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Dolphins tailgating: What are your favorite recipes, drinks, and tips?

This chili recipe is my go-to for Miami Dolphins tailgates at Hard Rock Stadium

NFL: SEP 25 Browns at Dolphins Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2022 NFL season is almost here, which means it is almost time to start heading back to Hard Rock Stadium for Miami Dolphins games, which brings the chance to get back to tailgating ... which conveniently brings us to today’s discussion.

We want to talk about tailgating. We all have seen or taken part in a tailgate. We probably have some great experiences that we can share. Today, we want to ask you to do exactly that.

As for the official information on tailgating, the Hard Rock Stadium website lists several important rules to know:

- During the first hour of Miami Dolphins games, fans with blue or orange parking passes are allowed to park where they desire in the parking areas for which they have a valid parking pass. After the first hour, directive parking will begin to ensure efficiency and a smooth traffic flow. If you are parking in the yellow lots, directive parking will be in effect from the time lots open.

- For Miami Hurricanes games and other Stadium events, directive parking will be in effect for all lots from the time lots open.

- Please follow the directives of parking staff.

- Occupy only ONE parking space per vehicle. Spaces may not be saved, obstructed or reserved by guests.

- Tailgate directly behind your vehicle using the designated 8′x10′ space outlined on the ground.

- Drink Responsibly. Guests deemed to be unreasonably intoxicated may be ejected from the Stadium grounds. Activities that encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol (e.g., funnels, drinking games) will not be permitted and are subject to confiscations.

- Kegs of beer are not allowed on the property.

- Underage drinking is illegal. Violators will be subject to ejection and/or arrest.

- Do not block the fire lane, which is needed for emergency response vehicles.

- Box trucks are prohibited, and vehicles may not enter the Stadium with anything in-tow (e.g., grills, trailers, etc.).

- Commercial catering services are prohibited from operation on Stadium grounds.

- Commercial signs and banners and other commercial activities are prohibited.

- Any vehicle or tailgating areas displaying obscene, distasteful or otherwise offensive signs, banners, flags or other materials may be denied admission and/or subject to ejection.

- Music must be played at reasonable volume and shall not contain explicit lyrics. Violators may be ejected. No professional DJ setups are permitted in parking lots.

- Gas and charcoal barbeque grills are permitted; however, open fires (e.g., bonfires, pit fires) are prohibited. You are solely responsible for any damage caused by any use of grills or other tailgate activities.

- Hot coals and flames must be extinguished promptly after use. Do not dispose of charcoal briquettes on the ground. Once briquettes have cooled, place them in a plastic bag and deposit them in a trash bin. You are solely responsible for any damage caused by any use of grills or other tailgate activities.

- Vending and solicitation activities are prohibited.

- Clean up your area before entering the Stadium so it’s safe for you and others.

My additional recommendation to go with all these rules is to remember this is South Florida. It is going to be sunny and warm (or thunder storming). You need to bring water and wear sunscreen. Beer and liquor during a tailgate makes sense, but have water as well. We do not need people getting dehydrated or having heat stroke during the tailgate. That would seem to ruin the fun.

As for my food recommendation, I am a chili guy. I love chili — and you can argue that beans are not supposed to be in chili if you want, but guess what, this is my recipe and I am going to put beans in it. If you do not want to include them, you can feel free to skip them.

This recipe is going to make a lot, like 15 servings lot. I make it in a slow cooker and leave it cooking all day. You can do it the day before, then take it and reheat at the tailgate. I have made this recipe with an extremely full, large slow cooker or I have split it into two slow cookers to not risk an overflow. Both ways work just fine.


  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • 1 lb. hot ground sausage
  • 1 lb. sweet ground sausage

(I have also substituted a pound of turkey for one of the pounds of beef, and it does OK, but, given how much turkey does not like to be flavored, you end up with some chunks of bland turkey so I would recommend sticking with the beef.)

Season (salt and pepper at a minimum; maybe some chili powder or cayenne if you want to add some additional spice) and brown each of the meats. You can stick them in the slow cooker without browning them and they will cook find, but you want the flavor that comes with browning them first.

After the meat is all browned, start mixing the rest of the ingredients in the slow cooker. You need:

  • Two 15-oz. cans of chili/kidney beans (drained)
  • One 15-oz. can of chili/kidney beans in spicy sauce
  • One 15-oz. can of black beans (drained)
  • One 6-oz. can of tomato paste
  • One 4.5-oz. can of chopped/diced green/chipotle chiles (I go with the canned here but fresh works too; go with 2-3 if you want to do the fresh version)
  • 0.5 cup beer (about a quarter bottle — or add more if you want; this really is a swag at how much you want to add); I recommend an ale or a lager, though I have used a vanilla porter as well and it was good, just a little different flavor. Use whatever you want, as each type of beer will add a different flavor and a different texture to the chili — and it is really about what you like.
  • Three pcs bacon finely chopped (or more if you want) (or 2 tbsp. bacon bits)
  • Five cubes of beef bullion
  • Three stalks of celery chopped
  • 2-3 jalapeno chiles chopped — seeded as much as you want. The more seeds left in the chili, the hotter the spice is going to be.
  • One large onion chopped (typically a yellow or sweet, but a red onion could give you a little more sweetness to offset some of the spice)
  • One green pepper seeded and chopped
  • One red pepper seeded and chopped
  • One yellow/orange pepper seeded and chopped
  • 10-12 tomatoes (or 2 28-oz. cans) peeled and diced (including all juice from tomatoes/cans)
  • 0.5 cup chili powder
  • One tbsp. cayenne (more or less depending on how much heat you want)
  • One tbsp. cumin
  • One tbsp. garlic minced
  • One tbsp. oregano
  • One tbsp. hot sauce
  • One tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • One tsp. basil
  • One tsp. black pepper (or more if you want)
  • One tsp. paprika
  • One tsp. salt (or more if you want)
  • One tsp. white sugar

Cook on low on the slow cooker for at least 2-3 hours. The longer the better. Stir occasionally.

Top with as much cheddar cheese as you would like, along with things like sour cream, scallions, etc. Eat it straight like this, or add it on top of something like corn bread, Fritos, macaroni, or however you like to have it — but not on spaghetti. We are better than Cincinnati, right?

What tailgating expertise do you want to share? What is your favorite tailgating tip? You favorite recipe? Your favorite drink? Hit the comments to share.