The tailgating experience is always fun, but hosting a successful tailgate at the stadium requires an awful lot of work. There’s the shopping, the packing, the traveling, the setup, the breakdown, and I haven’t even mentioned the cooking yet. However, many fans get a similar tailgating experience, but with several of those steps cut out, by holding the festivities in the comfort of their own home.
Homegating is a popular way to recreate that ultimate game day atmosphere at your house or in your yard, and if you’re trying to bring that Chicago experience home with you, then there are some specific items you need to get.
First off, find yourself a tasty Italian beef that you can either have catered in or make yourself in a crock pot or stove. It’s a perfect homegating food because you put the beef out, have the French bread rolls sliced and ready, offer up some sweet peppers or some spicy giardiniera, and you’re good to go. And bring some Italian sausage to the party for a beef-sausage combo to take your sandwiches to the next level.
Chicago-style hot dogs are another great call for your next homegate party because, just like the beefs, this is another simple item that will bring smiles to your guest's faces. But don’t just grab any dog, get yourself a quality all-beef sausage like one from Vienna Beef. The hot dog not only needs to have a snap to it to get that full Chicago experience, but it should be in a poppy seed bun. As for the toppings, the traditional Chicago style is mustard, relish, onions, tomatoes, kosher pickles, sport peppers, and celery salt, although some go sans the tomatoes, kosher pickles, and celery salt.
Ketchup isn’t optional; it’s forbidden.
Another great call for your homegating spread is the Maxwell Street Polish Sausage. I like my kielbasa charred and split and served on a French roll, but a poppy seed bun is fine too. Mustard and grilled onions are all I need on mine, but some sport peppers can set it off.
Beefs and sausages are a can’t-miss for your homegate, not only because it's such an easy meal to prepare for a party, but also because it tastes outstanding.
All of the above can be found at most grocery stores, so even if you aren’t in the Chicagoland area, you can get a taste of the good stuff wherever you live. But if you really want to take all the work out of your homegate, you can find everything (and a lot more) by getting everything shipped to you from a Chicago original, Portillo’s, that ships to all 50 states.
I can’t mention Chicago-style food without failing to bring up pizza.
I know Chicago is known for its deep-dish pizza, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but most pizzas consumed locally are tavern style. It’s thin, it has a crispy crust, and it’s cut in squares. But whether you have a taste for deep-dish or tavern style, plenty of local places will ship to you for your Chicago Bears’ homegate party.
If you sense a theme in my food choices, it’s that I want things to be as easy as possible, but I will pass along one actual recipe that was recently shared with me that would be a fun addition to your homegate.
Pickle Roll-ups were mentioned on one of our recent podcasts (The Hopium Den featuring JB and his mom!), so I had to get the recipe.
Grab some deli meat like corned beef or pastrami — but anything would work — spread a thin layer of cream cheese on the slice, add in a dill pickle, roll it up and slice it. If you want to get fancy pierce each roll-up with a toothpick.
A classic midwestern appetizer is served!
Now it’s your turn.
When you have some friends or family over for a homegate, how do you prep for your party?
And I’m looking for some recipes!