The NFL 100 year celebration kicks off Thursday night with a matchup of two historic teams, the Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers. These two franchises have developed into a bitter rivalry since the early days of the NFL. Neither one has been able to clearly dominate the other over the years. In fact, the all-time record between the two franchises is 95 wins for the Bears and 97 wins for the Packers with six games tied.
NFL 100 Year Celebration Menu
The rabid Bears and Packers fans have watched each other’s teams rise and fall in dominance ritualistically. As one team becomes the king of the NFC North, the other tends to fall on hard times. Despite the ebb and flow of success for each team, the dates of their two games against each other are always highlighted on the season calendar.
There’s an expression in Chicago that captures this bitterness perfectly. “I don’t care if the Bears are 2-14, as long as the two wins are against the Packers it’s a winning season.” This rivalry is one of the greatest in sports and is a major reason these two teams are kicking off the 100th season.
Today we are going to bring you a Game Day Menu that features two delicacies that capture both of these towns’ culinary infamy. Representing Chicago will their infamous Italian sausage & peppers. Green Bay’s entry into this battle will be brats served in our semi-famous “Brat Tub.” Brats versus Italian in the NFL 100 Year Celebration sausage battle; who will reign supreme? But first, we have to have the appropriate appetizer to start off the night right!
Bears vs. Packers Starters – Wings
It is the opening night of the 2019 NFL season. There is no way we are not having wings on this menu! Actually, wings should be on the menu for every football tailgate and watch party. Today we are bringing you our grilled chicken wings. They are incredibly delicious and also better for you and your guests. If you would however like our recipe and directions for deep-fried wings instead, click HERE.
- 20-25 chicken wings, whole
- Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, black pepper, and Cajun spice (optional)
- BBQ sauce, Franks’s Hot Sauce, garlic parmesan sauce, or Teriyaki sauce
The secret to grilling deliciously juicy chicken wings is in the prep work. First, you should rinse the chicken wings in cold water then dry with paper towels. Next up cut off the tips of the wings, leaving the two meaty parts in one piece. Do not cut the wings any more than that. Leaving the two parts whole is the secret to keeping the wings juicy when grilling.
Set up your grill with 25-30 briquettes in the center piled like a pyramid. Once the coals are hot, place the wings around the outside of the grill grate. Season one side of the wings with the spices then turn over and season the other side. Close your lid and allow the wings to grill for 10 minutes. Next up, take the wings and give them a flip to the opposite side. Grill them 10 minutes longer and check on them again. It is at this point that the wings will be almost ready.
You will want a good char on the skin all over the wings but be careful not to burn them. Remove the wings when done and allow to rest for five to 10 minutes. Check the pan for clear juices from the wings. If the juices appear bloody, back to the grill to finish up.
Once your grilled chicken wings are cooked through, sauce them up in a large bowl using your favorite sauces. You can serve them with the usual celery sticks with ranch or bleu cheese dressing for dipping. Be sure to remind your guests that you grilled your wings because you care about their health. They will probably not believe you, but at least you tried.
NFL 100 Year Entree – Chicago Italian Sausage & Peppers
- 3-4 pounds Italian Sausage
- 6-8 large red/yellow/orange/green peppers
- 1 large sweet onion
- 1 clove of garlic chopped
- Salt, pepper, Lawry’s Seasoning Salt, granulated garlic, grated parmesan cheese
- 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 long loaf of Italian bread
Italian sausage & peppers are an incredibly simple dish to create. You will want to buy your Italian sausage in “the rope” if possible. If you do not have a deli or butcher that carries fresh Italian sausage, you can use the frozen links sold by most grocery stores.
First, grill your Italian sausage indirect with 25-30 charcoal briquettes in the center of your grill. You’re after that impressive char on the outside, while still being juicy on the inside. To test this, you should have a sausage “explode accidentally” on the grill. Take the pieces and share them with anyone hanging around as you cook. Over the years we have had dozens of these kinds of incidents, it’s just part of tailgating.
While the sausage is grilling, it’s time to sauté the peppers and onion. Cut the peppers into one-inch wide strips from top to bottom. Do the same with the sweet onion. Drizzle the olive oil into a large skillet, and then add in the peppers, onion, chopped garlic clove, and seasonings. Be sure to save the grated parmesan cheese for the end. Gently toss the peppers & onions so that they are completely covered in the olive oil and seasonings. Sauté the peppers & onions until they are cooked through but not caramelized.
When your sausage is done, cut it into three-inch long pieces. Take the sausage links and grated parmesan cheese and add them to the skillet. Gently mix everything together to blend the flavors. Serve the sausage & peppers on a large platter along with the Italian bread. Just before serving cut the bread loaf into three-inch-long pieces. Your guests can make themselves a sausage & pepper sandwich or skip the bread altogether.
NFL 100 Year Entree – The Green Bay Brat Tub
In order to bring out the best in brats, you should use the brat tub method. It involves a multi-step process that is worth every bit of the effort. We are going to give you the basics and also provide a link to the full directions for the brat tub below.
Brat Tub Necessities
- 3 large and sturdy foil pans
- 24-36 brats (Johnsonville, of course)
- 9-10 large sweet onions
- Olive oil
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 12 pack of your favorite beer
- 24-36 brat rolls
- Regular mustard and spicy mustard
- 1 jar of sauerkraut (optional)
- Granulated garlic, salt, pepper (optional)
- 2 Sternos, 1 wire Sterno rack or chafing dish
To serve the perfect brat, you have to simmer them in beer & onions until they are completely cooked. This can take 60-90 minutes to accomplish, and be sure you rotate the brats as you go. You can also do this the night before the game in order to save time! Once you have them finished in their beer bath, it is time to grill. As they are already cooked you only need to char the outside before serving.
After grilling them to perfection, it is back to the brat tub for some more beer bathing. They will need 1-2 hours simmering in the brat tub before serving. Add on your favorite extras and serve them on some sturdy brat rolls. Trust us, the flavor of your brat is going to be incredible compared to just grilling them. For the full expanded directions of using our brat tub, click HERE.
NFL 100 Year Celebration Sausage Battle
There you have it! The recipes and directions to create your own Bears vs. Packers menu for the battle on Thursday night. Have your guests chose the winner of the sausage conflict as they dine. We have a feeling that there will be some hometown favoritism involved, but that is only natural between these two teams and their fans.
Also, be sure to follow us each week as we bring you more deliciousness through our game day menus all season long! They’ll be helpful as you prepare for some serious football tailgate parties!