For the best food on game day, tailgaters need to pack some essential condiments. Keep this list handy and add a few of your own to perfect any Ravens feast.
- Old Bay – A time-honored Baltimorean tradition (for over 70 years), this little yellow can packs all the good stuff with a world-famous blend of 18 herbs and spices. No Ravens tailgater should leave home without this zesty seasoning that is not only the #1 seafood spice, but also tastes great on everything else. Apply liberally or lovingly on any kind of potato (fried, mashed or baked), chicken (especially fried), hamburgers, popcorn, macaroni, dips, deviled eggs, etc. Even for the healthiest of fans, steamed veggies are no longer boring when this spice is in the mix. And don’t forget about Bloody Bay Marys!
- Vinegar – Where there’s Old Bay, must come vinegar. Whether for fries, crab, salads or another delicious concoction, vinegar has a revered spot at every tailgate party. Moreover, vinegar is a cost-effective, non-toxic cleaning solution that can tackle even the toughest stains, including grills.
- Ketchup – As a staple tailgating condiment, ketchup completes hot dogs, burgers and fries. It is also the base for a multitude of delectable sauces. A good rule of thumb is that the more kids in the party, the bigger the bottle required.
- Spicy Mustard – While the yellow kind will do, Marylanders have a special love for the bold and spicy tastes (similarly rooted with our loyalty to Old Bay). Dijon and honey mustards are likewise great options for creating an unforgettable taste that sticks with you until game time.
- Mayonnaise – As another essential tailgating condiment, it was traditionally believed that the more mayo added, the tastier the dish. Although it is easy to go overboard with this condiment by coating burgers or dumping into potato salads, a small dollop mixed in with other spices or condiments (try horseradish or relish) can pack more punch without worrying about unhealthy side effects.
- Pickles – A long-time favorite and versatile condiment, pickles can be used as a quick-grab appetizer or as toppings for burgers, sandwiches and dogs. Additionally, this vegetable comes in so many styles (spicy, sweet, sour, relish) that more than one jar may be necessary, or you can switch it up each game depending on the foods available. Since relish is made from pickled cucumbers, tailgaters can opt for one or the other or choose both for an extra serving of veggies.
- BBQ Sauce – Slather up the ribs and chicken. Enough said.
- Hot Sauce – With lots of tempting hotness to choose from like Tabasco, Texas Pete’s or the more creative Sriracha (an Asian hot sauce), this condiment is ketchup for adults. Also, it’s ideal for early-morning games where eggs, sausage and hash browns can always benefit from a few squirts.
- McCormick Grill Mates Steak Seasoning – With McCormick’s headquarters located in northern Baltimore, it’s no surprise that this seasoning is a regular at tailgating parties. Adding a superb flavor to steaks, potatoes and vegetables, the steak seasoning is just one of McCormick’s many Grill Mates options. For example, the Grill Mates Onion Seasoning can be the inspiration for a truly juicy onion burger or lean towards more traditional with its flavorful hamburger blend. Either way, the result will be mouthwatering.
- Season-All – A step up from traditional table salt, this seasoned salt has a perfect blend of heat and savory herbs for meats like ribs, beef, chicken and pork, yet is equally delicious on vegetables like potatoes (or fries). Plus, it already includes black pepper so you can bring just one condiment instead of two. An added bonus for those watching their salt intake, pick up the reduced-sodium Season-All with 25 percent less sodium and most taste buds won’t recognize the difference.
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Keri Ann Beazell is a Baltimore writer following the latest developments in arts and culture, natural wonders, lifestyle and pets. She enjoys promoting thought-provoking discussions, education, new ideas and smiles among readers. Follow her on Twitter at @KtBlue16 and online at Examiner.com