Tailgating Perfection

I have a confession. I'm not really a football fan. That said, I live in Madison, Wisconsin and, even though I'm not a football fan, I find it hard not to end up cheering for our university's football team, the Badgers. And frankly, part of the reason for that is I've never seen a group of fans tailgate quite like Badger fans. Everything from beer can chicken on little hibachi grills to the ever-famous beer brats make appearances at tailgating parties all over the city when game days roll around. So, in the spirit of winning and making sure you feast well no matter how your team does when they reach the turf, I'm sharing these:

Those aren't just amazing cheesesteaks. Those are amazing cheesesteaks on pretzel hoagie rolls. I've discovered in recent years that all of my favorite sandwiches and burgers are simply more amazing when served on these things. I might have a problem. But I don't care. It's a delicious problem to have! I'll stop saying amazing now. Promise.

Now, do you need to have a tailgating party to make these? Nope. In fact, the last time I made them, we simply enjoyed them out on the patio. It almost counted though, because you could hear cheering and the sounds of the university band wafting from Camp Randall Stadium. You see, my family lives close enough to the stadium to be able to get a pretty good idea of how games are going just by opening a window or sitting outside. See? I follow football. And it's delicious!

Pretzel Roll Cheesesteaks

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon bacon fat (or other cooking fat)
  • 1 pound beef round steak, cut into thin strips
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 onions, sliced into thin wedges
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 pretzel hoagie rolls, split lengthwise
  • 8 ounces shredded cheese of your choice (I used colby jack)

In a small bowl, combine mayonnaise and minced garlic. Cover, and refrigerate until needed. This step can be completed up to 48 hours in advance and the mayo actually tastes better if made ahead of time.

Heat the bacon fat (or other cooking fat) in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the thin strips of round steak until they are lightly browned. Stir in the green pepper and onion, and season with salt and pepper. Continue to sauté until the vegetables are tender; remove from the heat.

Spread each bun generously with the garlic mayonnaise. Divide the beef mixture into the buns. Top with the shredded cheese and place the sandwiches on a baking pan.

Broil the sandwiches in the oven (about 6-8 inches from the heating element or they might burn) until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Serve immediately or wrap tightly in foil and take them to your tailgate party.

  • Yields: 3-4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes