Tailgating recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Get Your Game On with Tailgating Recipes

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Tailgating Recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

We’re about a month into college football season and things are just getting started. All the early supposedly easy games are over and we’re getting into the more serious match-ups. The air is getting crisper and the leaves are starting to change color. It’s tailgating season and you need tailgating recipes! At the bottom of the post, you’ll see the recipe for Savory Eggplant Dip that’s a huge family favorite. It’s great with chips, crackers, or celery sticks. And, to round things out I’m sharing a collection of tailgating recipes I am certain you will love.

Link it Up!

Many tailgating recipes are all about the grill game. Tired of brats and burgers? Check out my Grilled Gumbo over on SouthernKitchen.com made with tender shrimp, juicy chicken, and spicy sausage. I’m thrilled to be working with Southern Kitchen. Keep an eye out for more recipes and make sure to follow them on Facebook.

Tailgating recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

The Ultimate Football Food

These wings are incredible and burst with the flavor of sweet heat. Um, ah — this post didn’t work out so good for the Falcons, but the Coca Cola Wings are a winner! Ouch. Too soon?

Tailgating recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Make Ahead

Make this Tailgate Chili with all the fixins! Made with canned or dry beans this recipe is certain to satisfy every fan. I often make it with turkey sausage and ground turkey instead of Italian pork sausage and ground beef. And, I just want you to know there’s a reason this chili is red and black!

Tailgating recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Tailgating with Sticking Fingers

You want ribs for your tailgate? Granted, some of these rib tailgating recipes this might work out better in your backyard , than on campus. One way or the other, this has you covered. I’m sharing FIVE great recipes for BBQ ribs. Get out the napkins and the spray and wash!

Tailgating recipes on www.virginiawillis.com

Deviled Eggs

Don’t you love those Tupperware deviled egg holders? Who doesn’t like a deviled egg? Check out my Genius Deviled Eggs on Food52. What makes them genius? You’ve got to check it out!

tailgating recipes on www.virginiaiwillis.com


Pimento Cheese is probably the Number #1 Tailgating Recipe in the SEC! Click HERE for a Lightened Up Version (you can’t tell the difference!) AND Perre Coleman Magness’s recipe for Pigs in Pimento Cheese Blankets with Honey Mustard Dip.

That should do it — tailgating recipes that will help you get your game going. Have a great weekend!

Bon Appétit, Y’all — and Go Dawgs! 

Virginia Willis


Savory Eggplant Dip

Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time55 minutes
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American, Chinese
Keyword: eggplant, vegetable recipes
Servings: 6


  • 2 medium eggplant
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup thinly sliced green and white scallion rings
  • 1 serrano chile pepper cored, seeded, and chopped, plus more sliced for garnish
  • ¼ teaspoon dried red chile flakes or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unseasoned Japanese rice vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil


  • Preheat oven to 475°F. Wrap the eggplant in foil and place in the oven. Roast until collapsed and very tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the eggplant and loosen the foil. Slit it lengthwise to speed the cooling.
  • Combine the garlic, ginger, scallion, and Serrano pepper in the bowl of a small food processor fitter with blade attachment. Pulse to combine. Set aside. Combine the tamari, brown sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, and water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Set aside.
  • Heat a wok over medium high heat. Add the canola oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the reserved garlic-ginger mixture and red pepper flakes.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant 45 to 60 seconds. Add the reserved sauce ingredients and eggplant.
  • Stir well to blend, and heat through. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Serve warm or cold. Keeps up to 5 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Photos by Virginia Willis

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Please note that this post may contain affiliate links.

Virginia Willis

Georgia-born French-trained Chef Virginia Willis’ biography includes making chocolate chip cookies with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, foraging for berries in the Alaskan wilderness, harvesting capers in the shadow of a smoldering volcano in Sicily, and hunting for truffles in France. She is talent and chef-instructor for the digital streaming platform Food Network Kitchen. Her segments feature authentic and innovative Southern cooking. She was the celebrity chef at the Mansion at Churchill Downs for the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Virginia has spoken at SXSW, cooked for the James Beard Foundation, and beguiled celebrities such as Bill Clinton, Morgan Freeman, and Jane Fonda with her cooking — but it all started in her grandmother’s country kitchen. Recently, her work has been inspired by her weight loss success story, Virginia has lost 65# and kept it off for over 2 1/2 years! “If a French-trained, Southern chef can do it, you can, too.” She is the author of Fresh Start; Secrets of the Southern Table; Lighten Up, Y’all; Bon Appétit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Okra; and Grits. Lighten Up, Y’all won a James Beard Foundation Award of Excellence in the Focus on Health Category. Lighten Up, Y’all as well as her first cookbook, Bon Appétit, Y’all, were finalists in the Best American Cookbook for the International Association of Cookbook Awards and were also named by the Georgia Center of the Book as “Books Georgians Should Read.” She is the former TV kitchen director for Martha Stewart Living, Bobby Flay, and Nathalie Dupree; has worked in Michelin-starred restaurants; and traveled the world producing food stories – from making cheese in California to escargot farming in France. She has appeared on Food Network’s Chopped, CBS This Morning, Fox Family and Friends, Martha Stewart Living, and as a judge on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. She’s been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, People Magazine, Eater, and Food52 and has contributed to Eating Well, GRLSQUASH, Culture, Garden & Gun, and Bon Appétit, and more. The Chicago Tribune praised her as one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know.” Her legion of fans loves her down-to-earth attitude, approachable spirit, and traveling exploits. Her culinary consulting company, Virginia Willis Culinary Enterprises, Inc specializes in content creation, recipe development, culinary editorial and production services, cookbook writing, media training, spokesperson and brand representation, and public speaking. Virginia is on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Atlanta Community Food Bank Advisory Board, as well as the Community Farmers Market Advisory Board. She is a food and hunger advocate for No Kid Hungry and a premier member of the No Kid Hungry Atlanta Society. She a member of The James Beard Foundation, Chef’s Collaborative, Georgia Organics, and Southern Foodways Alliance.

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