Chattanooga's own Usher Raymond will be performing during halftime of Super Bowl LVIII's clash between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
And there are a few things you can whip up if you're planning on attending or hosting a Super Bowl party. Of course, almost every bar in town is going to be flooded with people, cheering, jeering, high-fiving, fighting and spilling beer on each other's favorite team's favorite player's jerseys.
I know HiFi Clyde's and Shady's Corner will be packed like a can of sardines, so will Southside Social and Mike's Hole in the Wall. However, since I have not one bit of sports fandom in me, I always prefer to dodge the real, die-hard fans and partake in the Super Bowl festivities at somebody's home, where the vibe always seem to be a lot more casual.
Of course, it's mandatory to come bearing provisions. I usually arrive with a suitcase (24 cans) of Pabst Blue Ribbon and an aluminum pan full of wings. Since I've spent the largest chunk of my working life inside a kitchen, this is always the prime moment to show off my gastronomical prowess. For my garlic Parmesan wings, I buy the finest Parmesan cheese and grate it myself along with mincing my own bulbs of garlic. For my classic Buffalo wings, I use a luxury butter (usually European-style) and Texas Pete brand hot sauce specifically (it's my North Carolina bias), and I'm not satisfied until the sauce is the "Nickelodeon orange" I've referenced in the past. I even make my blue cheese dressing from scratch, because blue cheese shaken or squirted out of a bottle infuriates me.
I love the idea of the potluck-style Super Bowl party. I know somebody's coming in lugging a Crock-Pot of meatballs. Somebody's going to have the chili they claim won first place at the local cook-off. Somebody will bring the beet and ricotta hummus they poached from Bon Appetit's website. There's always going to be that somebody who shows up with the ribs along with a 45-minute tutorial on how they made them. There's the person who doesn't know the difference between a tangerine and tambourine, so they just bring bags of potato chips and tubs of French onion dip or some guacamole if they're feeling adventurous. And there's always, always, always that one person who thinks that wrapping anything in bacon will get them over the hump (and it usually does).
It's always a toss up, and I love it that way.
So, whether you're planning on watching these modern day gladiators fight for the Lombardi Trophy, Usher, hopefully, singing "You Remind Me" at halftime or Taylor Swift cheering from the suite atop Allegiant Arena, here is trio of recipes from local food professionals that will make you look like a culinary genius (even if you're not).
Ting Ting jerk chicken wings from pitmaster Mark Franklin of Mama Montego's BBQ
The National Chicken Council estimates that Americans will eat 1.4 billion chicken wings during this year's Super Bowl, and here's your opportunity to contribute to those outlandishly high numbers. Like I mentioned in my A-Z guide of what to eat in Chattanooga, jerk chicken is the catalyst to my infatuation with Jamaican food. The spice from the all-important Scotch Bonnet peppers is all the more reason to keep drinking more and more beer.
1 tablespoon garlic powder
2 to 3 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon minced scotch bonnet
Soy sauce, lemon juice, 1 habanero pepper to my tasting
Mix everything together in a blender and rub it on the chicken. Let it marinate for a couple of hours.
Fire up the grill. Once grill is up to 325-350 degrees, move charcoal to one side until you have an offset (hot and cool side). Cook the chicken on the cool side to get the smoke to do the work for about 30-45 minutes, turning every 15 minutes. Once the chicken is to temperature (160-170 degrees), I sear on the hot side until the skin is crispy and dark to my liking.
Finally, once my wings are done, I add my special sauce glaze made from the ingredients above, barbecue sauce, maple syrup, and a bit of a special Jamaican beverage is the secret.
Pimento cheese deviled eggs with Sequatchie Cove Cumberland Cheese from chef Rebecca Barron of Alleia.
Lovingly dubbed "the pâté of the South," pimento cheese especially made from Sequatchie Cove's Cumberland Cheese catapults this finger food to legendary status. I've said it before: Deviled eggs are the only reason I've ever invested in a jar of smoked Hungarian paprika, but it's worth the investment. It doesn't have to be Hungarian, but you will need some to add that finishing touch.
Start by boiling your eggs. Either tap them or poke a small hole in them with a tack before they go in the water. They'll be much easier to peel. Also, eggs that are a few weeks old are easier to peel than fresh ones.
12 large eggs
Medium-large sized pot of water
2 tablespoons salt
Splash of white vinegar
Bring water, salt and vinegar to a boil and then lower the eggs in gently. Turn heat down just a smidgen. Boil gently for about 8-9 minutes, then place eggs in an ice bath to chill for about 10 minutes. Crack and peel them, cut in half and pop out the yolks. Place the whites in the fridge and mash the yolks with a whisk or fork. Set aside.
Roast 2 medium sweet red peppers until tender and wrap in a bowl so the skin loosens for about 10 minutes. Then peel off skin, stems and seeds and give a rinse. Then chop finely.
In the bowl with the yolks add:
Chopped roasted peppers
½ cup finely grated Cumberland cheese
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 drops Tabasco sauce
2 tablespoons Duke's mayo
Salt and white pepper to taste
Pinch of smoked paprika
Mash altogether adding a bit more mayo if needed. Taste for seasoning. Divide the filling between the egg whites and finish with a pinch of smoked paprika on each.
Classic queso from chef Erik Niel of Easy Bistro, Main Street Meats and Little Coyote.
More often than you may think, it's hard to beat a classic. This is one of those times. I heard from close sources that chef Niel has been "obsessed" with chili queso con carn, but he's offered a more approachable cheese dip that you don't have to own a handful of restaurants to pull off. And it's better than anything you'll find in a jar on a grocery store shelf.
8 oz. American cheese
8 oz. Chihuahua cheese (or any Mexican melting cheese)
2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons butter
1 Roma tomato, small diced
1/2 small onion, small diced
1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat and saute peppers and onion for 5 minutes, add the tomatoes and cook for 2 more minutes. Next, add the half and half, and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly add the American cheese in batches, "fold in the cheese," followed by the Chihuahua cheese in batches. Continually whisk until all cheese is combined and gooey while not letting it get clumpy.