These local chefs’ recipes will help you ‘homegate’ this NFL season

Vegas Raider dog
Photo: Wade Vandervort

Just because we can’t watch our new hometown NFL team, the Raiders, at the brand-new Allegiant Stadium in person this season doesn’t mean we can’t take part in the time-honored sports tradition of tailgating—or, in these social distancing times, homegating. Las Vegas Weekly asked local chefs to share their favorite recipes, so you, too, can cook up a winning feast for game day.

Cory Harwell Chef & owner, Carson Kitchen

“One of the best things about the Raiders moving to Las Vegas is we get a fresh start with a new football team. As Las Vegas Raiders fans, we’re able to create our own traditions as we go along,” Harwell says. “For a great tailgate, food, fun, booze and music are all mandatory. Enjoy delicious food, play some games, throw the football around, make cocktails or pop open your favorite beers and jam out to music. For me, tailgating is about celebrating your team, your city and each other.”

Vegas Raiders Dog


• 1/4 hot dog, wrapped in bacon

• 1 cup mac and cheese

• 1 jalapeño

Method: Dice jalapeño, and mix with mustard of your choice. Wrap hot dog in bacon and put on grill or griddle. Cook completely. Place in bun with jalapeño and mustard on both sides. Top with mac and cheese. Shove it in your face!

John Alers Executive chef, The Front Yard at Ellis Island

For tailgating, Alers says he’ll usually serve up a whole roasted pig or break out the smoker and do a smoked brisket or pulled pork. “Also, someone needs to bring the Jamonade, the Jameson cocktail we created for tailgating,” he says. “Good friends, good food and some fans that like to push boundaries of having a good time with a little trash talking” are the other elements that make for a great game day.

Elote Dip

Elote Dip

Elote Dip


• 2 cups frozen corn kernels

• 6 oz cream cheese

• 1 tbsp Tajin

• 1 tsp granulated garlic

• 1/4 tsp cumin

• 2 oz sour cream

• 1 tbsp Cholula Hot Sauce

• 2 tbsp queso fresco

Method: Place all ingredients in large metal mixing bowl and mix with spatula. Serve cold or heat on stove in pan to 150 degrees. Serve with your favorite tortilla chips.

White Sangria

White Sangria

White Sangria


• 3 limes (thinly sliced into rounds)

• 3 lemons (thinly sliced into rounds)

• 3 oranges (thinly sliced into rounds)

• 1/4 cup Orange Vodka

• 1 750 ml bottle dry, crisp white wine (Pinot Grigio or Moscato)

Method: Mix all items, put in refrigerator and strain fruit for 24 hours. Serve over fresh Ice and garnish with fresh cherry, orange, lemon and lime.

Quinton Carter Founder, Big Jerk Caribbean

Carter has actually never been tailgating, but that’s understandable. The former Denver Bronco had other things to do on game day. “My experience has been watching people setting up days before and spend time with friends, the sounds and the smells and the carnival vibe. I think it’s so important to create that energy,” he says. And as for what makes a great tailgate party, now that he owns a popular Caribbean jerk joint? “I would say great food—I think that’s the point! I think you also need some good fan gear and a love for the sport, and good unity—fans from both teams should be getting together to share a plate.”

Curry Rice for a Crowd

Curry Rice


• 1 oz vegetable oil

• 2 tbsp curry powder

• 1 medium diced carrot

• 1 tbsp minced ginger

• 2 tbsp minced garlic

• 1 minced habanero pepper

• 2 minced shallots

• 2 tbsp salt

• 2 tbsp pepper

• 4 cups rice

• 4 thyme stems

• 8 cups coconut milk

Method: Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Once simmering, add curry powder, carrots, ginger, garlic, habanero, shallots, salt, pepper and rice. Toast rice with the vegetables, stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Once you can smell the toasted rice, add coconut milk and thyme and stir on low heat until pot comes to a boil. Stir again and cover, cook on low until rice is tender, approximately 90 minutes. Remove thyme stems before serving.

Jeff McCarthy Chef, Distill

“I have several great memories of tailgating outside of Sam Boyd Stadium during all the home games. The rivalries made for some friendly competition and great expectations for an intense football game. I cannot wait to tailgate again with my family and friends,” McCarthy says. For him, a great tailgate includes a spacious outdoor area with a lot of room for cornhole and drinking games, along with space for cooking, grilling and even smoking meats. “Another key element is the people—friends, family and fans getting together to show their team pride while digging into some great food and having an amazing time.”

Smoked Brisket

Smoked brisket


• 6 lbs beef brisket

• 1 tbsp yellow mustard

• 1/4 cup dark brown sugar

• 3/4 cup paprika

• 2 tbsp chipotle chili powder

• 1/4 cup black pepper

• 2 tbsp garlic powder

• 1/4 cup salt

• 2 tbsp onion powder

• 1 tbsp cayenne pepper

Method: Trim fat cap on brisket to about 1/4 to 1/8 of an inch. Coat brisket lightly with yellow mustard. Mix sugar and spices together to form rub, then apply it to both sides of meat. Place brisket in preheated 194-to-205-degree smoker until meat reaches internal temperature of 185 to 195 degrees, about 1 1/2 hours per pound. Once internal temperature is reached, remove brisket from smoker and allow it to rest for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

Bruce Kalman Chef & owner, SoulBelly

“I love cooking chicken legs, burgers, brats and ribs, along with some seasonal vegetable sides. My wife makes this killer sweet corn casserole that people salivate over,” Kalman says. To round out a memorable tailgate party, add great beverages and some fun activities for friends. “I love outdoor activities like cornhole and horseshoes, and of course some killer tunes.”

Chicken with Chipotle Cider Glaz

Chicken with Chipotle Cider Glaze


• 4 tbsp 90/10 olive/canola blend

• 4 tbsp chipotle in adobo (pureed)

• 1 cup fresno chile (stems and seeds removed, sliced)

• 1/3 cup red onions (julienned)

• 3 sprigs thyme (tied together)

• 1 tbsp kosher salt

• 2/3 cup granulated sugar

• 1 quart apple cider vinegar

• 3 cups honey

Method: In a medium sauce pot, combine first six ingredients. Cook over medium heat, about 10 minutes. Add sugar until completely dissolved, about 3 minutes. Add vinegar and honey, and reduce to a thin glaze consistency, about 15 minutes. Remove thyme bundle and transfer to blender; blend on high until smooth. Let cool.

For the chicken

• 12 chicken drumsticks

• 1 tbsp olive oil

• 2 tbsp kosher salt

• 1 tbsp ground black pepper

Method: Preheat oven to 350F. Mix all ingredients, and coat chicken evenly. Transfer to baking sheet, and roast until chicken reaches internal temperature of 150F, about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and coat chicken well with glaze. Cook on grill to crisp skin and get some char; continue to brush with glaze. When chicken reaches internal temperature of 165F, remove from grill and dip in glaze for final coating.

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Genevie Durano

As deputy editor at Las Vegas Weekly, Genevie Durano covers the Valley’s dining scene. Previously she lived in New York ...

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