Even if you don’t care for the sport, you might — just might! — enjoy its foods. To help you kick off the 2018 season, we’ve curated a team-and-recipe pairing. Some are admittedly a stretch (go ahead, @ us anyway), but remember the goal here is to cook some tasty food and enjoy it with friends and family while cheering on your favorite team from the front row, the parking lot or your couch.
Happy eating, sports fans!
Arizona Cardinals: If a trip to the Phoenix restaurant isn’t in the cards, then make Pizzeria Bianco’s Rosa Pizza at home. Or if you’re from St. Louis, still holding a grudge, and want to party like it’s 1975, then make St. Louis-Style Pizza (pictured above).
Baltimore Ravens: George’s Crab Dip (above) features the perfect Maryland duo of crab and Old Bay. If hot dogs are more your style, go for Jimmy Jester’s Cider Rocks Dogs — the recipe comes from a Ravens fan who uses a turkey baster with a needle to inject a mixture of apple cider, beer and steak seasoning into hot dogs. Now that’s dedication.
Buffalo Bills: Buffalo Wing Burgers pack the classic dish’s flavor between two buns. The recipe comes from Carla Hall’s 2012 cookbook, “Cooking With Love.” Buffalo Chicken Macaroni and Cheese takes things in a slightly more carb-centric direction, and we’re here for it.
Carolina Panthers: The vinegar-based North Carolina Piedmont Slaw is the side dish of choice in the North Carolina Piedmont. Pair it with some Slow-Cooked South Carolina Pulled Pork, and you’ll be transported to the Carolinas.
Chicago Bears: Chicago Rib Tips, seasoned with brown sugar, salt, chili powder and a few other spices, turn meltingly tender after several hours in a grill. If that’s too much to wait for, BLT Hot Dogs are a quicker and similarly messy option.
Cincinnati Bengals: Our Cincinnati Chili Over Spaghetti Squash is healthful, but you don’t have to tell anyone. (Yes, you can serve the chili over wheat-based spaghetti; but this makes a nice gluten-free alternative.)
Cleveland Browns: Even if you hate Cleveland, you would like the Lake Erie Monster; it’s got crispy beer-battered fish fillets with gooey cheese and a spicy jalapeño-spiked tartar sauce. That’s reason for optimism. Kind of like a winless season. Nowhere to go but up!
Dallas Cowboys: Enchiladas With Chili Gravy is Tex-Mex at its greasy, cheesy finest. The recipe does require some time commitment, though; for the weekends you’re feeling a bit lazier, make a batch of Soft Cheese Tacos. You’ll have leftover queso, which is almost never a bad thing.
Denver Broncos: Brown Sugar-Chili Flank Steak would even satisfy a diner at Elway’s, we reckon. If you’ve got a stash of Colorado green chiles around, use them in Everybody’s Chili Verde. Or get the best of both steak and chili worlds by making a batch of Sirloin and Black Bean Chili — it’s ready in a mere 40 minutes but does benefit from an overnight rest in the refrigerator.
Green Bay Packers: Find some cheese curds and fry them. No curds? American Dip Grilled Cheese would hit the spot on a cold game-day afternoon, too. Or do as barbecue enthusiasts in Wisconsin do and make Smoke-Roasted Bratwurst.
Houston Texans: Texas Smoked Brisket would be ideal, but if you’ve got no time or inclination (we’re lazy on Sundays, too), Greek Feta Corn Bread — from chef William Wright of Helen Greek Food in Houston — makes a fine accompaniment to Smoky Texas Chili.
Jacksonville Jaguars: When in or dreaming of Florida, eat seafood. Proof’s Crispy Shrimp Burger — topped with pickled daikon radish and carrots, plus a red chile mayo — is a good choice that may make watching Blake Bortles play a little less of an emotional roller coaster. Just sayin’.
Kansas City Chiefs: Classic Barbecue Chicken is drenched in Kansas City-Style Barbecue Sauce, just the way we like it. A meatless option: Jackknife Sandwiches, adapted from a recipe provided by Char Bar Smoked Meats & Amusements in Kansas City, Mo.
Los Angeles Rams: Now that you’re all adjusted to the new surroundings, make a batch of Pozole Verde With Clams from Rustic Canyon Wine Bar in Santa Monica. Or whip up some Tostadas With Chorizo, Tangy Guacamole and Fresh Cheese.
Los Angeles Chargers: Baja Fish Tacos — Sure, they’re in Los Angeles now, but the fans they left behind (did they leave all their fans behind?) know a good fish taco when they see it.
New Orleans Saints: Go for a po’ boy (either oyster or veggie) or make a batch of Creole-Spiced Fresh Corn and Crab Soup. Red Beans and Rice is another option, and this version from David Guas is ready in just about 40 minutes.
New York Giants: Best-of Bagels, if you’re not in New York (because your team plays across the river) and can’t get your hands on the precious items, or Pastrami Hash, if you’re too lazy to make bagels.
New York Jets: Sure, New York’s in the name, but your squad plays in Jersey, too. So make a New Jersey Sloppy Joe: A double-decker with two meats, Swiss cheese, coleslaw and Russian dressing on rye bread.
Oakland Raiders: These Red Shrimp Enchiladas come together on the stove top. Or strap on those spiky shoulder pads and go all out with Smashed and Loaded Sweet Potatoes With Coconut Bacon. Change is hard, we know, but perhaps a toast in the form of a Champagne Cocktail will help you embrace the impending move to Vegas.
Philadelphia Eagles: Make a hoagie for you and a friend, or a tomato pie for a larger gathering. If you really want to celebrate your championship victory, you could make Salted Tahini Doughnuts. They kinda look like Super Bowl rings, right?
Pittsburgh Steelers: Pittsburgh’s full of great food, but come football season, we’re drawn to hearty, carb-filled fare. (Which is probably obvious, sorry.) Family-Style Pierogi are a fun game-day activity if you’re more into food and less into the game; or make Fusilli With Polish Sausage, Potatoes and Caramelized Onions for a pierogi-like flavor without the assembly line strategy. Or, you know, just make anything and put fries on it. (Dear Pittsburghers: This is not a diss! We love fries, too!)
Seattle Seahawks: Washington State Hot Dogs (above) is a crowd-pleasing bake of apples, mustard and good-quality (or your favorite) hot dogs, all under a melted cheesy topping.
Tennessee Titans: Classic Fried Chicken nods toward the hot stuff from Nashville with some hot sauce in the buttermilk brine. (But it’s not as spicy as the real stuff, we know.) Serve it with Quick Pickled Cucumbers.
Washington Redskins: A vat of Meats and Foods Chili (above) is tasty on its own, topped with corn chips or ladled over half-smokes. Virginia Peanut Soup will warm you right up on chilly days, too. This 30-Minute Mole is a versatile thing to have on hand, for a dip with chips or to pour on meat and roasted veggies. Or you could always make wings and pour Mumbo sauce on them.
More from Voraciously: