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The Perfect Notre Dame Football Home Game Tailgate Meal

Notre Dame Stadium Lot: We have the meats

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 01 Michigan at Notre Dame Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Feast in the lots before feasting on the field

Just picture it. You wake up on a Notre Dame Fighting Irish Gameday. It’s late September/early October. The sun is peaking through the blue-gray sky. It is currently 48 degrees at 7 AM but it will turn to a perfect 62 and sunny by the 2:30 PM kickoff. The car/truck is packed for your tailgate, and it is shaping up to be a perfect day.

You get to the Stadium lot early, text your friends and loved ones which pole you are at, and you get unloading your beer coolers, the snacks, and the grill. But, what exactly are you preparing for your guests and football fans? There are some elite tailgate foods, and we’re going to tell you the best ones.

Syndication: The Enquirer Albert Cesare / The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

WE ARE EATING

It’s going to be the AM (and maybe the very early AM) when the tailgate gets going. An elite food that does not get talked about for tailgates is the breakfast burger. As my dad always said especially on Gamedays, you gotta lay a base. Well, a breakfast burger does just that. You gotta pull out that propane-powered grill and get a flat griddle attachment for that thing so you can fry some sunny-side up eggs along with grilling some burger patties. The fried egg on the burger is one of the best toppings for a burger you can get. That burger combined with a nice, cold can of domestic beer kicks the proceedings off very well.

The Money Burger is photographed at the Danville Brewing Company on Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016, in Danville, Calif. The burger has millionaire’s bacon, smoked gouda, roasted tomato relish, little gems, fresh herb aioli, and is topped with an egg. (Aric Crab Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images

As those are being scarfed down, you have to be on the snack train. This includes your chips of choice, salsa and/or guac, and some mixed nuts that you provide. Of course also in the snack variety you can provide a meat/cheese tray or maybe even some small. sandwiches/pinwheels to keep the protein levels high for a long day.

This won’t apply for all games, but for those colder or even crisper games in late October and November, a GREAT addition to the tailgate is to fire up some buffalo chicken dip. Make it the night before or even right there if your chicken is already made and shredded, and dump all that in a crockpot. You can provide chips, crackers, pita bread, and/or veggies for dipping. This is always a crowd pleaser and one that will give people sustenance while also providing some warmth if it is colder outside.

Voraciously essentials buffalo chicken dip Photo by Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post via Getty Images; food styling by Lisa Cherkasky for The Washington Post via Getty Images

As those snacks and dips stay available throughout the whole tailgate, you’re coming up to about 90-120 minutes before kickoff. The adult beverages have been flowing, and some more protein is needed before you go into the game. Now it is time for the ultimate (and my personal best) choice for a tailgate meal: the Gameday brat. Gameday brats are one of my favorite meals ever. Fire that grill back up and put those brats on the grill. In 20 minutes you’ll have an easy, but delicious, option for your guests to scarf down. They are handheld and very easy to eat. But, they provide a taste and a smell that are just perfection. A Notre Dame Gameday is complete with a brat.

Start of the Roncalli Christmas Market Photo by Marcus Brandt/picture alliance via Getty Images

These are my choices for some excellent food at tailgates. What are your choices? Do they align with mine, or do you have other tailgate go-tos? Let us know in the comments!