3 Standout recipes for your next tailgate

Sep 8, 2014 at 11:07 a.m. ET

Tailgating food is fun. Period. There's not much more to it. Or is there? After a few touchdowns and a couple beers, "What are you eating?" isn't as important as "Who's winning?" but it doesn't have to take second stage to the game.

Graduate from stale chips, pre-ordered trays of sandwiches or mayo-soaked salads and dips with these restaurant-style recipes that have more pizzazz than that hottie's touchdown dance.

Bacon wrapped dates with fried rosemary

Makes 24 bites

I've never met anyone who didn't love bacon wrapped dates. Also known as "devils on horseback" probably because they travel as quickly as that from the plate to your mouth.

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bunch rosemary
  • 24 dates, whole and pitted
  • 1 cup blue cheese
  • 12 slices of bacon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Arrange a cooling rack over a sheet tray to catch excess bacon drippings.

In a high-sided sauce pan, heat vegetable oil over medium heat. In batches, fry sprigs of rosemary, about 30 seconds per sprig. Remove from hot oil and place on paper towel to drain excess oil.

Make a slit in each date and stuff each with about 1/2 teaspoon of blue cheese and 2-3 sprigs of rosemary. Using 1/2 slice of bacon, tuck bacon inside the slit and wrap around the date. Repeat for all dates. Place on baking sheet and cook until crispy and bacon is cooked through.

Serve warm.

Daisy Duke deviled eggs

Makes 24 eggs

Old(er) eggs make for easier peeling. But don't worry about being perfect, these deviled eggs are figure-friendly and perfect for the lingering days of summer, and an outfit of Daisy Dukes and your favorite football jersey.

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds

In a large pot lay eggs along the bottom, do not stack; they should be in a single layer. Cover eggs with cold water so that the water is 1 inch above eggs. Bring to a simmer. When the water begins to simmer, set a timer for 4 minutes. Remove eggs from hot water and place in an ice bath to cool slightly. While warm, remove peels of the eggs and cut in half.

Place yolks in one bowl. Add mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, hot sauce and sea salt; mix until the eggs are smooth and homogeneous. Scoop into a pastry bag and pipe into eggs. Top with sesame seeds.

Buffalo wings

Photo credit: John E. Kelly/Getty Images

Makes 1 dozen wings

Unfortunately (or fortunately) you can't do football without wings. This recipe will prove that you never knew it was this easy to make your own wings.

  • 1 quart vegetable oil
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 pound chicken wings
  • 1 cup buffalo sauce

Heat oil to 365 degrees F in a high-sided pot. In a small bowl combine flour and salt. Toss wings in flour. When oil is at temperature add wings, a few at a time, working in batches until they are brown and cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F. Remove from oil and toss in buffalo sauce.

Serve warm.

Photo credit: Carolyn M. Stalnaker @CaresKitchen/Getty Images