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Top 20 Tuesdays: Tailgate Foods

By Sam Jessee | June 21
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A Top 20 List by the Scribes of Saturday

We all love meaningless lists. And if you've been on Twitter dot com recently, you've seen quite a few college football related lists that seem, well, random.

In order to bring some more thought into the ancient art of list making, we compiled top 20 lists from various Scribes of Saturday to create a comprehensive Sons of Saturday Top 20 list.

We'll have a new list every other Tuesday this summer in preparation for the football season!

In honor of summertime and weekend BBQ's, we've put together our list of the Top 20 tailgate foods. Want to share your list? Tweet it at us at @SonsOfSatVT and tell us why our list is stupid and wrong!

We'll rank starting at #20 and work our way to #1. Comments are from SOS team members and friends of the pod.

#20 - Chicken & Waffles


"Filling for those noon games. Little bit of breakfast with a little bit of lunch."

"A brunch time delicacy in the south. The ultimate sweet and savory dish that's perfect for noon kickoffs."

#19 - Jalepeno Poppers


"I love some good spice in my food, and jalapenos provide just the right amount of kick. Stuff them with some cheese, wrap them in bacon, throw them on the grill and you've got yourself a little taste of Heaven."

#18 - Beef Brisket


"Gotta be dedicated to the game in order to smoke a good brisket in the parking lot or transport it and keep it fresh, but if you can you have a melt in your mouth dish."

#17 - Leftover Thanksgiving


"The Friday/Saturday after thanksgiving is one of the best food days in the American calendar. If you can pack up leftovers and reheat at the tailgate, you'll have a meal fit for a king. Make it into a sandwich or just relive the holiday with a crowded plate."

#16 - Pimento Cheese


"Good as a dip, good on sandwiches, good on a burger....what more can I say"

"Pimento cheese is a Southern staple, and it belongs at every tailgate."

#15 - Tacos / Fajitas


"Another one that needs some creativity, but if your setup is right you can have a pretty awesome spread going."

"Another opportunity for the grillmaster to flex their muscles, tacos can be a great option as the centerpiece for a tailgate."

#14 - Brownies


"The pinnacle of tailgate desserts. Brownies are perfect for that extra little sugar rush as you get ready to head into the stadium."

#13 - Ribs


"Super messy, but if you can get the right setup for some fresh smoked ribs your tailgate enters a top tier status in your parking lot."

#12 - Sub Sandwiches


"Extra points for Sub Station II in Blacksburg"

"Subs are definitely a sign that no one felt like cooking this week, but they still get the job done. Just make sure they come from Sub Station II."

"Kinda lame, but can be an easy way to feed a crowd. Sub Station II in Blacksburg is a staple though."

#11 - Chips & Dip

Avocado Foot Field 1

"It feels healthy when it's not. Can also get cold very quickly. Still slaps. Guacamole is a huge W. A good salsa can be just as addicting."

"Another classic dip option is guacamole. It's best paired with tortilla chips. Just be careful to not leave it sitting out too long, it can go brown in a hurry!"

#10 - Mac & Cheese

Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese Slow Cooker Photo Picture Recipe 1

"...a crock pot with Mac and cheese can warm up any cold Saturday."

"A crock pot of that can be a side to any meal"

"Should this classic side be rated higher? Maybe. But for me, the mac and cheese has to be made just right to make me want to eat it. Keep your Panera shells and cheese away from me."

#9 - Chicken Salad

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"Great on a sandwich or with some crackers, but must be homemade or from Ukrop's in Richmond"

"Looking for something reliable? Chicken salad is just what you need. Will it blow your tastebuds away? Absolutely not. But you know you can always count on it being there and satisfying your pallate."

#8 - Chili

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"Nothings warms up a cold day like chili. Your hands also don't get messy, which is huge when you're trying to shake hands and play cornhole."

"Nothing warms the soul on a cold November day quite like a good bowl of chili."

"My husband made me put this in here so that is why I ranked it at #20....."

#7 - Ham Biscuits

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"A couple slices of country ham and some White House rolls is a simplistic southern pleasure."

"A true classic here; but be sure to use country ham for that extra saltiness!"

#6 - Buffalo Chicken Dip


"The ultimate party side that you eat so much of it becomes it's own meal."

"If you're looking for a good blend of spicy and creamy flavors with some meat, buff chick dip is the perfect option."

"Edible crack."

#5 - Chicken Wings


"They go hand in hand with football. Issue is they are really messy and get cold quickly, but they just scream 'football food'."

"The cornerstone of any tailgate - and any sporting event viewing, for that matter. May I suggest coating your wings in Old Bay Hot Sauce?"

#4 - Burgers

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"What I love most about burgers is their customizability. Put whatever toppings you want on your burger because this is America!"

"The ability for everyone to put their own toppings makes it ideals for larger tailgates. Also goes great any side dish."

#3 - Bratwursts / Hot Dogs

Grilled Beer Brats

"Some may choose hot dogs here as their wiener of choice, but I am more of a brat guy myself. They're bigger and more flavorful. Put some spicy or Dijon mustard on them and you've reached the pinnacle of snackage."

"Nothing gourmet about it, but it's so easy and you can customize them in any way."

"Cooked on that little Coleman Stove that all true football fans have"

#2 - Pulled Pork BBQ

"Nothing on this earth is more American than a hot pulled pork sandwich."

"...when your friend rolls up with the Traeger grill for smoking, you know you've got a real tailgate on your hands. Just keep that North Carolina vinegar sauce as far away as possible."

"It's a one stop shop when you pick it up because you can get all your sides and it's minimal clean up"

"No vinegar sauce when you play the North Carolina schools...sorry I don't make the rules."


#1 - Fried Chicken

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"What's football without fried chicken?!"

"It's greasy, it's rich in protein, tastes great in the heat and the cold, and it goes great with beer. It's everything you want in a tailgating food"

"There is nothing like rolling into the tailgate and seeing a bucket of fried chicken. No matter what food you're into, any good-hearted American can enjoy a piece of fried chicken."

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I'm a born and raised Hokie. My first game in Lane Stadium was in September of 1997 when Tech stomped Big East rival Syracuse 31-3. 

I was born and raised in Richmond, VA, where I developed a passion for local cooking, scenic nature, and everything Orange and Maroon. I graduated from Tech with a degree in Finance in 2019 and received my Master's in Data Analytics in 2021. I'm a certified analytics nerd with a passion for data visualization and modeling, which fuels much of my work.

I joined the Sons team in 2020, and now act as the Website Content Manager overseeing all online content and mentoring our talented tea of writers. I also co-host the Two Deep podcast with Pete B.

I currently work in Virginia Beach, VA, as a data and financial analyst for LifeNet Health, a biotech and organ transplant non-profit.

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