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2015 NCAA Lacrosse Tournament: Your Semifinal Saturday Tailgating Menu

One of the biggest dates on the lacrosse calendar requires an exceptional tailgating menu.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Saturday of Championship Weekend is one of the best days of the season for tailgating, whether virtually in your backyard or on-site at Lincoln Financial Field. A day of monster games necessitates a menu to match the hyper-relevance the national semifinals, the mastication attendant in preparing for four hours of elite lacrosse almost as important as the competition itself. It's simply impossible to accept a 'gate of hot dogs and frozen hamburgers in a moment this big; something concomitant with reaching the apex of the lacrosse season is vital to reaching lacrosse singularity.

As such, I've dusted off four of my favorite tailgating recipes -- I previously featured these at Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician during the past college football season -- to help you elevate your tailgating game to Division I levels. I've including four items for your tailgate -- a dip to start things off; an appetizer that will put lightning in your belly; and a main attraction and complementary side to finish the drill -- to complete a full and delicious menu. Good luck out there.

Guinness Cheese Dip

Prep Time: 15-ish minutes
Cook Time: Negative

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. softened plain cream cheese
  • 2 1/2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp. half and half
  • 1/4 cup Guinness
  • 2 or 3 chopped scallions
  • 1 to 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • Salt and pepper to make it taste freakin' fancy
  • Crackers or Fritos or vegetable sticks

Step 1: In your blender or food processor (basically, anything where you attempt to dispose of evidence), combine the cream cheese, cheddar, Dijon, and half and half. Pulse the thing until the consistency of the stuff is smooth.

Step 2: With your machine humming, slowly pour in the Guinness and blend until evenly combined. The mixture should not be too runny; it should have a smooth consistency (it'll thicken up overnight). You're making a dip, not diarrhea.

Step 3: Add the scallions, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper and blend until thoroughly conistent with the rest of the goop. If you haven't lost any fingers yet you're doing a hell of a job.

Step 4: Throw everything into a Tupperware container and let it chill overnight. At this point you can get drunk or whatever on all the leftover Guinness because you're done, champ.

Guinness_cheddar_dip_medium

Step 5: Serve with the crackers or Fritos or vegetable sticks. When your friends piss their pants with happiness, let them know that making it was incredibly difficult and that they're lucky to have you as a pal/gal pal.

Grilled Jalapeno Poppers

Prep Time (Total): 15 minutes
Cook Time (Total): Depends

Ingredients

  • 18 large jalapenos
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated/shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated/shredded jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced onions or scallions
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves -- minced
  • 1 tbsp. hot Hungarian paprika
  • 8 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped into crumbles

Step 1: Cook the bacon in a skillet, friend. Get it good and crispy so that it'll bring an end to all the civil unrest happening in the world. Put the cooked bacon on a plate or tray lined with paper towels to drain some off the grease, then crumble and chop into pieces.

Jalapeno_popper_ingredients_medium

Step 2: In a mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, cheddar, jack, onion/scallions, and minced garlic. Add the crumbled bacon as you stir this big mess of delicious until it's evenly mixed. At this point you should call your mother and exclaim, "I'm cooking!" She'll ask, "What?!" And you'll respond, "Adult food, jerkface!"

Step 3: Put on gloves, pal/gal pal (little cuts on your fingers sting like a mother when you work with hot peppers). Very carefully -- use the sharp knife that you usually threaten children with when they start wanting things -- slice the top off of the jalapenos, leaving the stems intact. You can discard the tops or chop them up and them to your cheese mixture. Scoop out the seeds and tyrannical pepper brains with a small spoon, pinching the ends of the pepper to widen the crevice. Using your threatin' knife, flatten the bottom of each pepper by shaving off some of the butt of the pepper (if you don't, the chilies will roll on the grill, dumping out the filling).

Step 4: Stuff each pepper with the cheese mixture. When done, add a dash of the paprika and parmesan cheese to the top of each pepper. You're almost in the great unknown of wonderful.

Pre-cooked_poppers_medium

Step 5: Fire up your weapon and clean your grill grate. Back the temperature down to medium and swab the grill grate with vegetable oil. Ideally you're going to need to go with indirect grilling. Get the stuffed peppers on the grill -- cheese side up, knucklehead -- and close the lid. These will cook for around 30 minutes under indirect heat; the cheese mixture should be brown-ish and gooey and bubbly while the jalapenos should be good and tender. Under direct heat, these will probably be done in 5-10 minutes or so; watch the chilies so that they're not overcharred.

Step 6: Let the peppers rest for a few minutes unless you want to ruin your friends' mouths (I'm all for that, if you care). Consume. Now search for toilet paper and privacy.

Americorn

Prep Time (Total): 5 minutes
Cook Time (Total): 5-10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 8 ears of corn
  • 8 tbsps. (1 stick) of softened unsalted butter
  • 2 tsps. brown sugar
  • 1 tsps. paprika
  • 1 tsps. garlic powder
  • 1 tsps. onion powder
  • 1 tsps. ground pepper
  • 1 tsps. ground salt
  • 1 tsps. cayanne pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese

Step 1: Pull back the husks of each ear of corn, removing all the silks. Don't discard the husks. Rather, with the husks pulled back around the nub, tie the husks into a handle. This is a fancy trick that I stole from Steve Raichlen -- the author of The Barbecue! Bible -- and it totally changed my life (in a this-is-how-I-cook-corn way rather than a I'm-a-better-person-in-the-overall-because-I'm-no-longer-a-smartass way).

Step 2: In a small pot at low heat, whisk together everything else until the butter is melted with the rub.

Step 3: Set your grill for high direct heat. Clean the grill grates and brush the grate with vegetable oil. Place a sheet of tin foil on the front edge of the grill grate. The tin foil should be long enough to protect your husk handle from being exposed to heat.

Step 4: Gently brush each ear of corn with the butter mixture.  Place the corn on the smoking hot grate and grill. Turn the ears of corn at reasonable intervals, browning the ears evenly all over. Brush the ears with the butter mixture intermittently as the corn cooks. Cook time will depend on the size of your ears, but plan on cooking them for about 8 minutes and try to avoid turning them into burnt dust.

Step 5: When the ears are done, grab the husk handles and remove from the grill. You can brush each ear of corn with any remaining butter mixture.

Step 6: Make your friends eat this beauties, and light any of them on fire that tell you that "maize is so much better than regular corn."

Grilled Pork Loin Sandwiches

Prep Time (Total): 5 minutes
Cook Time (Total): 10-ish minutes (depends on size of your chops)

Ingredients

  • Mustard Horseradish Sauce
    • 2/3 cup sour cream
    • 1/4 cup stone ground Dijon mustard
    • 3 tbsps. Gold's horseradish (Hi, Neil!)
    • Ground salt and pepper -- to taste
    • 2 tsps. cayenne
    • 1 tsp. finely minced garlic (optional)
  • 12 boneless, center cut pork loin chops
  • Six onion rolls
  • Lettuce
  • Provolone cheese
  • 2 tbsps. paprika
  • 2 tbsps. granulated garlic
  • 2 tbsps. ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp. ground sea salt

Step 1: Start with the mustard horseradish sauce. Whisk together all of the ingredients in a bowl until evenly mixed. If you skimp on the quality of the horseradish and mustard, you will deny your face straight-up lightning. Put the sauce in a container and chill in the refrigerator or cooler.

Mustard_horseradish_sauce_medium

Step 2: In a bowl, whisk the paprika, granulated garlic, ground pepper, and ground sea salt to make a dumbed-down rub. As usual, the ingredient amounts for the rub is more of a ratio than an actual, follow-this-or-die-from-the-rub-exploding-into-a-massive-and-unforeseen-fireball amount. Add or reduce as necessary.

Step 3: Place the chops in a separate bowl and drizzle with olive oil. Don't drench the chops in the oil, but get all the chops evenly covered. You're touching greatness, pal/gal pal. It feels pretty good, right?

Step 4: Slowly add the rub to the bowl with the chops, tossing the chops to evenly coat the meat. Don't over-rub the chops; just make sure both sides of each chop are evenly rubbed with the spices. Cover the chops and set aside in the refrigerator or cooler until it's time to cook.

Rubbed_pork_medium

Step 5: Prepare your weapon for direct grilling. Get heat into the thing and clean your grill grates. Back down the heat to medium, swab your grill grate with vegetable oil, and place the rubbed chops on the grill, closing the lid to create sorcery from within. Depending on the size of your cuts and the heat you're working with, these will go quick: A couple of minutes to each side -- ideally turning only once -- should get the job done. You're direct grilling these, so monitor your meat so that it doesn't turn into pork dust.

Tenderloin_on_grill_medium

Step 6: When the chops are almost done, split your onion rolls and put them on the grill -- preferably under indirect heat -- to give them some pop. You can butter your bread -- euphemism! -- if you'd like, but it's unnecessary because the mustard horseradish sauce is still in your gravity. Be careful with the heating time on the bread, knucklehead; you want a light toasting, not black drywall.

Step 7: Remove the pork and buns from the grill, letting the pork rest for a minute or two. Cut the chops into 1/4" slices. It's almost time to rip a hole into the space-time continuum.

Step 8: Prepare the sandwich: Generously slather the mustard horseradish sauce on both sides of the roll; add the lettuce to the base slice of the roll, then a slice of provolone cheese. Pile sliced pork onto the cheese -- testing the physics of sandwich capacity is the preferred method here -- and place the top bun of the onion roll on this monster. Gorge yourself without self respect because you just created something amazing.

Pork_sandwich_medium