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51 (Incredibly Delicious) Reasons to Bring a Grill to the Tailgate

Face paint? Check. Megaphone? Check. Portable grill? For any tailgate pitmaster, it's impossible to forget. Add these grilling recipes to your tailgate checklist for a saucy, smoky, savory (or sweet!) way to celebrate the big game.

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Grilled Brats with Sriracha Mayo

I am a Sriracha fanatic, so that’s what inspired this dish. You can boil the brats in your favorite beer to reduce the fat and give them flavor before grilling, or spread garlic butter on lightly toasted buns. —Quincie Ball, Olympia, Washington

You’ll want these other game-day foods on your menu, too.

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Grilled Firecracker Potato Salad

I can eat potato salad like crazy. A little spice is nice, so I use cayenne and paprika in this grilled salad that comes with its own fireworks. —Ashley Armstrong, Kingsland, Georgia
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Barbecued Burgers

I can't take all the credit for these winning burgers. My husband's uncle passed down the special barbecue sauce recipe. We love it on everything...it was only natural to try it on, and in, burgers. Add cheese and bacon to take them over the top. —Rhoda Troyer, Glenford, Ohio
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Grilled Vegetable Platter

The best of summer in one dish! This pretty grilled vegetable recipe is meant for entertaining. Grilling brings out their natural sweetness, and the easy marinade really kicks up the grilled vegetables' flavor. —Heidi Hall, North St. Paul, Minnesota
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Cookout Caramel S'mores

These classic treats make a fabulous finish to an informal meal. Toasting the marshmallows extends our after-dinner time together, giving us something fun to do as a family. —Martha Haseman, Hinckley, Illinois
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Grilled Red Pepper Dip

We grill peppers with rosemary and garlic, then blend them with sun-dried tomatoes for a creamy spread to pass with pita chips. —Donna Alwine, Bloomington, Indiana
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Can-Can Chicken

Here's a tasty take on the popular beer-can chicken. Once the bird is on the grill, the work's basically done. And cleanup is a cinch—a must for a guy like me. —Steve Bath, Lincoln, Nebraska
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Herb & Cheese-Stuffed Burgers

Tired of the same old ground beef recipes? This quick-fix burger alternative, with its creamy cheese filling, will wake up your taste buds. —Sherri Cox, Lucasville, Ohio
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Mojito-Style Yellow Tomato Salsa

With grilled tomatoes, crunchy peppers and a sprinkle of mint, this fresh salsa is good on just about everything. Try it in fish tacos, on tortilla chips or by the spoonful! —Patterson Watkins, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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Bacon Cheddar Jalapenos

Take these cheesy, fiery tailgate appetizers straight to the grill so you can add a touch of smoke. We pass them with bowls of guacamole and sour cream. —Wayne E. Barnes, Montgomery, Alabama
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Terrific Teriyaki Burgers

Golden flecks of pineapple give these burgers a touch of sweetness, while the ginger root adds some spice. Ground chicken works well in this recipe, too. —Margaret Wilson, Hemet, California
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Smoky Grilled Corn Salsa

Our backyard grill is the perfect place to cook up the ingredients for homemade corn salsa. It’s yummy with tortilla chips and as a topping for meat, poultry and fish. —Alicia DeWolfe, Gloucester, Massachusetts
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Baja Chicken & Slaw Sliders

Between the flavorful sauce and colorful, crunchy slaw, these hand-held sandwiches demand attention from party-goers. —Janet Hynes, Racine, Wisconsin
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Honey-Glazed Chicken Kabobs

This is one of my husband’s favorite meals. I serve it with rice pilaf, salad and grilled garlic bread. —Tracey Miller, Aiken, South Carolina
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Potatoes Plus

Potatoes Plus

On our busy farm, meals need to be ready fast. These herb-seasoned potatoes and vegetables wrapped in foil packets cook in only half an hour. They're excellent with steak or chicken. —Jill Jellett, Leduc, Alberta
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Bratwurst Supper

After trying a few bratwurst recipes, I've found this meal-in-one is ideal for camping since it grills to perfection in a heavy-duty foil bag. Loaded with chunks of bratwurst, red potatoes, mushrooms and carrots, it's easy to season with onion soup mix and a little soy sauce. —Janice Meyer, Medford, Wisconsin
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Teriyaki Shish Kabobs

When I was a teenager, my father worked for an airline, and my family lived on the island of Guam in the South Pacific. A friend of my mother gave her this tangy-sweet recipe, and we enjoyed it often. Now I make it for my family, and they're big fans as well. —Suzanne Pelegrin, Ocala, Florida
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Barbecued Picnic Chicken

I like to serve this savory chicken at family picnics. Cooked on a covered grill, the poultry stays so tender and juicy. Everyone loves the zesty, slightly sweet homemade barbecue sauce—and it's so easy to make. —Priscilla Weaver, Hagerstown, Maryland
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Grilled Figgy Pies

Delicious figs combined with maple, walnuts and creamy mascarpone make a decadent treat that's easy to enjoy at a backyard cookout. These unique hand pies always disappear quickly. —Renee Murby, Johnston, Rhode Island
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Breakfast Skewers

These kabobs are fun, different and delicious, plus they go well with any egg dish. —Bobi Raab, St. Paul, Minnesota
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Maryland Corn Pops

Fresh-picked sweet corn is a big thing in Maryland. Here’s my homespun version of Mexican street corn that brings in local bay flavors. —Kristie Schley, Severna Park, Maryland
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Burgers with Spicy Dill Salsa

When I make burgers or hot dogs for boating or barbecues, I do a take-along topping that tastes like relish meets salsa. Pile it on anything! —Valonda Seward, Coarsegold, California
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Tacos on a Stick

Teens like assembling these creative kabobs almost as much as they like devouring them. The whole family is sure to love the sensational Southwestern flavor of this twist on beef shish kabobs. —Dixie Terry, Goreville, Illinois
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Grilled Vegetable Sandwich

Wow! Meat lovers won’t even miss the meat, instead they will rave about the simply fabulous flavor of this hearty grilled veggie sandwich! It’s wonderful with ciabatta bread’s crispy crust and light, airy texture. This recipe’s a keeper! —Diana Tseperkas, Hamden, Connecticut
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Kathy's Herbed Corn

My husband and I agreed that the original recipe for this corn needed a little jazzing up, so I added the thyme and cayenne pepper to suit our tastes. Now fresh summer corn makes a regular appearance on our grill. —Kathy VonKorff, North College Hill, Ohio
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Jersey-Style Hot Dogs

I grew up in northern New Jersey, where hot dogs with grilled potatoes were born. It's a combo you’ll love. —Suzanne Banfield, Basking Ridge, New Jersey
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Fruit 'n' Cake Kabobs

A neighbor served these kabobs at a family picnic and brought some over for us to sample. I was pleasantly surprised at the tasty toasted cake and juicy grilled fruit. —Mary Ann Dell, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania
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Saucy Grilled Baby Back Ribs

Don't worry about the beer in the sauce—it's just root beer, which is a subtle undertone to the yummy sauce. —Terri Kandell, Addison, Michigan
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Pork and Onion Kabobs

A sweet and savory marinade brings out the best in pork, as these grilled kabobs prove. They're a super summer supper, easy to prepare and fun to serve to company. The pork is so tasty grilled with onion wedges. —Mary Lou Wayman, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Steak Fajitas

Zesty salsa and tender strips of steak make these traditional fajitas extra special. —Rebecca Baird, Salt Lake City, Utah
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Cake & Berry Campfire Cobbler

This warm Dutch oven cobbler is one of our favorite ways to end a busy day of fishing, hiking, swimming or rafting. It's yummy with ice cream—and so easy to make! —June Dress, Boise, Idaho
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Spicy Chicken Tomato Pitas

I’m not sure if this is a Mediterranean dish with a southwestern flair or the other way around. All I know is that it’s ideal for a summer dinner. The tomato relish is yummy as an appetizer with tortilla chips, so you may want to double it. —Cori Cooper, Boise, Idaho
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Cola Hot Wings

These delectable wings are so easy to make, and they offer year-round versatility, from summer cookouts to autumn tailgates. My husband likes them so much he'll stand out in the snow to grill them! —Lisa Linville, Randolph, Nebraska
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Grilled Cheese & Tomato Flatbreads

This is a combination of grilled pizza and a cheesy flatbread recipe I discovered years ago. It's a great appetizer or main dish. —Tina Repak Mirilovich, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
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Blue Cheese & Bacon Stuffed Peppers

Whenever I put out a plate of these cute little appetizers, people come flocking. Good thing there are lots of peppers in each bag. —Tara Cruz, Kersey, Colorado
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Grilled Veggie Tortillas

Your garden's bounty will be put to good use in this delightful entree, which resembles a pizza. When I find a recipe like this that’s so well received, I make a copy, put it in a protective sleeve and store it in a binder so I can make it again.—Sharon Delaney-Chronis, South Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Honey-Mustard Brats

Our honey mustard glaze gives every bite of these brats a sweet and punchy flavor. Everyone who tries them agrees they're delicious. —Lily Julow, Lawrenceville, Georgia
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Vegetable Beef Kabobs

This is a main dish that makes good use of our delicious Kansas beef. I like to grill outdoors, so this dish is especially popular in our home. —Mynie Lou Griffith, Hutchinson, Kansas
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Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad

My family has been fixing grilled mixed vegetables as a side dish for a long time. To make them more substantial, I added pasta. Then, to give the salad a Mediterranean flair, I tossed in some olives and feta cheese. —Tina Repak Mirilovich, Johnstown, Pennsylvania
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Grilled Steak and Portobello Stacks

You don't need a special panini maker for these bistro-style sandwiches. They make take some time to prepare, but it's well worth it! —Judy Murphy, Coeur d' Alene, Idaho
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Best Italian Sausage Sandwiches

Need a different type of Italian dinner? This rich tomato sauce simmers all afternoon in the slow cooker, ready to top freshly grilled Italian sausages. It's a fantastic combination with lots of crowd appeal! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Grilled Corn Medley

Who knew a store-bought dressing could add so much flavor? This medley tastes delightful with garden-fresh veggies. Feel free to sub in your favorites and let the grill and the dressing do the rest! —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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Grilled Cheese Loaf

I often serve buttery grilled bread with steak and a salad. It's so quick to make, and it's also easy to add to whatever else you have on the grill. —Debbi Baker, Green Springs, Ohio
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Honey Grilled Shrimp

My husband was given this super-simple recipe by a man who sold shrimp at the fish market. It's now become our family's absolute favorite easy shrimp recipe. We've even served it to company often, with great success. Enjoy! —Lisa Blackwell, Henderson, North Carolina
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Spicy Grilled Eggplant

This side goes well with any meat you might also be grilling. Thanks to the Cajun seasoning, the zesty eggplant gets more attention than an ordinary veggie. —Greg Fontenot, The Woodlands, Texas
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Colorful Corn Salsa

This colorful salsa is worth the extra time it takes to grill the ears of corn. The flavor goes well with barbecued meats, but it's also tasty served with chips. —Nancy Horsburgh, Everett, Ontario
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Mexican Hot Dogs

My stepmom was born in Mexico and introduced us to hot dogs with avocado and bacon. We were instantly hooked. Now our whole family makes them. —Amanda Brandenburg, Hamilton, Ohio
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Grilled Pizza Bread

These fun French bread pizzas are great picnic fare for both kids and adults. Tasty on the grill, they can just as easily be baked in the oven. —Edna Hoffman, Hebron, Indiana
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Honey Thyme Grilled Chicken

For grilling chicken, I wanted a marinade different from barbecue sauce, so I pulled out some honey and thyme. If you have time, let the chicken marinate awhile to boost flavor. —Noel Bigelow, Alexandria, Virginia
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Mediterranean Meatball Sandwiches

I grow onions, garlic and herbs, so that’s what I use in these saucy sandwiches. Make patties or form the ground beef into meatballs instead. —Alysha Braun, St. Catharines, Ontario
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Banana Butter Pecan Kabobs

Desserts with bananas remind me of Grandma. She and my mom taught me to cook. I rarely measure. For this dish, I set out pecans and butterscotch with kabobs so everyone can customize. —Crystal Schlueter, Northglenn, Colorado

Caroline Stanko
As Editor, Caroline writes and edits all things food-related and helps produce videos for Taste of Home. When she’s not at her desk, you can probably find Caroline cooking up a feast, planning her next trip abroad or daydreaming about her golden retriever, Mac.

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