Gearing Up For Sunday’s Big Game

It’s almost time to watch the Super Bowl again and honestly, for me, its all about food and friends.  I will be preparing chicken wings and beef chili, two of my wife’s favorite foods for watching football. (I have to say I have enjoyed this meal way too many times this winter – mainly because my wife graduated from Auburn University, and well, they had a pretty good year).  I am not sure if there is a sport that is surrounded by food as much as football (unless you consider competitive hot dog eating a sport).  So, please let us know what your go-to game dishes & drinks are for this weekend’s festivities.

Keep your eyes open for my chicken wings and chili recipes. I plan to make both and enjoy Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Chardonnay with the wings and Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Zinfandel with the chili.


I made a couple of phone calls this week and was able to get through to one of the chefs behind the stove for Pittsburgh.  I found out that Cory Hayes, the executive chef of the Pittsburgh Steelers,  is from the south and specializes in Southern cuisine as well as local Pittsburgh cuisine.  Their culinary team likes to use local farmers and purveyors when available and also works with a nutritionist to create healthy, yet substantial, meals.

He also told me that the players really love their proteins, but prior to a big game they like to load up on carbs as well.  Some of their favorite foods include roasted prime rib, roast chicken, sausages, salami, chicken wings and collard greens.  I wonder if they would enjoy my Brazilian–style collard greens.


There is a bit of a rivalry going on in the kitchen this year.  We have two big football fans, one is Chef Eric from Pittsburgh, and the other is Chef Joe Money from Wisconsin, who is new to our line up.  I have asked the guys to fill us in on some of their state’s most famous dishes and what they will be enjoying for their big day.  – Justin


Go Pittsburgh!

I grew up in Pittsburgh, the City of Champions.  We call it “da burg” and this blue collar city loves its sports.  From the Steelers to the Penguins fans, everyone in town has black & gold running through their veins.  The quirky food and the devoted fans are just a couple examples of what gives this amazing city its character.

I can’t wait to see Pittsburgh play Green Bay on Sunday.  I’m a little sad that I won’t be back home watching the game with my family and friends; however, if my guys win their 7th championship, it will more than make up for it!

At our party here in Wine Country, I plan to serve some of my favorite traditional Pittsburgh foods paired with an assortment of Kendall-Jackson wines and Iron City beer.

  • Pierogies – These delicious fried dumplings are traditionally stuffed with potato and cheese.  My mom buys them from Pierogies Plus and even served them at my sister’s wedding reception.  I also love Mrs. T’s Pierogies.  Their pierogies come frozen and just need to be dropped in boiling water and then sautéed with butter and onions.  Mrs. T’s are what they serve at Heinz Field.
  • Primanti Bros. sandwich – This sandwich consisting of meat, fries and coleslaw served on Mancini’s bread can be re-created at home.  It’s a Pittsburgh classic.
  • Chipped ham “sammich” – Ham sliced very thinly, known as Pittsburgh Style, is barbequed and then served on a hamburger bun.


  • Utz chips and pretzels – No tailgate party is complete without an assortment of these addicting chips and pretzels.


Go Green Bay!


I grew up in Madison, Wisconsin (a.k.a. Mad Town).  I wish I could be home for the Big Game in our special little college town – our fans always make game day so great!  There isn’t much a Packers fan won’t go through for a good game, considering the temperatures are anywhere between -5˚F and -20˚F during football season and Lambeau Field is very open to the elements.  This Sunday, the streets will be empty while friends and family are glued to the game sporting lots of gold & green.  And don’t forget the cheese head hats…I love those things!

My official Cheese Head menu for Sunday will definitely include fried cheese curds (the perfect snack while watching the game) and bratwursts from my favorite butcher served with sauerkraut and spicy Wisconsin mustard on the side.

Homemade Fried Wisconsin Cheese Curds
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 1 minute


  • 1 quart peanut oil
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup corn starch
  • 1 cup rice flour, plus a little extra for dredging
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2½ cups beer
  • 1 lb. Wisconsin cheese curds


  1. In a large pot, add the frying oil and bring to 350˚F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.  Add the beer and whisk until combined.
  3. Dredge the curds in rice flour first and then the batter.
  4. Carefully place them in the hot oil and cook for 1 minute or until golden brown.
  5. Drain on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.