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3 Florida State inspired tailgating recipes you didn’t know you needed

Syndication: Tallahassee Mitchell Martin/FSView, Tallahassee Democrat via Imagn Content Services, LLC

FLORIDA STATE — Tailgating season is soon to be upon us and, quite frankly, one of the best places to do it is outside of Doak Campbell Stadium on a Saturday night with a high-stakes game on the line — particularly an arch-rival. If that’s the case, get some gator tail or some chicken (not sure if you can eat tiger or an iced-out goose), skip the keg stand, tip a cap at the statue of the late Bobby Bowden, and crack open the doors to your tailgate like you would a beer with these three ‘Nole-inspired recipes.

Bowden Burgers with Spicy Duke’s Mayo

Naming a burger after a legend is bold in my book and nothing will ever do Bobby Bowden justice, however, the secret to a good burger always starts with chuck and an 80/20 meat-to-fat ratio is a good mix. If you can't find 80/20 you can always grate some cold butter into the ground beef before you patty them out (actually, just do that anyways.)

The Burger

  • 2 pounds of ground chuck (makes 8 14 pound burgers)
  • Mustard or Spicy Duke’s Mayo (For brushing. See below for recipe)
  • Sea salt/black pepper
  • American cheese
  • Bacon or potato chips (optional)
  • Red onion
  • Pickles
  • Beefsteak tomato

The Bun

The bun is a personal preference but one key thing needs to happen with it. Brioche or sesame seed works the best just make sure you toast the top and bottom on both sides of whichever bun you choose. You can rub it with butter, canola oil, grape seed oil, or bacon grease, and sprinkle a little smoked paprika on it with a tiny bit of salt to get the bun nice and toasty on the grill. This ensures that your bun won't get soggy and fall apart from all the juices coming out of the burger.

*You can also put a piece of lettuce on the bottom as well to help.

Spicy Duke’s Mayo

  • 4 tablespoons of Duke’s Mayo
  • 2-3 tablespoons of ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce (or to taste)
  • About four splashes of Chipotle Tabasco or your favorite hot sauce you just don’t want to go too hot
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of smoked Paprika
  • 3 teaspoons of good quality bourbon
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper

Combine and whisk together the mayo ingredients.

Get your hands wet with some water and roll 8 burgers into balls before you patty them out (they should be around a 14 inch thick and a little bit bigger than your bun.) Create a little divot in the middle of the patty with your thumbs to get an even cook when they inevitably start looking like footballs and shrink. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and you're done. You can also mix in some Worcestershire sauce before you start rolling.

Cook the burger how you like it (about 7 minutes on high heat for medium) and after your first turn, brush the freshly grilled side with mustard. Do the same on the next turn.

If you want cheese on your burgers, get two slices of American cheddar (make a star), put them on a freshly flipped burger, and cover with a metal bowl to get the cheese nice and oozy a few minutes before you take them off the grill.

*Tip: Throw cooked bacon strips underneath the cheese to seal them in, just make sure you watch the amount of salt you use on the burger because chips and bacon both have a high salt content.


Get your toasted (suns out) buns out, put a layer of spicy mayo on the bottom, and a piece of lettuce. Put your burger on and start building it up. There are a few things you can do with the onions that will give it a little extra oomph, such as slicing them into a bowl of red wine vinegar, salt and sugar for an hour beforehand to pickle them. You can also cut big chunky rings to char on the grill, you could flop coleslaw on top, pickles, potato chips —have fun with it.

*Serve with a cold Dr. Pepper and you might just attract a wild Gene Deckerhoff to your tent

Jameis Winston Five Finger Crab Dip

Stop by your local Publix and grab some jumbo crab meat, however, the only five-finger discount you should try to get is high-fiving the store manager on the way out. Then proceed to fluff someone right in the pudding.

All jokes aside, I haven't made a ton of crab dip but it is good at tailgates so I’m going to give this a go and with LSU right around the corner next month, I can't think of a better reason to have some.


  • 1 pound of jumbo, claw or lump crab meat (claw meat has a more distinct crab flavor so it depends on how “crabby” you want it. Claw meat is also finer in texture)
  • 8 ounces of cream cheese
  • 12 cup of Duke’s Mayo
  • 2 green onions (greens chopped)
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 34 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (not the stuff from the plastic bottle that has been sitting in your refrigerator door for the past two college football seasons but actual cheese)
  • 2 teaspoons of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of all-purpose southern seasoning (Slap Ya’ Mama, Old Bay, Everglades, Cajun Two-Step. You could swap it out with 1 teaspoon of Louisiana crab boil)
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of hot sauce

Combine ingredients and fold in the crab meat and chill. If you wanna get crazy, bake it in the oven at 325 F for 20-25 minutes until it gets golden on top.

*Serve with a cold American full-flavored beer or IPA, your drink of choice, or...

O’Leary’s “Hit by a Bus” Bourbon Bramble

I will never turn down a chance to use this clip of former tight-end Nick O'Leary plowing through Clemson's Travis Blake like a dump truck. He is still probably picking up his teeth from that hit.

*Tip: You can eat crab dip without any teeth — I think. I don’t know ask a Gator fan.

This recipe does not have any mayo in it so you can breathe a sigh of relief and I’m going to credit for it. The only thing I changed was the name of the bourbon but just use the bourbon from the mayo recipe, whichever that may be.


  • 2 ounces of quality bourbon (about a shot and a half depending on your shot glass and how big you want that bus to be)
  • 12 ounce simple syrup
  • 34 ounce of lemon juice
  • 12 ounce of blackberry liqueur
  • Fresh blackberries

Shake the bourbon, syrup, and lemon juice in a mixer with ice and muddle a few blackberries into the bottom of a glass. Pour the mixture over the crushed berries and top with a lemon peel, a floater of blackberry liqueur, and a few more blackberries.

*Please drink responsibly. You know there are going to be DUI checkpoints on every corner at every home game so do us all a favor and plan ahead. Save yourself some money and potentially a life by having a designated driver.

If you have any favorite go-to tailgating recipes or stories, or just want to tell us how these turned out, let us know in the comments section below and we might feature one in the future.