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Kentucky Football Tailgating: Fantastic Food and Where to Find it

The best tailgate food traditions!

Southern Miss v Kentucky Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

What’s one of the best parts of the college football fan experience? Tailgating, of course. And the Big Blue Nation is no stranger to the tailgate experience down in Lexington.

But what makes a good tailgate experience? Well, that depends on who you ask—good friends, drinks all around, and Grove Street playing over the speakers. Those are all integral parts to a fun tailgate, but a good tailgate could be derailed without good food.

So, what’re the best food traditions? Well, let’s find out.

Food that’s ready to go when you are

It’s fun to cook up a beautiful creation of food, but buying food from the right place can turn a good tailgate into a great one. The most important question is what sounds good?

Feeling some wings? You can’t go wrong with Indi’s. Indi’s offers an assortment of wing deals that can include wedges (get them spicy), chicken wings and legs, and even chicken strips. The best part is they can make meals for tailgates of all sizes.

Riding solo? Grab yourself a six or 10-pack of wings and you’re ready to roll. Have a medium size group? Grab 30 or even 50 wings. Got half the parking lot at your tailgate? Grab 100 wings or even more. Now, Indi’s only offer spicy hot or mild sauces, but as one who isn’t normally a fan of mild or hot wings, trust me, it doesn’t get much better.

Not in the mood for wings? What about a bit of a healthier alternative? Penn Station is the way to go. It’s not as expensive or basic as Subway. The options are slightly limited because you’re probably out on hot sandwiches, but they have plenty of cold deli alternatives.

If you have a smaller group, you can likely get individual subs based on each person’s preference and it won’t be too much of a hassle. If you have a large group, go on and order a party tray with whatever you fancy. My go to? The classic Italian sub. It’s always a fan favorite.

OG treats with a little bit of fun

Want to make something yourself, but not be the most basic person at the tailgate? Get creative. I spoke to a few people at Kentucky’s game this past weekend against South Carolina and some of the idea people come up with are awesome.

One Cat fan, Paige Fitzhugh, told me that her group likes creating a menu based on the visiting team’s mascot if they can. The big hit every year is grilling up some gator when the Cats take on Florida. But a new one this season was implemented this past weekend against the Gamecocks.

What kind of meal can you make centered around a Gamecock? I’m glad you asked. I saw dishes ranging from Cock-a-noodle soup, creamy cock spud soup, cocks in a blanket, and many more. It was hilarious and awesome at the same time.

Another member of the BBN, Shannon Haag, told me her favorite theme of the year was Fiesta Time. This group of fans gets out their sombreros and brings Mexico to Lexington. They put together a taco bar, get out a bottle of tequila, and appetize on chips and queso.

The point is you don’t have to go with the same old basic food packages and you don’t have to cater for every game. Get creative and have fun with it!

The basic package

Last but certainly not least, you can never go wrong with the basic package. Hot dogs, hamburgers, buffalo chicken dip, meatballs. The list goes on and on.

While it might seem “basic” after a while, it’s hard to beat the traditional tailgate foods, and it’s usually pretty easy to cook up. Grab a grill or a crock pot and get cookin’!

Tired of the same old, same old? Grab some pinwheels, sloppy joes, and meat, veggie, and fruit trays. While these might not be the most “exciting” foods, they always hit the spot.

Everybody loves a good tailgate—just don’t forget the food!

Let us know in the comments below what your favorite tailgate foods are. Oh, and go Cats!