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Braising The Bears - A Broncos Food Theme

A tailgating menu is displayed in the parking lot outside Soldier Field. The Bears visit the Broncos on Sunday.(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
A tailgating menu is displayed in the parking lot outside Soldier Field. The Bears visit the Broncos on Sunday.(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Chicago Bears come to town this week and while Bronco fans won't be subjected to the pouting visage of Jay Cutler or witness Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller smacking him around like a ping pong ball, they will get to see Caleb Hanie run for his life and be pressured into making mistakes. So you will want to be prepared for an afternoon of enjoyment and that's where today's food theme is heading. I am offering up a beef, a poultry and a pork recipe with a couple of audibles thrown in for good measure. As Emeril Lagasse would say, we're gonna kick it up a notch too. If the weather is cool on Sunday (and you never know with the Rockies in December), I have the concoctions to warm up for game time. Spark up the Grill and lets begin.

The first offering can be served as a starter or an accompaniment and comes courtesy of the Vidalia Onion Committee.

Margarita Onion Salsa Verde

  • 10 small tomatillos, diced
  • 2 cups diced Vidalia onion
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped, or to taste
  • 3 Tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 shot of tequila
  • 2 Tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Combine all the ingredients and season to taste. Add more sugar if it is too acidic. This can be served with grilled meats, such as chicken or pork, or as a salsa with tortilla chips.For the best results, make this ahead of time to allow flavors to meld. This will make about 5 cups.

The next play calls for a Read Option. Once you read it, you'll have the option to run with the first flavoring, or pass to the second method. Just don't let your team down.
This recipe yields Six 4-oz.servings.

Buffalo Jerk Chicken

  • 1/2 cup jerk sauce (recipe below), divided
  • 1 cup vertically sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 4 chicken breast halves (about 1 1/2 pounds), skinned
  • 4 chicken thighs (about 1 pound), skinned
  • 1/2 cup light beer
  • 3 Tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 Tablespoon hot sauce (optional)
  • Cooking spray
  • Julienne-cut green onions
Combine 1/4 cup jerk sauce and next 5 ingredients (1/4 cup jerk sauce through garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add chicken to bag; seal. Marinate in refrigerator overnight, turning occasionally. Remove the chicken from bag and discard the marinade.
Prepare grill to medium-high heat.
Combine the remaining 1/4 cup jerk sauce, beer, ketchup, and hot sauce.
Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 20 minutes or until done, turning and basting frequently with beer mixture. Garnish chicken with green onions, if desired.

Cooking Note:
Boneless chicken breasts take about 9 minutes total to cook on the grill. Chicken thighs/legs take about 20 minutes total and bone-in chicken breasts take about 15 minutes total.

Buffalo Jerk Tailgating Sauce

  • 1 Onion, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic, minced
  • 8 Oz. Butter
  • 1 Cup Hot Sauce
  • 1 Cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup Honey
  • 2 Tablespoons of Fresh Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Coriander
  • 1 Tablespoon Cayenne Pepper or Paprika
  • 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cloves
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Anise
Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Saute the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent. Add the hot sauce, soy sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, honey, ginger, coriander, pepper, cumin, mustard, nutmeg, cloves, and anise. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Makes more than the above recipe calls for, so bottle up and refrigerate the remainder and use at your next Tailgate.

If the Buffalo Jerk just isn't the kind of play to run, you can audible to this instead.

Cajun Spice Rub

  • 2-3 teaspoons cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder or granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground pink or white pepper peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
Combine all ingredients together in a bowl, stirring until well mixed. Thoroughly Rub down the chicken and get your grill on.

Now it's time for the Beef course, because as Sam Shepherd likes to say, "It's what's for dinner." This steak cooks in minutes. To ensure the outside is well browned and the inside pink, keep it cold in the refrigerator until you're ready to grill. Makes 4 servings.

Skirt Steak Diablo

  • 1 16-oz. jar roasted-garlic or other salsa
  • 3 Tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • One 1 1/2-pound skirt or hanger steak

Combine 1 cup of the garlic salsa with the vinegar, oregano, sugar, and salt in a resealable plastic bag. Add the steak and marinate 30 minutes or up to 4 hours.

Light a charcoal grill and allow the coals to burn until covered with gray ash or heat a gas grill to high. Remove the beef from the marinade and cook 3 to 4 minutes, turn, then cook 3 to 4 minutes more or until medium rare. Slice thinly against the grain and serve.

Sounds simple enough doesn't it. Now we're going to move toward the pork entree, because "Pork Fat Rules." Add a little sweetness to smoked pork by adding hoisin sauce and maple syrup to the bourbon marinade, and then balance that sweetness with the acidity of lime juice and rice vinegar. This recipe makes 8 (3 oz.) servings.

Hoisin and Bourbon-Glazed Pork Tenderloin

  • 1 cup hickory wood chips
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons bourbon
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon chile paste with garlic
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins, trimmed
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray

Soak wood chips in water 30 minutes; drain well.
Prepare grill.
Combine hoisin sauce and next 7 ingredients (hoisin through garlic) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.
Slice pork lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Open halves, laying pork flat. Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Add wood chips to grill. Place pork on grill rack coated with cooking spray; cook 5 minutes. Turn and baste pork with hoisin mixture; cook 5 minutes. Turn and baste pork with hoisin mixture; cook 5 minutes or until pork reaches 155° or desired degree of doneness. Let stand 5 minutes; cut pork into 1/2-inch slices.

If that doesn't tickle your taste buds and have the guests salivating, then you aren't game-ready yet. You can stand in line for an $8 Hot Dog. I guess.

Until next week, good eats and...