One of the greatest traditions with football games is the tailgate experience before the actual contest. Many fans (particularly some high-profile members of Cincinnati Bengals nation) throw quite the party to hopefully precede another great one while watching a Cincinnati win.
As technology progresses, some folks’ preference of avoiding of some of the nuisances of in-stadium viewing and continued uncertainty with COVID-19, the in-home watching experience is becoming the preference of many.
Each fan has their own quirky traditions, “gourmet” food choices and in-game activities while they watch their favorite squad. We’re giving out some of our traditions, serving up some food suggestions and looking for some of your go-to’s.
For any football game, chicken wings are a must. Whether you’re a drumstick or wing-lover, buffalo or barbecue sauce aficionado, these are staples to any pigskin-watching experience.
If you’re not into bones or being chastised for eating “boneless wings”, a buffalo chicken dip is a good way to go. Shredded white meat chicken, Frank’s hot sauce (or your favorite boutique one), cream cheese, blue cheese or ranch dressing, and shredded sharp cheddar cheese tossed together in a crock pot makes for perfect all-day snacking.
However, where you reside and what time kickoff occurs can dictate your menu. For those of us on the West Coast, a “brunch”-style selection is what is on rotation for those 10 a.m. starts (or 1 p.m. ET, to most of the rest of the football-watching world).
Donuts or other pastries are always on display—even if folks proclaim themselves to be “on keto” diets. While they may be pricey, some gourmet donut and pastry shops get wild with their creations and the tasty end products end up being a meal in itself.
One common main dish that is on tap for the early slate of Bengals games for us is a “breakfast pizza”. This is something that is relatively easy and affordable to make, depending on your toppings/ingredients choices and feeds a lot of people.
You can grab a Boboli or other brand pizza crust and then stack up on eggs, sausage, bacon and veggies. Buy some grated cheese, cook up your breakfast food on the stove and throw it on the crust. Toss it in the oven and enjoy!
For afternoon and evening contests, quality Mexican food seems to be the go-to food choice. Chips, salsa and guacamole are absolute necessities, but so are some of these niche mini-bean and cheese burritos (shout-out to Las Golondrinas!). It sounds so basic, but it’s always an immense crowd-pleaser.
As a main dish, a “chicken tortilla casserole” is a great meal that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Again, shredded white meat chicken, sour cream, green chile, Salsa Verde, cheese and tortillas to line the bottom of a dish get you on your way. Pop it in the oven and enjoy.
Carlos Dunlap would also be pleased to know that snacking on Kettle Chips is always a regular for us during Bengals games. The salt and cracked pepper ones are clutch.
Of course, for those with true Queen City ties, something Skyline or Gold Star (depending on your preference) is probably part-and-parcel of a Who Dey viewing—even if it’s a party of one! We’ve watched games with people from Cincinnati before and they were gracious enough to bring over some “Skyline dip” and it was sensational.
Get some Frito’s scoops in that Skyline dip and...*Chef’s Kiss*.
One personal tradition we have before games is, believe it or not, to get some exercise. We throw the football around and attempt to get our “cardio” in that way and then hit the weights for a bit to ensure we don’t feel like total gluttons for the game. Last year, we also engaged in a pregame show, so I sneaked that in during these activities, too (thanks to Matt Minich and John Sheeran taking the reins there!).
For those wondering, yes, we call it “corn hole” in California, too. That game is always out in the street before, during and after the contest—as long as it doesn’t require the missing of any Bengals snaps, of course.
Ping pong has long been a go-to game on Sundays (or Mondays...or Thursdays), with the loser often being punished with less-than-ideal adult beverages being chugged. The table is usually set up where the players can get direct viewing of the game in between rallies. I won’t say too much else, but a different form of pong has also been played on these tables, as well on more than a couple of Sundays.
Halftime and in between quarters definitely call for a lightning round of the bags or table tennis. We also try to mix in a couple of tosses of the football out in the street during the commercials.
Of course, this has changed a bit for me recently, given my duties here at Cincy Jungle. So, while it’s a little play for me on Sundays, I’m also a very small part of an outstanding team bringing you up-to-the minute updates, opinions and news on all things Bengals.
Usually my brother hosts, as he’s the generous one in the family. In Southern California, basements aren’t a thing, so decking out a garage for a hangout lair in lieu of using it for car storage is what we do.
My older brother, who is responsible for the family’s Bengals fanaticism, has taken his immense collection of items and created a “fan cave”. So much so that an area that was once designated as a tool/workbench has been painted and transformed into a Bengals bar top.
Here are some very limited shots of the actual cave, with said workbench area:
A large high-definition television is in prominent display, surrounded by plentiful seating. Given the number of games we’ve watched in this manner, it’s hard to imagine many other ways to watch.
What are some of your favorite ways to watch the Bengals from your house? Share some recipes and snacks you like to grub on during the game. And, if you’ve got traditions, games and the like, let’s hear it!
Who Dey and enjoy the 2021 season—whether it’s at Paul Brown Stadium, an away venue, or within the comfort of your own home!