covered plate for 30 minutes.

Bring the oil to medium heat in a deep frying pan. The oil should register about 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cook dark meat first for 3-4 minutes, then breasts and wings for another 10 minutes. Use an accurate digital thermometer to check for doneness.

Cook until golden brown and then let rest on a cooling rack over a sheet pan covered with paper towels or parchment paper. Let rest for 5 minutes.

Sprinkle a bit more seasoning on top before serving.

Everything Fried Pickles with Buttermilk Ranch

Recipe by Joy the Baker (Joy Wilson), three-time cookbook author, baking instructor and blogger 

Tangy, crunchy, salty and warm, this snack hits all the right notes. “I pride myself on my eagerness to say, ‘hey, let’s fry that!’ and this recipe is one of my favorites,” Joy said. “For all pickle purists out there who think they should only be enjoyed cold, I challenge you to think of that perfect pickle on a warm cheeseburger with a toasty bun and raise you a fried version with everything bagel seasoning.” 

Recipe for Everything Fried Pickles with Buttermilk Ranch 

Yields 6 servings


For the pickles

1 jar whole dill pickles, sliced to 1/2-inch thick rounds

1 c all-purpose flour

1 c cornmeal

1/2 tsp smoky paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

1 1/2 c buttermilk

1 Tbsp hot sauce

everything bagel seasoning

vegetable or canola oil (for frying)

For the yogurt ranch

1/2 c 2% Greek yogurt

1/2 c buttermilk

1 garlic clove, minced

1/4 tsp onion powder

2 Tbsp chopped chives

1 Tbsp chopped dill

sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste


Start by prepping your fry station and a few pans. Place vegetable oil in a medium pan about 2 inches deep. Place a fry thermometer on the edge of the pan. Place the pan over medium heat and start to bring it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line one rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Place a cooling rack over a second rimmed baking sheet and set both aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together flour, cornmeal, paprika, salt, pepper and sugar. Set aside.

In another medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk and hot sauce. Add the sliced pickle rounds to the buttermilk mixture and stir to coat.

Working in small batches, transfer a few pickle slices from the buttermilk to the dry ingredient mixture. Use your fingers and toss to thoroughly coat. Transfer the coated pickles to the parchment lined baking sheet and continue until all the pickles are coated.

Again working in batches, add 6-8 dredged pickle rounds to the hot oil. Use a fry spider or slotted spoon to gently and carefully toss the pickles around the oil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the hot oil, place on the rack-lined baking sheet. Immediately sprinkle with everything bagel seasoning.

Continue cooking the pickles in batches, bringing the oil back up to 350 degrees Fahrenheit in between batches. Sprinkle each batch with everything bagel seasoning.

Make the yogurt ranch sauce. In a small bowl, stir together buttermilk, yogurt, garlic, onion powder, chives, dill, salt and pepper. Taste and season more as you see fit.

Serve the yogurt sauce alongside the fried pickles with an extra side of hot sauce. Enjoy the same day they’re fried!

Maple Bourbon Ribs 

Recipe by Owen McGlynn, executive chef of Asheville Proper in Asheville, North Carolina

These sticky-sweet ribs are packed with flavor and finger-licking good. “I’m originally from Ohio, so cheering on the Browns and Buckeyes was a family affair when I was growing up,” Owen said. “We’d gather for a potluck feast of grilled wings, ribs and sausages as well as the classic game day items like beanie weenies or Swedish meatballs. This is a recipe I make at home, so I was excited to introduce it to our guests at Asheville Proper. Inspired by the dropping temperatures, I wanted to incorporate fall ingredients and a warm flavor profile.

“We cook the ribs to a point where the fat melts, so they’re nice and tender. The combination of maple syrup, bourbon and chili flakes give the ribs a nice sweet heat and you get a crunch of gremolata in each bite, which almost acts like a crust as well.”

Recipe for Maple Bourbon Ribs 

Yields 2-4 servings

For the Bourbon-Maple Glaze:

1/2 c maple syrup

1/2 c bourbon

1/4 c ketchup

1/4 c Dijon mustard

1/4 c brown sugar

6 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp garlic, minced

1 shallot, minced

1 Tbsp chili flake

1/8 tsp cinnamon 

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to a boil.  

Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes or until it reaches a syrupy consistency.

Pull from heat and cool. 

For the Pumpkin Seed Gremolata:

2/3 c pumpkin seeds

2 garlic cloves

1 c flat leaf parsley

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with salt and pepper.  

Toast in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 10 minutes or until light brown.

Place all ingredients except for the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse the ingredients, drizzle in the olive oil while running.  

For the Ribs:

1 rack baby back ribs

1 c beer

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Pull the ribs out of the package, remove the membrane on the backside of the bone. Once the membrane is off, season both sides with salt and pepper.  

Place ribs in a 9×13 pan, bone side down. Pour in beer.  

Cover the pan with foil and bake for 2 hours without uncovering.  

After 2 hours, remove ribs from the oven and turn the oven up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove foil and brush some of the glaze over the ribs.

Once the oven is hot, place the pan back in and cook for 15 minutes or until the ribs turn golden brown.  

Remove ribs from the oven and slice in between the bones and serve. Drizzle with glaze as needed.