It is time again for our church’s annual Fall Tailgating. This fun event is the kick off for our “new” ministry year and is usually planned to coincide with the first weekend of the kids going back to school in Minnesota. Each of the ministries in the church will set up a vehicle to serve breakfast. This is a convenient way for people to discover and sign up for bible study and service opportunities available for the coming year.
Before moving to the United States, I had never even heard of a tailgating party. It is most definitely an American thing. For the uninitiated, a tailgate party is a social event held around the open tailgate (i.e. the trunk, also known as the boot in Commonwealth English) of vehicles.
Food and beverages are served from the back of station wagons, SUVs, vans, or pickup trucks. People attending such parties are said to be “tailgating”.
Tailgate parties are popular pre-game festivities but they can also be hosted for any other social event like the one I just mentioned. In many ways, it is very practical as it can be held in any open space or parking lot without having to make too many prior arrangements. Each participant brings his/her own food and paraphernalia in their own vehicles. They then park in a row or semi circle and people will mingle from vehicle to vehicle.
Popular foods include picnic staples like hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, chips and dips, and finger foods. Most are precooked and ready to be served but sometimes it may also involve cooking on portable grills.
There are no hard and fast rules but certain foods do work better than others. Foods cooked in a slow cooker are good choices because they keep warm for a longer period of time in the slow cooker insert as compared to other methods of cooked dishes. In this category, chili is always a favorite.
Hence, today’s recipe for Slow Cooker Chili Dogs and Chili Corn Chips which would work nicely served out of any tailgate.
The individual servings of Chili Corn Chips is an idea I borrowed from my sons’ Youth Pastor at church. Some years back, the Youth Pastor organized a fun evening hay ride for the teenagers at a nearby apple orchard. He and his wife also provided the food and I was told later by my boys that they enjoyed hot dogs and Chili Corn Chips by the fire. I thought it was an excellent idea because it was so convenient and portable. There was also no need for dishes or silverware and chili is well liked by all.
This slow cooker bean-less chili is derived from my stove top Chili con Carne recipe that I have used for many years. I changed the proportion of ingredients to make the consistency more suited for slathering on hot dogs and used as a dip for corn chips. I think it worked out quite well and we thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Do give it a try.
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 lb (450g) lean ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans (14.5 oz/411g) diced tomatoes
- 1 can (8 oz/227g) tomato sauce
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp chipotle pepper
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 oz (28g) baking chocolate
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 8 hot dogs
- 8 hot dog buns
- 8 packets single serve corn chips
- Shredded cheese to serve
- Chopped red onions to serve
- Heat vegetable oil in a large fry pan. Add onion and ground beef. Cook until lightly brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and continue to cook for another 30 seconds. Turn off stove. Transfer to slow cooker insert.
- Pour undrained tomatoes and tomato sauce over the beef. Add ground cumin, chipotle pepper, brown sugar, baking chocolate, salt, and pepper. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours.
- Cook hot dogs in boiling water over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Remove with tongs.
- To serve, place hot dogs in buns. Top with chili, shredded cheese, and chopped onions. Open corn chip packets and spoon in 1 to 2 tablespoons of chili. Top with shredded cheese.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 😎