While everyone has their go-to favorite tailgating snacks, there are some food that just can't be left off of a game day menu. With pre-season for the Saints quickly drawing to a close and the real gridiron battles set to begin, here are 10 foods fit for parking lot munching that go well beyond picking up pasta salad at Dorignac's:
1. Sausages: Everyone loves a good burger, but sausage provides more options for getting a serious meaty fix. From green chorizo to boudin noir, Cleaver and Co. has a sausage smorgasbord large enough to try out a new variety at each game.
2. Salsa: Dips are the heart and soul of sports-based dining, with salsa a must for any spread. There are a number of solid, spicy options available from Ponchatoula-based Pepperland Farms including chipotle and Chiapas hot flavors.
3. Deviled eggs: I've long lusted after a deviled egg tray, and firmly believe that including them as a part of my tailgating repertoire will finally give me an excuse to purchase one. While the deviled eggs at Toups are technically a la carte, I'm sure if you asked nicely they would box up enough to feed a crowd.
4. Pickles: Whether on top of a burger or as a side item, pickles are a sneaky way to get a little bit more green into your game day diet. If you're tired of the cucumber version, the pickled watermelon rinds from Bread and Circuses Provisions are a down-home twist on the old standby.
5. Barbecue sauce: No matter your grilled meat of choice (I'm a ribs girl, myself) a good barbecue sauce can be a downright religious experience. The spicy sweet barbecue sauce from local company Circle Z Foods will take your asphalt grilling game to the next level.
6. Trail mix: While you could opt for the gas station stuff, the chocolate granola from Gracious Bakery doubles as a rich, decadent trail mix, featuring chocolate chips alongside dried cherries, cranberries and apricots.
7. Chicken wings: Flip the script on traditional chicken wings this year by picking up an order of the Vietnamese-style sticky chicken wings from Mint Modern to ensure everyone's hands are appropriately messy.
8. Potato salad: Some like it hot, some like it cold, but most tailgates wouldn't be complete without a lumpy mountain of potato salad. The dill-dappled version from Cochon Butcher has a perfect punch of Dijon.
9. Soda: Go local with your soda selections by sampling some Swamp Pop options, from the cola-kick of the noble cane soda to the most recent strawberry-flavored release, Ponchatoula pop rouge.
10. Bar cookies: Sure, Chips Ahoy are great, but what about a sweet snack that combines the best of cake and cookies into one saccharine treat? The chocolate-dipped salted caramel pecan bars from Shake Sugary will quell the sweet tooth of even the biggest sugar lover.
What are your essential tailgating foods?