Back in 1939, Sunset published a dip recipe from reader M.K.C. of Elk Grove, California, for La Salsa con Queso—“a lively dish from Mexico,” as we described it, made with canned tomatoes, diced American cheese, and a whisper of fresh chile. While its origins are up for debate—Texas and Arkansas have also claimed the recipe—the dip (now called chile con queso, or simply queso) is still a crowd-pleaser. Our update on the classic, perfect for game day, is made with fresh hot salsa plus hot sauce—but keeps the Velveeta for that chip-coating cling.
Recipe: Chile con Queso
This is the base recipe from Gabriel's in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is intended only as a jumping-off point: Add more seasonings to your taste. We preferred it with 1/2 teaspoon jalapeño, 4 teaspoons onion, and 4 teaspoons lime juice.
Recipe: Gabriel's Guacamole
Simmering these sausages in beer first makes for quick grilling and helps feed tailgate guests fast.
We love these smeared with coarse-grain mustard on crusty rolls. The onions take on a lot of the ale's flavor, including its slight bitterness.
Bacon, fire-roasted tomatoes, and spicy smoked paprika give this easy-to-make chili a deep, complex flavor. While it's great right after you make it, it's even better the next day.
Recipe: Smoky Beef-and-Bacon Chili
Inspired by the classic French salad, this fancy tuna sandwich takes a Western turn with sourdough and avocados.
Tailgate tip: Go ahead and make these ahead of time because they pack perfectly.
Recipe: California Nicoise Sandwich
Top grass-fed burger with a sauce of smoked chiles, brown sugar, ketchup, molasses, orange juice concentrate, and garlic. The sauce is also excellent on grilled chicken and ribs.
When we think "potato salad," we think of this dish: chunks of tender potato and plenty of chopped hard-cooked eggs, lightly coated with a tangy mayonnaise dressing full of crunchy red onion, celery, and pickles.
Tailgate tip: This salad is at its best right after it's made, but it may be kept, covered and chilled, for up to 2 days.
Recipe: Classic Potato Salad
Give your guests options by serving both these sides. This zingy potato salad with artichokes is rich and creamy, while the green bean salad topped with a bright lemon dressing is light and fresh.
Flavor and texture contrasts give this salad extra appeal: Nutty pasta mingles with crisp green beans, strewn with bits of crunchy bacon and creamy Roquefort.
Make this addictive dip at least an hour ahead of time to let the flavors develop ― and serve with enough potato chips to scoop up every last bit.
Recipe: Caramelized Maui Onion Dip
Buy Hawaiian Maui Onion ― Grown in rich volcanic soil on the island for which it’s named, the juicy, golden yellow Maui onion is sweeter and less pungent than a regular onion because of its lower sulfur content. However, Maui onions must be used quickly; they don’t keep as well as regular onions. Stores typically label Maui onions by name.
Remarkably moist and tender, this cake gets its fall warmth from spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and a hint of black pepper. Whole-wheat pastry flour adds nutrients without compromising taste or texture.
Recipe: Butternut Squash Spice Cake