The final game has been set and the Final Four comes to a close this week. My Buckeyes won it all this year so I'll be cheering for their Big Ten counterparts Wisconsin to do the same. I asked my friend Chef Shane McIntosh of Ocean Catering Company in Atlanta for tips on eats for the guys on game day. March Madness may be coming to a close but baseball's opening day is on the horizon.
Menu planning is key and Shane shared these tips for success.
- Plan ahead! You need to start about 4-5 days before the big game and party. Think about the menu. Think about things that you like to eat. Think about the guests that you have invited and the guests that they might bring with them. If you know that Jimmy is a vegetarian – have a few vegetarian options.
- Narrow a menu down to a few key entrees and then add fill-ins and condiments to bulk up your buffet table. You can have wings with several different dips, sliced beef that can be eaten several different ways with just a few extra items and of course chips and dips. You can mix these up to really impress – pita chips with hummus, veggie slices with tapenade and corn chips with anything you want.
- Use this extra time to your advantage. If you are having large cuts of meat (or any really), marinate in the fridge a few days before you cook. This will make a world of difference in flavor when cooked.
- Make a grocery list of EVERYTHING you need. Include paper goods, cups, extra garbage bags, food and of course your drinks. Oh, and lots of ice. Get everything in house at least the day before, so on game day you are cooking, finishing and serving – not grocery shopping.
- Refrigerate all beverages that need it. This will help make ice last longer when you get ready to pack a cooler in tailgating scenarios
Shane has quite the personality and appeared on reality Lifetime TV's Catering Wars show. I asked him about he serves at this own get togethers.
I like to cook large pieces of meats (flank steak, pork butt, pork loin, hanging beef tender) and wings. You've got to have wings!
Larger cuts of meat are easier to prep and cook than a bunch of smaller pieces. Also, you can make several dishes out of a single item.
- Add rolls and spreads – it's a carving station
- Add salsa, guacamole and sour cream – it's a fiesta (just add corn chips to expand even more)
Chicken wings are the International Sign of a Rockin' Party! I like to marinate mine overnite in my "Mahogany" marinade and then cook them on a grill. The flame and fat from this is gives such an amazing flavor. Add easy dips – ranch, bbq, honey mustard or our own Sage-Bleu Cheese dip.
When looking to add a gourmet twist or two to your game day get together, give these ideas a try.
- Grilling the wings instead of the usual frying makes a huge difference.
- Play with some of your favorite homemade dips. Check the gourmet section in your grocery store for tapenades, spreads and nicer condiments
- Cut some sort of garnish for your dishes. It may be chopped parsley, cilantro or green onions but it really makes a dish stand out on the table
Speaking of wings, Shane graciously shared a recipe that's been a hit at Ocean. You can't really go wrong with wings, can you?
Grilled party wings – Mahogany Style with Sage Bleu cheese sauce
Feeds 4-6 people
- Rinse about 3lbs of chicken wings in colander under running water
- Shake colander the pat dry wings using paper towel.
- 1&1/2 cups soybean oil
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon ginger powder
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Sambal Chili paste
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Combine all ingredients in blender and blend on high until ingredients are emulsified together.
- Pour marinade over chicken wings and toss to coat wings evenly. Let sit minimum 1/2 hours.
- Grill wings on hot grill turning every 5 minutes (to make sure all sides are cooked through) until wings are cooked thoroughly.
Mahogany Sauce (this is where you can control the heat)
- 1 cup Oyster Sauce (you can find this in the Asian foods section of your grocery store)
- 1/2 cup Sambal Chili paste (also in Asian foods section)
- 1/4lb melted butter
- Melt butter in small sauce pan being careful not to boil.
- Add butter, Sambal and Oyster sauce in medium mixing bowl. Blend until dark and smooth.
- Toss grilled chicken wings in bowl making sure Mahogany sauce coats wings evenly.
- Dip in Sage Bleu (recipe is below) and enjoy!!!
Sage Bleu cheese dipping sauce
Add into food processor –
- 3 cups mayo
- 2 tablespoons Dijon
- 2 tablespoons garlic
Add into food processor while running –
- ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
- Squirt lemon juice
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar
- 2 shots sesame oil
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- Fresh chopped sage
- 1/2 – 1 cup Bleu cheese (depending on your love for stinky cheese)
Blend again and enjoy!