SEC Tailgating Cookbook starts the celebration before kickoff

Each of the 14 schools in the SEC have their own section of the cookbook, detailing Game Day favorite recipes, drinks and tailgating traditions. Used with permission of SEC Tailgating Cookbook staff. 

Emily Baehner

College football is an athletic tradition like no other, and for fans in the South, Game Day is its own special culture. In fact, one of the most important parts of Game Day occurs even before kickoff— the tailgate. 

It is the importance of the tailgate itself that inspired The All-New Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook: Great Food, Legendary Teams, Cherished Traditions, published on Aug. 7. 

“The tailgate provides a central place for tailgaters to meet at before the game and return to after it,” said April Colburn, the editor of the cookbook. 

The All-New Official SEC Tailgating Cookbook is offering ways to make that special game day ritual even more impactful. Written by the editors of Southern Living, the cookbook is a guide to tailgating cooking and features more than 150 recipes, including sections tailored specifically to each of the 14 NCAA Southeastern Conference football teams. The recipes are designed to be eaten with ease, whether you’re tailgating at home or at your favorite team’s stadium. 

Each team has four recipes, unique to its university, as well as a customized spritzer, special jalapeno popper and a personalized whoopie pie. The page layout for each SEC university also profiles the team with information on school traditions, revered football moments, legendary coaches and athletes, and photographs. “Tent Talk” sidebars provide fast football facts that readers can use to quiz fellow tailgaters.

In addition to features for each team, the cookbook includes a forward by SEC Television Network radio and television host Paul Finebaum and a “Pregame Rituals” chapter offering readers instructions on what supplies to bring to their tailgate, advice for firing up the grill and tips for getting the party started.

Recipes were developed in their Test Kitchens, with the hope of creating a menu for each school, featuring unique flavors reflective of that school’s region or state or foods traditionally eaten on game day at that campus. The Kentucky menu was no exception. 

“The Hot Brown is classically associated with Kentucky, and in our recipe, we transform this traditionally open-face turkey sandwich into sliders that are easier to eat when tailgating,” Colburn said. “The Kentucky Lemon-Mint Punch is inspired by the iconic Mint Julep, but we’ve made it with Ale-8, a beloved Kentucky soda.”

In addition to the Game-Day Hot Brown Turkey Sliders and the Kentucky Lemon-Mint Punch, the UK menu features Loaded Potato Skins and a Green Bean Benedictine Salad. This section, as well as the entire cookbook, is officially endorsed by the SEC, giving it the official game day stamp of approval. 

A press release for the book from publicist Kourtney Stockmen priced the book at $24.99.

Colburn said the book is an all-new edition of Southern Living’s The Official SEC® Tailgating Cookbook previously published in 2012. She credits the passion of SEC fans and their devotion to showing up for games each year to leading Oxmoor House to create a new book to give fans the food to celebrate their favorite teams. 

“Good food and drink consoles us in loss and revs up the party in victory,” Colburn said.