Chef Derrell Smith upgrades tailgating recipes with this versatile ingredient

(Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for NYCWFF)
(Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images for NYCWFF) /

While many people have tried and true tailgating recipes, Chef Derrell Smith, the force behind Mad Good Food on Tastemade, is encouraging foodies to step outside of their comfort zone. With this versatile ingredient, football watching is taking on an even more flavorful direction. Ready to discover something new?

Food trends go in many directions. Sometimes cooks push the flavor boundaries with bold spices, creative ingredient combinations and out of the box ideas. On the other hand, traditional ingredients that have been a pantry staple can get a new look.

While some people might not instantly think to pair SPAM and tailgating recipes, the reality is that this food combination needs to be part of the conversation. That pantry staple is more than just the spiced ham with a long storied history. For some chefs, that canned meat offers an opportunity to push the culinary creativity.

How does Chef Derrell Smith use SPAM in his tailgating recipes?

Anyone who has watched Mad Good Food appreciates that Chef Smith often thinks outside of the box. When asked about using SPAM, he responded quite candidly. “I am a huge fan of the SPAM brand. I think it’s a very versatile ingredient that I like to experiment with in fun and interesting ways.”

Although many people have used SPAM in hash, Chef Smith wants people to think beyond the traditional. For example, he said, “It can be candied and sprinkled on ice cream, or mixed with chopped olives and cheese and used as a filling for empanadas.”

For tailgating, Chef Smith wants more people to put SPAM on that table. He said, “with football season in full swing, we’re all trying to think of simple yet different and flavorful snacks to serve up when watching the game with friends and family. My SPAM Cheese Olive Empanada recipe can help with that. The chimichurri drizzled over the crispy empanada stuffed with savory SPAM Classic, cheese and olives is mwah – chef’s kiss!”

This recipe might surprise everyone on gameday. It might even be the food you don’t explain all the ingredients until after everyone enjoys it. Sometimes changing people’s food expectations starts with just one bite.

Chef Smith even had that epiphany about using SPAM. He explained, “I also appreciate the different SPAM varieties you can choose from. Just the other day I saw SPAM Jalapeño and immediately my culinary right-brain started to think about all the cool or corky things I can do with it. Such a seamless staple for any pantry, from a college student living in a dorm to tailgates with friends to a parent feeding a family after work, in my opinion, the SPAM brand is a must-have.”

Whether it is time to discover one of Chef Smith’s ideas, some SPAM Fries, Saucy Sliders or even a Hawaiian influenced Piggies in a Blanket, the SPAM website has a plethora of options. From the food adventurous to the slightly more reserved, there is a recipe that fits every profile.

And, which tailgating recipes does Chef Smith recommend ending the event on a sweet note? His Skillet Cobbler recipe is a top choice that is always a crowd pleaser.

light. Related Story. Ali Fedotowsky shares simple ingredient swaps that are crowd pleasers

What tailgating recipes always score with at your gathering? Do you look for creative ingredients or do you stay within the flavor box?