Let’s Get Ready to Tailgate!

August 29, 2012 | By | Comments (7)
Sausage Poppers and Mini Corn Dogs

Photo by Iain Bagwell

Just a few more days until kickoff, and you can feel the excitement in the air. We’ve already voted for our school in The South’s Best Tailgate and now we’re planning out the perfect game-day spread – because we all know the most important thing is winning the game and the second most important is having the best food. Here’s our strategy:

Pre-Game: Start your party off with a bang. Have one or two dips ready to go for casual munching, like our Loaded Baked Potato Dip (served with a side of waffle fries) or our Warm Gumbo Dip. And generate some pre-game buzz with a team-themed spritzer, like the Ole Miss “Ole” Fashioned.

Kickoff: Everyone’s glued to the screen. You need finger food that won’t interrupt their concentration. Deviled Eggs and Hush Puppies are Southern must-haves, but we’ve got a little something up our sleeves for this weekend: Sausage Poppers and Mini Corn Dogs. Here’s an exclusive Southern Living recipe:

Sausage Poppers
Makes: 24 poppers

12 large fresh jalapeño peppers
1½ cups all-purpose baking mix
½ (1-lb.) package ground pork sausage
1 cup (4 oz.) freshly shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
2 oz. cream cheese, softened

1. Preheat oven to 400°. Cut peppers in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds and membranes. Pat dry with paper towels.
2. Stir together all-purpose baking mix and next 3 ingredients in a medium bowl until thoroughly blended.
3. Stuff peppers with sausage mixture. Place peppers on a lightly greased wire rack in a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan.
4. Bake at 400° for 15 to 18 minutes or until golden brown and thoroughly heated. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Mini Corn Dogs
Makes: 16 servings

2 (8-oz.) packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (14-oz.) package cocktail-size smoked sausages
¼ cup plain yellow cornmeal
32 (4-inch) wooden skewers

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Unroll crescent rolls, and separate into triangles. Cut each triangle in half lengthwise. Place 1 sausage on narrow end of dough triangle, and roll up, pressing dough around ends of sausage to enclose completely. Repeat procedure with remaining dough triangles and sausages.
2. Lightly roll each enclosed sausage in cornmeal. Place sausages 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.
3. Bake at 375° for 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown. Insert a wooden skewer into one end of each wrapped sausage, and serve with spicy ketchup.

Half Time: It’s still anybody’s game and nerves are flying high. Move on to more serious grub, like these Chicken & Honey Sandwiches. You can prepare a super version of this sandwich in a foot-long baguette and cut it up for everyone to grab.

Touchdown! Whether you’re looking to celebrate a victory or drown your sorrows, we say chocolate is the answer. Finish the night with our All-Time Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies. They’ll fly off the platter before you can even say “Who’s ready for next week?”

For more tailgating menus and party ideas, head over to SouthernLiving.com/Tailgating. And if your team’s in the SEC, our new Official Tailgating Cookbook is a football season necessity.


  1. Sara Claro

    @Alyssa and @Audrey, no the sausage is not cooked before putting it in the oven. It cooks with the pepper and baking mix at the same time, like a sausage ball

    September 21, 2012 at 1:35 pm
  2. Cindy

    Yes, sausage should definitely be browned and drained before stuffing into the pepper.

    September 21, 2012 at 7:19 am
  3. Audrey

    I don’t see an answer to the question is the sausage cooked before adding it to the baking mix?

    September 19, 2012 at 2:49 pm
  4. charles

    I tried this to but most of my friend thought the mini corn dogs were to small. They also said the deviled egg needed mustard powder.

    September 1, 2012 at 4:27 pm
  5. Happy Tailgating Y’all! – The Daily South | Your Hub for Southern Culture

    […] Links: Southern Living: Let’s Get Ready to Tailgate! Southern Living: Your Tailgate Party Planner Southern Living: Vote For The South’s Best […]

    September 1, 2012 at 8:12 am
  6. Alyssa

    For the sausage poppers, is the sausage cooked before mixing with the baking mix and cheese?

    August 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm
  7. Linda Raser

    I tried both of these finger foods for my friends. They were a big hit with everyone. It seemed the woman loved the corn dogs and the men devoured the jalepeno sausage poppers. These will definitely be added to my recipe card collection of appetizers. Perfect for sports parties, holiday get togethers and drop in company. Very easy ingredients and so easy to make. Thank you for the great ideas as Tailgating will be even better and better for everyone!

    August 29, 2012 at 4:34 pm

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