MVP Your Meal: 4 sandwiches to win your tailgate

Get ready for game day all season long with some delicious recipes that are perfect for your tailgate.

The Infield Sandwich

This recipe from celebrity chefs Adam Richman and Myron Mixon was a last-minute creation on “Man vs. Food” during the Daytona 500. Richman tossed the meat and sauce in a skillet, allowing the meat to caramelize in the pan.

Serving size: 6


4 cups shredded roast pork (see recipe below)

1 cup barbecue sauce

1 cup maple syrup

8 store-bought waffles

4 slices of cheddar cheese


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Put the shredded meat in a baking pan. Toss with the barbecue sauce and maple syrup, reserving a few tablespoons of each. Place the pan in the oven to heat through.

Toast the waffles until crisp. Arrange half the waffles on a baking sheet, top each with a slice of cheese, and slide into the oven. Bake until the cheese melts, about five minutes.

Top each cheesy waffle with some of the pulled pork and a drizzle of the reserved barbecue sauce and maple syrup. Top with another waffle and serve hot.

Easy Pork Shoulder

Celebrity chef and BBQ pitmaster Myron Mixon shared his simple recipe that’s the main ingredient in the infield sandwich.

Serving size: 10 – 12


3 cups apple juice

1 cup distilled white vinegar
3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup kosher salt

1, 6 to 8-pound boneless pork shoulder / butt (blade roast)

1 cup pork rub, homemade (below) or store bought


To marinate the pork, use a large, heavy stockpot set over medium heat, whisk together the apple juice and the vinegar. Whisking continuously, pour in the sugar and salt. Continue whisking until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, but do not allow the mixture to come to a boil. When the sugar and salt are completely dissolved, remove the pot from the heat and let it cool completely.

Place the pork shoulder in a large aluminum baking pan. Add the cooled marinade, cover the pan, and let the pork marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour before cooking or, if you can, overnight.

The pork may be cooked either in a smoker or the oven. (Oven method below) Roast the pork in a smoker: Heat the grill to 550 degrees and close the lid. Wait at least 15 minutes, until the temperature has lowered to about 300 degrees.

Remove the meat from the marinade. (Discard the marinade.) Pat the meat dry with paper towels and season well with the pork rub.
Place the roast back into the aluminum pan, fat-side down and uncovered, and transfer it to the smoker for about 2-1/2 hours total. The pork is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F.
Remove the pork from the smoker, cover it with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 30 minutes (it will continue to cook when it’s off the heat, raising the internal temperature to the recommended 160 degrees F). After the pork has rested, pull it, chop it or slice it as you wish.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Remove the meat from the marinade and discard the marinade.

Pat the meat dry with paper towels and season well with the pork rub. Place the roast in an aluminum pan, fat-side down and uncovered, in the oven for about two and a half hours.

The pork is ready when it reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees. Remove the pork from the oven, cover with aluminum foil, and let it rest for at least 30 minutes and as long as one hour. It will continue to cook when it’s off the heat, raising the internal temperature to the recommended 160 degrees.

After the pork has rested, pull it, chop it or slice it as you wish.

Dry Rub

Although this recipe makes a big batch, don’t be tempted to cut it down; the rub will keep for several months. It’s great to have on hand to season burgers or a pork loin. I even use it to season cubes of meat before browning them for a stew.

Serving size: 1 cup


1/2 cup (packed) dark brown sugar

2 tablespoons garlic powder

2 tablespoons onion powder

1-1/2 tablespoons finely ground espresso

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon sweet smoked paprika

1 tablespoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 tablespoon ground mustard

1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

5 teaspoons kosher salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

Place all the ingredients in a large bowl and stir to combine. Store in an airtight container in the pantry.

Foot Long Saucy Dog

Rocco DiSpirito’s recipe for this cheesy smothered, bacon-wrapped hot dog.

Serving size: 2-4 people


1 foot long hot dog bun or hero, toasted until crisp

1 foot long hot dog, about 1 pound each

1/2 cup pickled jalapeno and onions

6 strips artisanal bacon, raw

2 cups gooey cheddar and gruyere cheese sauce

1/2 cup cilantro sprigs


Wrap six strips of raw bacon around foot-long hot dog, use skewers to secure bacon to hot dog. Toast bun until very crispy.

Deep fry bacon wrapped foot long dog until bacon has shrunk around the hot dog and is crispy.

Warm up cheese sauce. Insert bacon wrapped foot long hot dog into hot dog bun. The ends of the hot dog should be visible.

Top with gooey cheese sauce. Top with pickled jalapeno and onions. Top with cilantro and serve.

Smoked Brisket Melt

Cooking Channel chef and cookbook author G. Garvin shared his recipe for a perfect game day meal that’s big enough for a crowd.

Serving size: 16


1 (4-pound) brisket

3 tablespoons kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar

2 tablespoons paprika

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoons garlic powder

1 tablespoons onion powder

Butter, at room temperature, to serve

Sliced sourdough bread, to serve

Dijon mustard, to serve

Swiss cheese, to serve


Preheat a grill or smoker to 250 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine the salt, sugar, paprika, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder. Coat the entire brisket with the spice mixture. Place the brisket in the smoker or over indirect heat, if using a grill. Take care to keep the smoker or grill at a consistent temperature. Cook the brisket until the internal temperature has reached 200 degrees, about five hours.

Carefully transfer the brisket onto two layers of heavy duty aluminum foil. Tightly wrap the meat and let rest to slowly bring down the internal temperature and keep the meat very tender, about two hours. Remove the foil and discard.

Slicing against the grain, cut into thin slices and reserve any juices that may accumulate.

To build a sandwich, preheat the broiler to the highest setting. Butter both sides of two slices of bread and arrange on a baking sheet. Broil both sides of the bread until toasted as desired, about three minutes per side.

Reserve one slice of toast at room temperature and spread with a thin layer of Dijon mustard.

Top the other piece of toast with four ounces of smoked brisket, a layer of sauerkraut, and two slices of cheese. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbling, about five minutes.

Top with the reserved Dijon toast. Cut in half lengthwise and serve warm.

Cuban Style Fried Chicken Sandwich

Chef Michelle Bernstein


Brioche or potato roll, warmed in a little butter until toasted on all sides

Cabbage pickled onion slaw:

1/2 head green cabbage, shaved thin

1/2 cup picked cilantro leaves

1 jalapeno, seeds removed, flesh sliced very thin

1/2 Florida avocado (preferred) or 1 Hass avocado, sliced thin

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons of garlic oil (reserved from crispy garlic, recipe below)

1/4 cup pickled red onion

Generous pinch of salt

Chicken glaze:

1/2 cup butter, melted

3/4 cup Valentina or Frank’s RedHot Sauce

Frying flour:

4 cups All-purpose flour

1/4 cup Old Bay seasoning

Generous pinch salt and pepper.

Chicken Brine mixture:

2 cups buttermilk

4 eggs

1 tablespoon hot sauce

Mojo Mayonnaise

1 cup Duke’s mayonnaise

1 tablespoon reserved garlic oil

3/4 teaspoon cumin

Juice of 1/2 lime

Zest of an orange

1/2 teaspoon Goya Adobo, if available

1/4 teaspoon salt

Pinch black pepper


To make the crispy garlic, use half a cup of garlic, sliced paper thin on a mandolin and combine with three quarter cup of grapeseed oil.

Place the garlic and room temperature oil together in a small pan. Cook over medium heat, until the oil begins bubbling. Once the oil starts to bubble, begin gently shaking the pan in a circular motion to constantly mix the garlic.

Have a heat proof bowl and small plate ready. As soon as the garlic begins turning golden, shut off the heat, cook for 10 more seconds and then strain the garlic oil into the small bowl.

Transfer the garlic chips to a plate to cool.

For the chicken glaze, combine all ingredients and while the butter is still wam, whisk in the hot sauce until emulsified.

You can use boneless breast or thigh, but I always prefer dark meat. If using breast, butterfly the meat and pound them slightly, no thinner than half to one third of an inch. If using the thigh, pound the meat slightly to tenderize it. Marinate the chicken overnight in the buttermilk.

To prepare the chicken, remove from the butter milk, allowing the excess to drip off. Dredge in the flour, pressing well to coat the chicken. Dip in the buttermilk again and then the flour, repeating the breading procedure.

Fry in 325 degree oil until golden brown and cooked through. Remove with a spider, slotted spatula or spoon and place into a bowl. Coat with the chicken glaze.

Combine all the mayonnaise ingredients and spread on both sides of the bread. Place a generous spoon of slaw on the bottom piece of bread. Top with a piece of chicken, crispy garlic and the top bun.

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