Slideshow: Favorite Game Day Foods From Every Corner of America

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You’re not ready for game day until you sample these foods
Favorite Game Day Foods From Every Corner of America

Photo Modified: Flickr / GW Fins / CC BY 4.0

The sport Americans call football, more accurately called gridiron football, has been around since the late nineteenth century and is said to have originated at universities in North America. It’s related to rugby and soccer (also known as association football), and the first intercollegiate football game was between Princeton and Rutgers in New Jersey on November 6, 1869. The soccer-style game they played was soon adopted by other colleges in the Northeast. Walter Camp, who attended Yale from 1876-1881, helped refine the sport into the precise form of football Americans enjoy today — he was behind ideas like an 11-man team, the current scoring scale, and the position of quarterback.

Today, football is an institution in the United States. Upwards of 114 million Americans watched the 2015 Super Bowl, and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, currently the highest-paid football player in the NFL, enjoys an income of $48.9 million annually. Needless to say, the country loves football — but Americans also love a good game day snack while they watch their favorite teams compete. Game day food can be considered almost as much of a traditional institution as the sport itself. We’ve rounded up some of the country’s favorite game day foods, so make sure you pick some up for your next tailgate or viewing party.

Favorite Game Day Foods From Every Corner of America

Favorite Game Day Foods From Every Corner of America

Photo Modified: Flickr / GW Fins / CC BY 4.0

The sport Americans call football, more accurately called gridiron football, has been around since the late nineteenth century and is said to have originated at universities in North America. It’s related to rugby and soccer (also known as association football), and the first intercollegiate football game was between Princeton and Rutgers in New Jersey on November 6, 1869. The soccer-style game they played was soon adopted by other colleges in the Northeast. Walter Camp, who attended Yale from 1876-1881, helped refine the sport into the precise form of football Americans enjoy today — he was behind ideas like an 11-man team, the current scoring scale, and the position of quarterback.

Today, football is an institution in the United States. Upwards of 114 million Americans watched the 2015 Super Bowl, and Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers, currently the highest-paid football player in the NFL, enjoys an income of $48.9 million annually. Needless to say, the country loves football — but Americans also love a good game day snack while they watch their favorite teams compete. Game day food can be considered almost as much of a traditional institution as the sport itself. We’ve rounded up some of the country’s favorite game day foods, so make sure you pick some up for your next tailgate or viewing party.

Barbecue

Barbecue

Photo Modified: Flickr / Jun Seita / CC BY 4.0

Barbecue is a popular game day treat in different areas, but in Kansas City, Missouri, barbecue is a pride of the state. Hot dogs, ribs, and pulled pork are all staples here; the smoked meats can be found at stadiums and tailgates alike. 

Barbecue

Barbecue

Yelp / Roland S

Arthur Bryant’s is a go-to for barbecue in the city — the eatery has been working on its recipe since it opened in the early 1920s.  

Buffalo Wings

Buffalo Wings

Yelp / Brian K

There’s no better place to try wings than their namesake — Buffalo, New York. The city’s Anchor Bar is often credited with inventing the dish in the 1960s, so don’t miss the chance to stop by.

Buffalo Wings

Unsalted butter, garlic, and hot sauce all appear in the recipe. If you’re in New York, make sure to pick up this game day favorite for the big tailgate. 

Cheese Curds

Cheese Curds

Photo Modified: Flickr / Bart Everson / CC BY 4.0

In Wisconsin, cheese curds are a timeless game day favorite — especially if you’re a “Cheesehead,” or a Green Bay Packers fan. They’re found all over Wisconsin, but make sure to pick some up on your way to Lambeau Field before the game.

Cheese Curds

The recipe includes beer, salt, eggs, and corn oil for frying, and it results in a legendary Wisconsin game day snack.

Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

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In Illinois, hot dogs get die-hard fans in the mood for game day, specifically those prepared Chicago-style. It means a Vienna beef hot dog often topped with mustard, onion, relish, pickles, and celery salt.

Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

Chicago-Style Hot Dogs

Yelp / Gene & Jude’s

Gene & Jude’s wins for the best Chicago-style hot dogs in the city, according to Serious Eats. The snacks are usually served topped with relish, mustard, onions, sport peppers, and fresh hand-cut fries

Chicken-Fried Steak

Chicken-Fried Steak

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This dish is a game day staple in Dallas, and for good reason. It’s called “the great equalizer,” as it can be made with any quality of steak and is eaten by people from every walk of life.  

Chicken-Fried Steak

Chicken-Fried Steak

Photo Modified: Flickr / Nathan Walker / CC BY 4.0

The recipe calls for tenderized steak, buttermilk, and cracked pepper gravy. Before the big game, consider enjoying the dish “cowboy-style” — with chili.

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

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Ohio has chili down pat, as anyone from Cincinnati will tell you. And on game day, this city’s take on chili will certainly get you in the spirit.

Cincinnati Chili

Cincinnati Chili

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This famous chili is made with lean ground beef, chili powder, cayenne pepper, garlic, tomato sauce, and unsweetened chocolate.

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

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In Baltimore, crab cakes reign supreme. The recipe calls for an egg, sliced chives, scallions, and Dijon mustard; it’s sure to be a game day crowd-pleaser. 

Crab Cakes

Crab Cakes

Yelp / Niki L

G & M Restaurant & Lounge in Linthicum Heights is known for its crab cakes, so make sure you don’t pass it up.

Cuban Sandwich

A favorite game day snack in Miami, the Cuban is a must for tailgating in many areas of south Florida. The hot-pressed sandwich is made with salty ham, roasted pork, and melted Swiss cheese. Its hearty ingredients make it a worthy game day tradition. 

Cuban Sandwich

Cuban Sandwich

Yelp / Katy P

Zagat lists Enriqueta’s as the best Cuban sandwich in Miami, and we can’t argue — the venue takes the typical ingredients and stuffs them inside croquetas, or fried rolls.

Fried Chicken Nachos

Fried Chicken Nachos

Photo Modified: Flickr / Jeff Sandquist / CC BY 4.0

In Atlanta, fried chicken nachos are a popular game day snack. Mounds of buttermilk fried chicken tenders, barbecue sauce, and spicy Jack cheese are enjoyed in restaurants and at tailgates alike; other toppings include corn, salsa, peppers, and guacamole.

Fried Chicken Nachos

Fried Chicken Nachos

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Try the fried chicken nachos at STATS on Marietta Street before the big game. They come complete with sweet heat peach barbecue sauce.

Green Chile Stew

Mexico’s influence on Arizona’s cuisine is apparent in the oft-used spices, as well as prickly pear cacti and green chiles. This game day classic consists of chicken or pork combined with vegetables, spices, and the star of the show, green chiles.

Green Chile Stew

The stew is often served with tortillas. Don’t miss out on this staple if you’re getting ready for a big game in Arizona.

New England Clam Chowder

Clam chowder is an iconic dish in New England, so it makes sense that it doubles as a go-to food for game day. It’s served very hot, and ingredients traditionally include clams, onions, potatoes, and celery. 

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Yelp / Michael U

If you’re looking for a pre-game bite of this delicious dish, look no further than Island Creek Oyster Bar, according to Serious Eats. House-cured bacon makes an appearance in the recipe.

Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

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Deep-fried pork tenderloin sandwiches are a game-day go-to in Indiana. Other than the sandwich’s namesake, ingredients include an egg, oregano, breadcrumbs, and ground black pepper.

Pork Tenderloin Sandwich

Christie’s on the Square has a hand-breaded version of the sandwich that locals frequently order, so make sure not to miss out on this food icon on your next trip to the Midwest.  

Pizza

Pizza

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Football fans in New York (and New Jersey, for that matter) know New York pizza is the way to go when it comes to game day. Cheesy goodness is a must while watching a beloved team (hopefully) win, and when it comes to a hearty slice, the country mostly agrees that New York takes the cake (or pie).

Pizza

Joe’s Pizza in the West Village is frequented by celebrities, with even Kevin Bacon proclaiming he would choose a pie from the place as his last meal. Di Fara Pizza was ranked the number two pizza place in America by The Daily Meal this year, with its Classic Pie coming in first place on Time Out’s list of the best New York pizzas.

Po’ Boys

Po’ Boys

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The city of New Orleans is bursting with incredible foods (think beignets, jambalaya, and gumbo), but po’ boys are a tried-and-true game day snack for area football lovers. These iconic sandwiches can include fried chicken, roast beef, sausage, or seafood. 

Po’ Boys

Po’ Boys

Photo Modified: Flickr / GW Fins / CC BY 4.0

Po’ boys are almost always made with New Orleans French bread, and their other ingredients often include sliced tomatoes, shredded lettuce, and Creole mayonnaise.