Designing a game day watch party for Us, is having to tap into our “Greek” days and remember what tailgating for our college games were like.
Yes, ladies, while we like to make everything “cute” and “colorful,” it’s pretty much lost on the opposite gender.
What men want on Super Bowl Sunday is ice cold beer, hot food and plenty of it. Don’t skimp on the napkins, either.
With the end of the year around the corner, we came up with our own masculine game day-themed gathering. Keeping it simple in décor and within the menu will make for a great time and keep you, the host, free to enjoy the game too! Now, who doesn’t want that?!
Looking back into our college years, Raul and I found that what we enjoyed the most at tail-gates and football games was the accessibility to a cold beverage and hot foods. The streamers, balloons and favors- unless they were shot glasses or koozies, were pretty much forgotten.
With that in mind we chose to create a buffet-style burger and hot dog bar. Where each guest can quickly and easily craft their own delicious treat and the possibilities are endless!
To keep everyone enjoying themselves and dismiss the need for clean up on cups and bottles, we find it’s best to reach out to our go-to party liquor vendor and have a keg delivered.
We want to keep the decorations easy and fun by sticking to a couple of novelty items and coordinating within the same color palette. No one says it can’t be an attractive party!
First things first, choose a menu that can be pre-made or put together quickly the day of. Hot dogs and hamburgers are a quick way to feed the boys and pretty much a go-to. Send out an e-vite asking guests to wear their favorite team jersey or colors and pick a designated driver.
Here’s how we make this favorite our own!
Make the hamburger patties from scratch the day before using fresh ground 80/20 chuck from your local grocery. Consider that each adult male guest will consume two (before cooking weight) half pound burgers. This will come in handy when making your purchase at the grocery store for meat and buns.
As for hot dogs, serve a sausage rather than a frankfurter or wiener. Why do we go out of our way to make a delectable homemade burger but serve a rather tasteless and all-too-simple wiener?
In our family, Raul is the chef and the grill master. Here’s our bratwurst sausage sandwich, aka, “hot dog.” Enjoy!
Raul’s Beer-Braised Brats (makes 20)
20 uncooked bratwurst links
1/2 cup butter
2 large onion, halved and cut into thin slices
4 bottles (12-ounce size) dark German beer of your choice
4 tbsp packed brown sugar
4 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp caraway seeds
2 tsp dried thyme, crushed
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
20 hoagie buns, bratwurst buns or other crusty rolls, split and toasted
Pierce brats with fork. Place brats on grill rack over drip pan. You’ll want to grill them over a medium heat and cover; grill approx. 20 to 30 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling time. If you’re using an instant-read thermometer they’re fully cooked when inserted into bratwurst and registers approximately 160°.
In a Dutch oven, melt butter. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Add the dark German beer of your choice, brown sugar, vinegar, caraway seeds, thyme and Worcestershire. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Place brats in beer mixture; keep warm until serving time.
Use a chafing dish set to keep the sausages and the off-the-grill hamburgers hot and ready to self-serve. You’ll want 3 chafing dish set-up’s, one for the sausages, one for the hamburger patties and a third for the toasted buns.
To keep the entertaining as stress-free as possible, set up your food as a buffet where each guest can serve themselves throughout the game. You will want to keep the chafing dish set-up’s on one table with enough serving utensils for a few people to serve themselves at one time.
On a second buffet-style table, is where you’ll want to set up your condiment bar for all-things-toppings, as well as, assorted chips and dips. What guy doesn’t love a good guacamole and zesty salsa? Check out Raul’s quick and easy recipes below. Click to Jump
The budget-friendly thing about serving hamburgers and hot dogs, is also that you can offer a few out of the bottle condiments- such as spicy mustards and mayonnaise, as well as some assorted cheeses and grilled veggies- such as onions and a medley of peppers, that in turn your guests can use to top either choice.
When setting up the condiment burger and hot dog bar, you will need to place the items toward the back of the table- the ones further from reach, on a pedestal. Whether it’s a serving tray or serving dish, you will want to elevate any condiments or foods that are further from reach to make it easier for your guests to serve them. We use cake stands or cupcake stands to display and elevate. This is a key take-away for any time you are hosting buffet-style.
Set up the bottled and jarred condiments on one side and the appropriate serving spoons for each, as necessary. Free up commotion around the table during half time by double-exposing the condiments on your table. Set up the same toppings on the left, as on the right side of your condiment bar and remember to have more plates here too!
One thing you will want to spruce on is having plenty of luncheon-sized napkins. Double-expose these too! Place them next to the plates and on both your food tables. You’re guests will be happy you did!
When hosting a casual event where the guests will be drinking more beer than usual, such as a game day watch party, purchasing a keg is actually a better buy and clean up is much simpler than picking up bottles and cans throughout the event.
A keg of Yuengling Traditional Lager we found is comparably priced at about $83.99 plus tax at our local liquor store. Most vendors require a refundable deposit and do deliver and pick up. A separate vendor of ours delivers/picks up and even taps the keg before leaving, puts it in a container and includes 30lbs of ice with your purchase. Their delivery in Miami-Dade is free.
Here’s the math: A keg, also called a “half barrel” provides approximately 165 cups (12oz). Consider that from beginning to end of the party; your male guest will consume approximately 5-12oz cups of beer. Therefore, one keg will cover a guest list of approximately 33 adults (male). A 12oz bottle-12 pack, our choice in this example, Yuengling is $9.49 plus tax. To obtain the same 165- 12oz servings you would need to fill your shopping carts with 14- twelve packs. (13.75- 12pks to be exact). That’s about $133 plus tax versus about $84 plus tax. The keg is a steal! Yes there is a minimal tap rental fee and refundable deposit. But we promise that the headache-free self-serving beer will allow everyone to enjoy the festivities! (source: http://beer.wikia.com/wiki/Keg)
Place the tapped keg at the end of the condiment bar table and place plenty of cups within reach. Use an aluminum or plastic party tub filled with ice to hold soda, water and juice- for the kids if you’re event is a family one. You will want to remember to offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages to keep your guests hydrated. On that note, keep your guests safety in mind when they’re getting ready to drive home if they’ve been drinking alcohol. We don’t condone drinking and driving.
Now for the decorations…
As a host, if you are committing to the game day motif or have chosen to support a favorite team, than visit your local party supplies store and pick up official NFL plates, napkins, serving ware and coordinating cutlery.
For an easy and fun design, we chose green football turf-printed vinyl table covers for both buffet tables and two large football inspired “Party Zone” signs to hang up on the wall behind each table. Bring it all together with color coordinating luncheon and beverage napkins, plates, plastic beer cups, utensils and party beverage tubs. You choose the color!
Choosing football shaped serving trays or dip & chip bowls are an extra novelty touch! Print your own football game inspired tented place cards for each condiment. Going all out? Grab a few miniature football helmets, a permanent marker and your best handwriting and write out what each topping or dip is for your guests to know.
The savvy DIY host knows to incorporate color coordinating elements within their tablescape so that you may re-use or re-purpose this servingware and beverage dispensers/tubs at another celebration.
If you choose to serve liquor, as well as, beer you will want a separate area or table to place the liquor bottles, beverage napkins and extra tumblers. Use a color-coordinating tablecover and if you choose, print your own fun sports-inspired labels for each bottle. You can also use larger beverage dispensers and offer a “signature game day punch” or sangria and keep the added expense of hard liquor to a minimum.
So now you are ready to host your own amazing game day watch party!
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Raul’s Authentic Guacamole
4 ripe Hass avocados
½ of a medium-sized yellow sweet onion, finely diced
3 to 4 garlic cloves, finely diced (add the fourth if you like it “zestier”)
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1 to 3 Serrano peppers, finely diced (add more than one, for your choice of “heat”)
2 tbsp of Olive oil
The juice of one lime
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Mash the avocado and add the diced ingredients, olive oil, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. As for the Serrano peppers, add one to begin with, taste and then decide if you want to add another Serrano pepper. YUM!
Raul’s Authentic Hot Salsa
6 ripe plum tomatoes
1 medium yellow sweet onion
4 garlic cloves
4 Serrano peppers
2 tbsp of Olive oil
The juice of one lime
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Boil all the ingredients in a pot on the stove and allow to boil until the tomatoes burst. Place the boiled ingredients in a food processor and coarsely chop. Stream in the olive oil and then squeeze in the lime juice. Salt and Pepper, to taste. ENJOY! Note: Depending on how “chunky” you would like the Salsa is how long you will allow the ingredients in the food processor.