Top 5 tips: Throw a great American-style party in the UK
One of the world’s worst kept secrets is that I love the Super Bowl. A de facto national holiday in the US, it’s now finally caught on in the UK too, a phenomenon that reflects both growing interest in the sport itself and the fact that we love a good excuse to party. The most crucial ingredient for a cracking Super Bowl is obviously a New England Patriots team firing on all cylinders, but unfortunately this year we’re stuck with that pizza slinging farm boy Peyton.
Still, get together a good crowd, add in a crate or two of decent beer, and throw some quality grub on the table and you’re in for a top night. To aid you in this worthwhile endeavour, here’s my top five tips for Brits looking to nail a Super Bowl party this year. Please make sure to check availability and delivery times with all the suppliers mentioned before ordering to ensure you get your perfect feast in time for the big game.
1) Invest in some proper beer
Probably the most crucial ingredient to a top-notch Super Bowl party is a healthy dose of booze and, really, there’s no excuse to torment your liver with crap lager – treat the big game with a bit of respect by investing in quality craft beer. My personal favourites are Sam Adams, which is pretty widely available these days through the likes of Waitrose and Majestic, as well as Brew Dog’s very American 330ml cans – but you’ll have to order these direct from Aberdeenshire, I suspect. Anything from Meantime also gets the thumbs up and shouldn’t be too hard to find for Londoners – Meantime Pale Ale and Yakima Red come particularly recommended as Super Bowl session beers.
2) Get hip to homemade pulled pork
Pulled pork is as hipster as food gets these days, but don’t let that stop you – you’re guaranteed to impress if you serve some up at your Super Bowl shindig. You could build a homemade smoker or fight against the elements to get the BBQ going, but you’ll also get good results out of the oven – especially if you use great quality meat. It’s the top shoulder of pork or Boston butt that you’re after, and you’d be a fool to look any further than the Ginger Pig when it comes to sourcing your swine. Thereafter, cook the hell out of it low and slow for as long as you have – at least eight hours, but preferably 12 or even 16. The irritatingly useful Felicity Cloake’s recipe for pulled pork is as good a baseline as any. The rest is as simple as buying in some floury white baps, whipping up a homemade slaw, and applying a healthy dab of quality sauce – preferably something based around The Ribman’s legendary Holy Fuck.
3) Look beyond Buffalo (wings)
I love Buffalo wings like I not-so-secretly want Tom Brady’s next child. But for the Super Bowl, I actually tend to break with tradition and serve up a heaping pile of heavily marinated chicken that nods more to the Caribbean jerk-style than to upstate New York. My favourite cut for feeding a crowd is actually the thigh, as the skin crisps up superbly in a standard oven and it offers an optimal meat-to-bone ratio. The trick is to go with a two-stage marinade, starting off with a dry rub – pre-blended is just fine – and then supplementing it with a wet paste after a few hours to really ram in the flavour (chilli, garlic, herbs and lime juice make for a good basis). Again, getting cosy with a good butcher is of the utmost importance here – your guests will notice the difference, I promise.
4) Pimp your nachos
Nachos are as idiot proof a snack as there is – it’s as simple as throwing some cheese on top of tortilla chips, shoving them in the microwave, and then layering on the condiments after. Sour cream, jalapeños, and salsa – is it wrong to think that store-bought actually tastes better in this scenario? – are all de rigueur, but to really elevate your nachos you need to take the time to make some homemade guacamole. This couldn’t be easier: mash up a bunch of avocados, season, then add lime juice, chilli, and maybe some coriander to taste. The only downside is that avocados can cost a pretty penny, so taking a trip to a local market and haggling over a box or two can be well worth the effort.
5) Be a massive jerky
Yeah, you’re going to stock up on crisps and buy in some dips from the supermarket, and that’s fine. But you could seriously raise your snacking game by grabbing some quality homegrown jerky. Enter small-scale producer Billy Franks, who air dries proper British beef from premium breeds like Dexter, Galloway, and Hereford, then goes one better by throwing in the aforementioned Holy Fuck hot sauce, or other equally boom-boom flavours like ‘Cheeseburger’ and ‘Buffalo turkey.’
Think I’ve got it right? Or hopelessly, criminally wrong? Share your thoughts, top Super Bowl tips, and favourite UK food suppliers by leaving on comment here or paying me a visit on Twitter. Indeed, there’s a whole host of other things you could knock up for the Super Bowl, from decadent mac and cheese to super-simple quesadillas. But my final nod is actually one for reducing the in-kitchen workload, and that’s to go the one pot route and nurture a robust chilli con carne, or better still, a Creole-style jambalaya. Good luck finding authentic Andouille sausage in the UK, though – if you’ve got the low-down, I’d love to hear all about it, because I always end up falling back on chorizo or kielbasa. The other essential is plenty of bacon, quality coffee, and a good loaf of sourdough for the morning – no matter how much great scran you dish up on the night, there’s going to be sore heads in the morning!