Summer may not officially be here, but it’s hot in South Florida. Even in a typically hot part of the country, it seems that the weather has become scorching a bit early this year. And like every other sport that seems to be edging more and more to playing all year long, the NBA Championship Finals is now going on. We’re still watching basketball in June and we’re not too far from Major League Baseball’s All-Star break, which just seems a bit weird.
But what a Finals’ matchup we have this year! It’s great to have such a contrast in images between the two teams left standing. The wholesome, young, mid-western “innocence” of the Oklahoma City Thunder versus the evil empire of the Miami Heat. At least that seems to be how it’s playing out in all of the media. But down here, we don’t buy it. Through game 3, the Miami Heat lead the series 2-1, and the Heat is On, baby!
And what better way to enjoy the Heat wave, than a home tailgate party during the three game home stand. What’s on the menu? Glad you asked, because we’re bringing a little bit of heat there, as well. For the Game 3 gang we served:
- Le”Brat” James Bratwursts
- Championship “Onion” Rings with Chili Dipping Sauce
- Symphony Brownies
All of these menu items can be attributed to the tailgating expertise of the Paula Dean clan. They do know how to tailgate.
So, how’s this meal come together? First you start with the LeBrats.
- 6 bratwurst sausages
- 6 cups lager beer
- 2 large onions, sliced, divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red & 1 green bell pepper, cored and sliced
- Salt & freshly ground black pepper
- 6 bratwurst buns or hoagie rolls, split lengthwise
Prick the bratwurst all over with a fork. In a medium pot, combine the beer, bratwurst, and half the onions. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the remaining onions and the bell peppers. Cook about 15 minutes or until soft, tossing occasionally.
Add the bratwurst to the skillet in the last 5 minutes of cooking to lightly brown. Season with salt and black pepper.
To serve, spread each bun with mustard, if desired. Fill each bun with a brat. Top with sautéed peppers and onions.
CHAMPIONSHIP ONION RINGS with CHILI DIPPING SAUCE
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons chili sauce
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 medium Vidalia onions
- 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Vegetable oil, for deep frying
Pour the oil into a Dutch oven or deep fryer. Preheat oil to 360 degrees F.
To make the chili sauce, combine the mayonnaise, chili sauce, chili powder, and cayenne in a small bowl and stir well. Cover and chill until serving time.
For the onion rings, slice the onions into very thin rings and separate the rings. Spread them out and sprinkle with seasoned salt. Place the flour in a re-sealable plastic bag. Put the onion rings, in batches, in the bag, close tightly, and shake until the onion rings are coated.
Fry the onion rings in batches for 3 to 4 minutes, until they are brown and crispy. Remove with tongs and drain on paper towels.
Taste and season with salt. Serve with chili sauce.
- 1 package of your favorite brownie mix
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 3 (6-ounce) candy bars with almonds and toffee chips (recommended: Symphony brand)
Prepare the brownie mix according to package directions.
Line a 13 by 9-inch cake pan with aluminum foil (or use the “as seen on TV” Perfect Brownie Pan, like TailGator does) and spray with vegetable oil cooking spray. Spoon in half of the brownie batter and smooth with a spatula. Break the candy bar into it’s squares and place on top of the batter. Cover with the remaining batter.
Bake according to package directions. Let cool completely, then lift from the pan using the edges of the foil. This makes it easy to cut the brownies into squares. Or if you used the Perfect Brownie Pan, you’ll have perfectly sliced brownies with one small square of candy bar within each brownie!
So, when the Heat are out on a fast break and a south beach dunk raises the temperature in the arena, you can be dunking a Championship Onion Ring into the chili sauce dip. It’s close to the same thing, isn’t it?