Celebrity Chefs Take Big Game Recipes to New Heights

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 05: Ingredients for Bread Crumb, Blueberry Gimlet, Clam Chowder Cocktail Sauce, Lobster Meatball, Mignionette for Lobster Bar Favorites class by Ed McFarland of Ed's Lobster Bar are seen during Day 1 of the New York Culinary Experience 2014 presented by New York Magazine and the International Culinary Center at International Culinary Center on April 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The New York Culinary Experience)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 05: Ingredients for Bread Crumb, Blueberry Gimlet, Clam Chowder Cocktail Sauce, Lobster Meatball, Mignionette for Lobster Bar Favorites class by Ed McFarland of Ed's Lobster Bar are seen during Day 1 of the New York Culinary Experience 2014 presented by New York Magazine and the International Culinary Center at International Culinary Center on April 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for The New York Culinary Experience) /

Looking for some Big Game recipes from your favorite celebrity chefs? Now that we know who’s playing in the Big Game on February 7th, it’s time to start planning our menu.

Big Game recipes are delicious, but first, I can’t help but wonder why the folks in the NFL hierarchy won’t let people call it by its given name and insists that it be referred to as the “Big Game”? Do organizers force writers to call the Kentucky Derby “the Big Horse Race” or the Olympics “the quadrennial extravaganza with many different events”? NO! When Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt named it the Super Bowl in 1966 (like how I snuck the official name in there by using a historical reference?), I’m sure his intent wasn’t for the event’s moniker to only be used selectively. But I digress…

While Big Game parties may be frowned upon this year, that likely won’t negate the desire to build a great game day menu, so who better than to help with that than some of the food world’s most talented chefs?

Not only does Anne Burrell share her “Killer Mac & Cheese with Bacon” recipe, but she also weighs in on what sets it apart from other, often pedestrian versions of the comfort food favorite.

“Everyone thinks of mac and cheese as comfort food, but there’s a lot of bad mac and cheese out there, and frankly, that food makes me Uncomfortable! Great mac and cheese should be creamy and tangy and luscious—it should get me excited with every bite. I promise that this recipe is what mac and cheese should be. And it’s got bacon! What could be better?”

big game recipes from Anne Burrell
Anne Burrell’s Killer Mac & Cheese With Bacon, photo provided by Anne Burrell /

Mise En Place

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 slices bacon, cut crosswise into ½-inch strips
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, cut into ¼-inch dice
  • Kosher salt
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 quart whole milk, plus more as needed
  • 1 pound shells or other short pasta
  • 2 cups freshly grated Cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups freshly grated Fontina cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano
  • ¼ cup Dijon mustard
  • Tabasco or other hot sauce, to taste

1.       Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a large saucepan, add the bacon, and bring the pan to medium heat; stir the bacon occasionally. When it’s brown and crispy, 6 to 8 minutes, remove it from the pan, drain on paper towels, and reserve that deliciousness. Do not discard the bacon fat!

2.       Add the butter and onion to the pan with the fat, season with salt, and cook until the onion is soft and aromatic, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the flour and cook, stirring frequently, for 4 to 5 minutes or until the mixture looks like wet sand. Slowly whisk in the milk, season with salt, bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer; cook over low heat for 8 to 10 minutes more or until the mixture is slightly thicker than heavy cream.

3.       In the meanwhile, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the past to the boiling water and cook for 1 minute less than the instructions on the package suggest. Taste it: It should be toothsome with just a little nugget of hard pasta still in the center-this is al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve.

4.       Add the Cheddar, Fontina, and Parmigiano to the milk mixture and whisk to combine. Add the mustard and a few shakes of Tabasco; taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, adding a little more milk if the mixture seems too thick. Stir in the cooked bacon and pasta. The mixture should be very creamy and flavorful. Serve immediately or transfer to a baking dish or ramekins and reheat in a 375 degree oven.

“Now that’s killer!”

Looking for more big game recipes that will impress even the biggest foodie?

Not only does Chef Anne’s recipe sound killer, but her use of the words “wet sand” in it immediately had me picturing a day at the beach. And what’s more representative of eating beachside than lobster? Fortunately, we invited Chef Ed McFarland, owner of the eponymous Ed’s Lobster Bar, to our Big Game party.

Big Game recipes from celebrity chefs
Ed McFarland’s Lobster Meatballs, photo provided by Ed McFarland /

Ed McFarland’s Lobster Meatballs (serves 8-10)

  • 2 loaves Italian bread
  • 1 ½ pounds cooked lobster, ground
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½ bunch chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley for garnish
  • 2 ¼ cups grated cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 cups marinara sauce
  • Olive oil

1.        Remove crusts and soak the bread in water.

2.        Place ground lobster, garlic, parsley, 2 c. cheese, salt and pepper in a large mixing bowl.

3.        Strain the bread using a colander and squeeze out any excess water. Break pieces of bread into bowl and mix together with other ingredients.

4.        Adjust seasoning if necessary, then add eggs and mix.

5.        On the stovetop, use a saucepan to heat marinara sauce on low.

6.        Pour olive oil into a frying pan so that it is halfway filled and cook on medium heat.

7.        Gently form meatballs in your hands, making sure not to squeeze.

8.        Fry meatballs until golden on both sides and place into the warm marinara sauce (see below for marinara recipe) for approximately 10 minutes.

9.        Garnish meatballs with remaining cheese and parsley. Serve over linguine if desired.

Chef Ed McFarland’s Marinara Sauce

  • 2 small cans of tomato sauce
  • 5 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 5 basil leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sugar to taste

1.        Lightly puree tomato sauce without crushing the seeds and set aside

2.        Crush the garlic

3.        Sweat garlic in pan on low heat with oil so it is soft but does not burn

4.        Add red pepper flakes and basil and cook for 2-3 minutes over same low heat

5.        Add tomato sauce and bring to a boil

6.        Add salt, pepper, and sugar to taste if desired

7.        Simmer for 15 minutes

8.        Set aside

Big Game recipes include chicken wings
Judy Joo’s Fried Chicken, photo provided by Judy Joo /

It’s hard to miss the soaring popularity of Korean fried chicken, so we’re lucky to be able to share Chef Judy Joo’s thoughts on the dish, as well as the recipe for her Ultimate Korean Fried Chicken.

“I have always loved fried chicken. But even though I grew up eating it in America, for me, “KFC” stands for Korean fried chicken. There are many different versions, but what they all have in common is a very thin, hard crisp coating, which comes from using cornstarch instead of flour, as well as double frying. My take on the dish, which includes vodka and matzo meal, is a little unorthodox and has a fair number of ingredients, but I call it “ultimate” for a reason. Two things make it even better: its customary accompaniment of Cubed Pickled Radish and ice-cold beer.”

Pickled Radish Cubes:

  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 1 pound Korean white radish or daikon, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • Pinch of black sesame seeds, for serving (optional)


  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt or sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 chicken drumsticks, 2 thighs, and 4 wings (with tips)

BBQ Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons Korean chile paste (gochujang)
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or minced
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  • ½ cup cornstarch
  • ¼ cup fine matzo meal
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons gochugaru (Korean chile flakes)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • 2 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 ½ teaspoons onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup vodka (or any neutral-tasting 40 proof alcohol)
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chile paste)


1.        In a large bowl, stir together the vinegar, sugar, salt, and ½ cup water until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the radish and toss to coat. Cover and let marinate at room temperature for about 24 hours, then refrigerate. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds when serving.


1.        In a large bowl, stir together the cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and a generous amount of pepper.

2.        Add the chicken and toss to coat. Transfer the chicken to a wire rack, shaking each piece to remove any excess coating. Let sit, uncovered, at room temperature for about 1 hour.


1.        Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine all the sauce ingredients and simmer until slightly thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. The sauce can be either served with the chicken or drizzled over it. If you prefer the latter, remove it from the heat on the early side so it’s a little thinner. Set aside; the sauce is best warm or at room temperature.

2.        Shortly before cooking, in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pot at least 5 inches deep, heat 2 inches of vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 F.


1.        While the oil is heating, in a large bowl, whisk together the cornstarch, matzo meal, flour, chile blakes, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and baking powder. In a small bowl, whisk together the vodka, chile paste, and 1 cup water.

2.        Right before you’re ready to fry the chicken, whisk the vodka mixture into the cornstarch mixture. (Don’t do this in advance or the resulting batter may thicken too much as it sits. The consistency should be relatively thin and runny.)

3.        Working in two batches, with the legs and thighs together as one batch and the wings as the other, dip each piece of chicken into the batter, letting any excess drip off. Suspend the chicken in the oil for a couple of seconds to set the crust before letting it slip completely into the oil; otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pot. Fry the chiken, flipping halfway through, until golden brown and cooked through, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack or paper towel-lined plate to drain. Let the oil return to 350 F before cooking the second batch.

4.        Serve the chicken with the BBQ sauce either drizzled on top or on the side.

Whether you grill indoors or outdoors, Chef Michael Schulson’s Filet Mignon Robata is sure to please. In a nod to Japanese-style fireside cooking, this recipe will take your Big Game spread to a new heights.

Serving Size: 2 people (4 skewers)

Time To Prep/Time To Cook: 10 min/8 min

Technique Tip: A spray bottle really is the perfect way to glaze the meat with the sauce. It goes on so evenly.

Swap Option: Lamb Chops

Why Chef Schulson Loves This Big Game Recipe: It’s the perfect party dish and is so easy to make. It’s fun too!

  • 4 oz ea filet
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 skewers

1.        Cut the filet into small cubes

2.        Place 3 cubes on each bamboo skewer. Use 2 skewers so filet doesn’t spin around when you turn.

3.        Heat grill to medium high. Season filet with salt and pepper, and spray grill with non-stick spray. Grill the skewer for approximately 8 minutes (3-4 min on each side), until lightly charred, making sure to brush or spray the meat with the sauce as they are grilling. Make sure to turn them often.

4.        Garnish each skewer with chopped scallion.

Yakitori Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • 2 shallots whole
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, whole
  • ½ cup sake
  • ½ cup mirin
  • ¼ cup sugar

1.        In medium-sized pan, heat the oil

2.        Add the shallots, ginger, and garlic, and char until brown

3.        Add the sake and cook out the alcohol

4.        Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 5 minutes

5.        Strain and set aside

Big game recipe that is healthy eating
Roco DiSpirto’s Keto Burger, photo provide by Roco DiSpirto /

If your own Big Game party won’t be the same without a burger, why not let Rocco DiSpirito help you wow everyone with a healthy take on a universal favorite?

Rocco DiSpirito’s Keto Comfort Bacon Burger

  • 1 ½ pounds ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
  • ¼ tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • Olive oil or avocado oil cooking spray
  • Bibb lettuce or large collard green leaves (midrib removed)
  • 4 tablespoons oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, whole
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked to crisp and cut in half

1.        In a medium bowl, mix together the beef, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, sea salt, and pepper, combining with your hands until well-blended. Form into 4 equal-sized patties. Set aside.

2.        In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the spinach and saute until just wilted. Remove from the skillet and set aside.

3.        Coat saute pan generously with cooking spray. Cook the burgers over medium-high heat on both sides until cooked through, 5 to 6 minutes per side. Drain the burgers on a plate lined with paper towels.

4.        Place each burger on top of a large leaf. Dividing evenly, top with the spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, and bacon. Wrap the burgers in the leaves and enjoy them “bunless”.

Wanna round out your Big Game recipes menu with a little zing? Chef Geoffrey Zakarian has the perfect recipe!

BBQ Chicken Wings with Blue Cheese Butter

Total Time: 40 min

Serves: 4

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 ounces Roquefort or other blue cheese, crumbled, room temperature
  • ½ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce
  • ½ cup canned piquillo peppers in brine, drained well
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 ½ pounds chicken wings, separated at the joint, tips reserved for another use
  • Canola oil, for frying

1.        In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter and 4 ounces of the blue cheese until very smooth. Transfer to a serving bowl and set aside at room temperature.

2.        In a blender, puree the BBQ sauce, piquillo peppers, 1 teaspoon of the cumin and 1 teaspoon of the paprika until smooth. Pour into a large mixing bowl, large enough to hold all of the wings. In a shallow dish, whisk together the flour, remaining cumin and paprika, and season it with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the wings with salt and pepper. Fill a deep, heavy pot with 6 inches of oil and heat to 365 degrees F, or preheat a deep fryer.

3.        Toss the chicken wings in the seasoned flour until well-coated, shaking off the excess flour. Fry in batches until gold brown, crisp, and cooked through, about 13 minutes. Drain briefly on paper towels before adding them to the sauce and tossing them to coat while they are still hot.

4.        Transfer the wings to a serving platter. Dollop a little of the blue cheese butter on top of the wings to melt; serve the rest on the side for dipping. Sprinkle the remaining blue cheese over the top and serve immediately.

Okay, now cross the hot dogs off your Big Game shopping list and stick the takeout menu from your neighborhood pizzeria back in the drawer, because these renowned chefs have armed you with everything you need to create a winning menu. Just don’t spike one of Chef Zakarian’s chicken wings in celebration. That could get messy.

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Which of these celebrity chef recipes will you add to your Big Game menu? What dish of yours is a mainstay for the Big Game every year?