Top Shelf Tailgating

Step Up Your Game On Game Day With Upscale Accoutrements And Recipes That Extend Far Beyond Burgers And Brats

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Spicy House-Smoked BBQ Wings Recipe

Spicy House-Smoked BBQ Wings

Recipe by Anne Leonard

Time: About 25 minutes total
Yield: A dozen wings


Dry rub

1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper



1/3 cup Peter’s Beach Barbecue Sauce and Marinade
1/3 cup Tommy Bahama’s Blackberry Brandy Sauce
1/4 cup A. Smith Bowman Barrel-Aged Bourbon Hot Sauce
1 dozen chicken wings, pat very dry with paper towels
1/2 cup canola oil for frying
2 tbsp sesame seeds
2 tbsp scallions, chopped


Other materials

Wood chips
Sealable container



Mix all ingredients for the dry rub into a small bowl and season both sides of the wings. In a separate bowl, combine and mix the three sauces. Lightly toast the sesame seeds in a toaster oven for about 2 minutes. Keep a close eye on them since they can burn quickly. Once lightly toasted, remove and set aside. Create a packet of wood chips. Lay out a piece of foil and place a large handful of chips in the center. Fold foil over on each side to seal in chips. Place wood chip packet in the center of the grill and turn on low heat.

Heat the canola oil in a pan on medium high heat until sizzling. Lay seasoned wings in a single layer in the pan (you may have to cook it in two batches). Fry for 3 minutes on each side or until browned and crispy.

Remove fried wings from oil and place in a sealable container. Pour in the sauce, seal the container, and shake to evenly distribute the sauce. Place wings in grill in indirect heat. Allow to grill for 8–10 minutes. Remove from grill, and garnish with sesame seeds and scallions to your liking. You can also add more sauce on top after grilling if you prefer your wings extra saucy.


Bacon Bleu-Crab Dip Recipe

Bacon Bleu-Crab Dip

Recipe by Anne Leonard

Yield: 6 servings
Total Time: about 1 hour


1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
2/3 cup cream cheese, softened
3 garlic cloves, minced
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Splash white wine
12 oz. blue crab meat (freshly picked or canned)
2 thick-cut pieces of bacon, diced
1 tbsp Chesapeake Bay Seasoning from Whole Foods (or Old Bay), plus more to garnish
Crackers or toasted baguette slices to serve


Preheat oven to 350. Mix bleu cheese, cream cheese and minced garlic in a bowl. Add lemon juice, white wine and crabmeat to bowl; then mix well.

In a separate bowl, toss the bacon with the Chesapeake Bay Seasoning. In a frying pan on medium heat, fry bacon until crispy for about 6 minutes, flipping throughout the time. Remove bacon from the pan and blot with paper towels to remove excess oil. Add bacon to crab mixture. 

Transfer crab dip to an oven-safe baking dish. Sprinkle Chesapeake Bay Seasoning over top. Bake for 25 minutes until slightly toasted on top. Serve immediately with crackers or toasted baguette slices.


Sweet Potato Hummus Recipe

Sweet Potato Hummus

Recipe by Anne Leonard

Yield: about 3 cups
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 10 minutes
Total: 20 minutes


1 large sweet potato, cooked and peeled
1/3 cup tahini paste
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
A generous dash of salt
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
A small handful of toasted walnuts
Pita bread, toasted and cut into triangles


Place all ingredients into a food processor, except for the walnuts and toasted pita bread. Blend ingredients in processor until smooth and fluffy. You may have to stop and stir hummus with a spatula a few times to even it out. Place sweet potato hummus in a deep-dish bowl of your choosing, and drizzle olive oil as well as a light sprinkle of paprika and pepper flakes over top if you prefer. Top with toasted walnuts. Serve hummus warm or cold with the toasted pita bread.


Big Blue Mules Recipe

Big Blue Mules

Yield: Approximately 16 drinks
Prep: 1 week for blueberry infused vodka; 2 minutes for mixing


2 pounds fresh blueberries, plus more for garnish
750 ml bottle of vodka (we like Blue Ridge Vodka from Chesapeake Bay Distillery in Virginia Beach)
Ginger Beer (Q Drinks Spectacular Ginger Beer is super spicy and not too sweet, just how we like it)
Mint leaves for garnish


A week before game day, make blueberry-infused vodka. Add blueberries and vodka to a large container, and let set at room temperature, out of direct sunlight, until ready to use. Strain and discard blueberries.

In a Mule mug, add ice, and pour in 1 oz. blueberry-infused vodka. Squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lime, and top with ginger beer, Garnish with fresh blueberries, a lime slice and fresh mint.

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