In case you haven’t heard, the forecast for Sunday is “super” — as in “Super Bowl.” That’s right the 53rd incarnation (that’s LIII, for the Roman numeral fans) will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in Georgia’s very own Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
And while the New England Patriots and the (hotly contested) L.A. Rams square off on the gridiron, many in the Golden Isles will be hosting their own gatherings to celebrate the championship — and of course, the commercials that go along with it.
When it comes to a football party, the spread presented goes a long way toward scoring big points with guests. The perfect game plan often includes a hodgepodge of tried and true favorites along with some healthier options for those who have dietary restrictions or who are simply trying to watch their waistline. The offerings will likely include staples like chicken wings and burgers. But tossing in fruits, veggies or even a healthy twist on a favorite dip recipe are all good options. Here are a few tips from local chefs who are experts on Super Bowl favs:
• Brandon Murphy, cook and wing specialist at Tipsy McSways in downtown Brunswick.
Murphy can be found whipping up wings at the downtown hot spot any day of the week.
Certainly, however, Super Bowl Sunday is one of those occasions where wings are a must for most.
He has a few tips and tricks to ensure his never disappoint. First and foremost, he says, it’s all about freshness and that applies to everything from the sauces to the chicken itself.
“The key is to use fresh ingredients. We make all our sauces from scratch ... using fresh jalapeños and fresh lemon juice for the lemon pepper,” he said.
Murphy opts for larger wings instead of the smaller drummettes and marinates them for several hours — four to six — before cooking them up. That, he says, allows the meat to soak up the seasoning and max out the flavor.
His favorite recipe is a simple one — a little olive oil, whatever seasoning salt that’s preferred, a little Old Bay, salt and pepper. Let it marinate for a couple of hours and you’re good to go.
At Tipsy’s, Murphy partly cooks the wings before they are ordered, then finishes frying them when a customer puts in an order. That can be one way for hosts to prep food in the hours before a party.
“It only takes about three or four minutes in the fryer to finish them up,” Murphy noted.
• David Carrier, chef and owner of Certified Burger on St. Simons Island.
Carrier has made burgers his primary business and it’s easy to see why. He understands the way flavor and freshness come together to create the best combination for this tailgate tradition.
Carrier always stresses that there are two main factors when it comes to cooking up the best burgers — quality of beef and how it is ground. He prefers to grind the meat used at the restaurant himself.
“You really only want to grind it once. A lot of supermarkets do it two or three times and what you can end up with is something that is texturally more homogenous ... like deli meat,” he said.
Carrier also prefers cooking the meat over an extremely hot fire using a cast iron griddle. And since this Super Bowl is expected to be rather chilly, Carrier suggest other extras to warm things up.
“The cold weather cries patty melt to me. The addition of sautéed mushrooms sauerkraut and Swiss cheese to a burger sandwiched between two toasted pieces of rye bread is heavenly,” he said.
“I also like to keep chili on hand during the cold weather months. Adding a thick chili with a few slices of cheddar cheese to a burger is a Super Bowl must.”
• Sarah Davidson, chef and owner of Simple Meals on St. Simons Island.
As a local voice of healthy eating, Davidson encourages hosts and hostesses to find ways to incorporate some twists on traditional options as a way to give guests an “out,” so to speak.
“Super Bowl parties typically have an assortment of chips, dips, meats, and other “handy” items that are easy to munch and grab throughout the night while cheering and high fiving,” she said. “All of these things can be done in a way that treats yourself well and does not leave you out of the party feelings.”
While Davidson and her family enjoy the standard chips and dip, she knows that processed cheese is loaded with extra fat and chemicals.
Instead, she whips up a non-cheese dip that even those who aren’t focuses on fitness will enjoy.
“(You can) add cooked seasoned, ground beef, or chorizo, as well as a can of Rotel. Spice it up with additional hot sauces, or fresh homemade salsa ... serve with your favorite chip or trade out the chips for a vegetable such as a cucumber or zucchini slice,” she said.
“We have served this as ‘Not cho’ cheese dip to friends who would not have known the difference. This sauce turns out a wonderful yellow color and with all of the versatility of using this as your base you will certainly be winning at the Super Bowl party.”
Not Cho, Cheese Sauce
Yields five cups
2 cups sweet potatoes
2 cups water
1 ¼ cup onion, diced sweet onions work best
1 cup carrots, diced
½ T Dijon Mustard
1 T coconut oil, for pan
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ t cayenne pepper (add more if you like it spicy)
¼ t paprika
8 T nutritional yeast
Nutritional yeast is found locally at a health food store.
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: additional taco seasoning for a more Mexican flavor.
In a large sauce pan, place onions and sautéed for 4-5 minutes, then add in potatoes, carrots, and water and boil for 15 minutes or until carrots and potatoes are soft.
Pour entire contents into a blender including the water.
Add all remaining ingredients and blend on high for 5 minutes until smooth and creamy.