Super Bowl Spread, Super Bowl party food, BBQ ribs, salami sliders, taco tip, panini, chili, corn muffins
The Morning After: Huevos Rancheros

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One of the best things about Super Bowl Sunday, aside from the actual football game and even the commercials, is the license to serve and eat great party food. If you like the standard pizza and wing fare, there is nothing wrong with that. But if you want to go a little above and beyond for your Super Bowl party, I’ve come up with some great finger foods that in some cases will leave you with another hand to hold a cold beer. Most of these are real easy, even the ribs, which are simple but time consuming. But with kickoff at around 6:20 EST, you have all day to prepare anyway. So with that, here we go!

Slow Roasted BBQ Ribs

Does the thought of making ribs with homemade BBQ sauce intimidate you? I felt the same way, until I watched Guy Fieri and Tyler Florence do it on the Food Network. The key is patience, because the actual cooking process is pretty simple.

4 to 6 lbs. babyback pork ribs

Olive oil

Kosher salt & pepper


1 Tbsp. dried thyme

3 slices bacon

1/2 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, minced

14 oz. can tomato sauce

1 jar chili sauce

1/2 of a 6 oz. can of tomato paste

2 jars apricot or peach preserves ( I used Saucy Susan)

1/4 cup hot pepper jelly (you can omit or add hot sauce instead if you can’t find this stuff)

1 Tbsp. paprika

Kosher salt & pepper

1/4 cup cider or malt vinegar

2 Tbsp. yellow mustard

2 Tbsp. molasses


Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Brush both sides of ribs with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Put on a baking sheet and cover with foil, then place in oven. Meanwhile, in a large soup pot, preferably a nonstick one, heat 2 Tbsp. or so of olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat, then add onion, garlic, thyme, a bit of salt and pepper, and the whole slices of bacon. Sautee for 5 to 7 minutes or until the bacon starts to render its fat. Remove bacon slices (you can chop one up and put it back in if you like). Add remaining sauce ingredients (tomato sauce through molasses), reduce heat to low and cover, keeping on a slow simmer for a few hours. Turn ribs every 30 minutes or so for 2 hours. Then baste with barbecue sauce and turn every 20 minutes, for 2 more hours. Total oven time for ribs should be around 4 hours for maximum tenderness. Remove ribs from oven, and grill over medium-high heat to finish, for about 2 minutes per side (no more than that, or they will burn) to crisp. Slice into 2 to 3-bones-per servings, and serve with barbecue sauce on the side. This recipe will serve about 4 people, so multiply accordingly, depending on how much other food you have.

Spicy Salami Sliders

It seems like mini burgers, a.k.a. sliders, are in style at the moment. For this recipe, I wanted to give the standard version a twist -- something a little fried salami and pepper jack cheese do well. But let me tell you one thing -- the key to a good slider is the bread. I found the perfect slider buns at Publix, and I’m guessing most higher end grocery stores with bakeries should have what you need.

1 lb. ground beef

1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

Kosher salt & pepper

1 package slider rolls

Sliced hamburger-style dill pickles

2 medium onions, peeled and finely chopped

4 to 6 slices pepper jack cheese

8 thinly sliced pieces hard salami

Olive oil

Kosher salt & pepper

Cooking spray


Preheat grill. In a small nonstick skillet, sauté the onion in olive oil over medium heat, adding salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Keep warm. In another larger nonstick skillet, heat nonstick spray over medium heat, and cook salami slices until browned and just crisp. Set aside. Place meat in a large bowl, and add Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper, and shape into 8 small burgers. Grill burgers over medium-high heat for about 2 to 3 minutes per side (note: since they are small, the cooking time is less than a traditional burger). Top with cheese and continue cooking for about 30 seconds, or until cheese is melted. Layer salami, burger, onions, and a few pickle slices on each slider bun, and serve with ketchup if you like. Makes 8 sliders, so double or triple the recipe as you see fit.

Killer Taco Dip

You’ve probably seen several variations on taco dip, and my version is pretty simple yet spicy enough for most guys’ palates. I first had taco dip at my sister’s house as a young lad for Super Bowl XXI, Giants vs. Broncos, and I must give credit to a guy named Steve, who said that day, “You could live on this stuff, and beer.” Steve was right, as the food groups are all represented since the chips and beer are considered grains. Rock on.

1 to 2 bags tortilla chips (preferably Tostitos or Fritos Scoops)

1 lb. ground beef

1/2 cup water

1 envelope cheesy taco mix

1 to 2 Tbsp. hot sauce

1 28 oz. can refried beans

1 8 to 12 oz. package prepared guacamole

16 to 24 oz. sour cream

24 oz. jar salsa

1 to 2 Tbps. Cilantro paste (or 1/4 cup chopped cilantro)

1 12 to16 oz. package Mexican style shredded cheese (or any combo of cheddar or jack or either is fine)

Jalapeno slices or black olive slices or both


In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, brown ground beef. Add water, taco mix and hot sauce and continue cooking for about 4 to 5 minutes or until water is mostly absorbed. Spread meat in a 13x9 baking dish and let cool for a few minutes. Spread refried beans over meat (honestly, the easiest way to do this is to use your hands). Combine the guacamole and sour cream, and spread over dip. Combine salsa and cilantro, and spread that over next. Sprinkle with cheese, and dot with jalapeno slices and/or black olives. Chill for a few hours, then let sit at room temperature for one hour before serving. Serve with chips. (Note: it’s best to have a large spoon in the dip, and let your guests put some on a plate with some chips. That way, you don’t have double-dipping or broken chips in the dip).

Veggie Panini

You are no doubt going to have a vegetarian or two at your party, so having at least one option like this is always a good idea.

1 to 2 large sub rolls or large Italian bread

1/3 cup prepared pesto sauce

1 tomato, sliced

1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, sliced

1 cup chopped Kalamata or black olives

6 slices mozzarella cheese


Slice bread in half and hollow out, then spread pesto on each side. Layer with veggies and cheese. You can then either cook the sandwiches in a sandwich press or George Foreman grill, or like I did, which is in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, using a large teakettle with greased foil on the bottom to press the sandwiches down. You could say I’m a hillbilly, but I say I’m innovative, because it worked. If the cheese doesn’t melt as well as you like, you can even broil these in the oven for 2 minutes. Slice sandwiches into 10 to 12 servings, and double or triple the recipe as you see fit.

Savory Cilantro Chili Corn Muffins

You really can hold this snack in one hand and a beer in the other, and they go nicely together.

Cooking spray

1 box corn muffin mix (I used Jiffy)

1 egg, beaten

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1/4 cup milk

1 10 to 12 oz. can chili without beans (you can’t beat Hormel)

1 Tbsp. cilantro paste or 2 to 3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

1 to 2 Tbsp. hot sauce


Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease muffin cups with cooking spray. Prepare muffin mix as indicated on package. Combine remaining ingredients in a large bowl, and stir until just combined. Mix together with muffin mix and pour batter into muffin cups. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean. Let cool and serve at room temperature. Makes 12 muffins.

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