updated 01/02/2013 AT 5:00 PM ET
•originally published 01/02/2013 AT 5:30 PM ET
The Wisconsin Badgers may have lost the Rose Bowl to the Stanford Cardinal’s 20-14, but Badger fan Chao Qi had a winning tailgate moment before the game even kicked off!
Qi’s Badger Brats and Cheese Curds were crowned “Tastiest Tailgate Mess” by Travel Channel’s Man v. Food Nation host Adam Richman and a panel of judges, and he takes home a year’s supply of Bounty Select-A-Size paper towels for all his tasty messes. Want to make his brats? Check out his recipe below for your next tailgate or Super Bowl party.
And, with the big NFL finale only a month away, Richman offered up his take on the best of tailgating.
“There was a big range of tailgate styles at the Rose Bowl, everything from champagne and brie to traditional foods like burgers, hot dogs and sausages, to keg stands. There were people with campers and full-on grills, and others kept it more simple.”
“My favorite tailgate foods are creative, portable and utensil free. For example, Swedish meatballs can be pre-cooked at home and warmed on the grill with sauce. Try serving them in a paper cone and stick a toothpick in one. Now you have a portable hands-free food served in a biodegradable container,” Richman adds.
Don’t be limited by the grill. The grill is a great heat source and offers the option for more than just grilling. For example, you can put a pot or pan on the grill and use it for melting cheese, cooking vegetables, sauté and toasting. If you’re careful, you can even fry on a grill by putting a little oil in a pan.
Keep it clean. Garbage bags and paper towels are the two most forgotten items: Make sure to bring plenty of both.
Plan your menu. Prep work can be done the day before. For example, hamburger patties can be made and stacked between wax paper, chicken pre-cooked and vegetables chopped.
Winning Recipe: Badger Brats & Cheese Curds
Cook brats in stew of beer, butter and diced onions. Simmer them on medium heat for about 15 minutes.
Grill for another 15 minutes or until brown.
Slice onions and sauté on grill.
Cheese curds: There really is no recipe. Pick out fresh curds at a local dairy, dip in batter and deep fry. But be careful, frying too long causes curds to become hard.
Layer into toasted buns, top with favorite condiments and enjoy. Go team!