Chef John’s 13 MVP Recipes for the Big Game

These lucky 13 recipes are a veritable highlight reel of Chef John’s all-time favorite game-day foods. From classic dips, wings, and nachos to chili, beef sliders, and pulled pork — they’re all here. The best of Chef John.

1. Loaded Baked Potato Dip

Here’s Chef John’s very bacony, fully loaded baked potato dip, featuring all the classic baked potato fixings: sour cream, Cheddar, and green onions. For best results, let it chill for a while in the fridge.

Loaded Baked Potato Dip

Loaded Baked Potato Dip | Photo by the Gruntled Gourmand

2. Chef John’s Pulled Pork BBQ

Low and slow is the way to go for super-tender pulled pork. You’ll cook the pork for about 12 hours. But your patience will be amply rewarded with perfectly fall-apart pork. This recipe could not be easier.

Chef John's Pulled Pork BBQ

Chef John’s Pulled Pork BBQ | Photo by Chef John

3. Bacon Jalapeno Popper Puffs

These jalapeno poppers are lighter than most but bring all the hot poppin’ flavor. “All the same flavors are there,” says Chef John. “Especially when served with the easy cream cheese dip, and the prep is much easier.”

 

4. Baked Buffalo Chicken Dip

Everything you love about chicken wings with none of the greasy mess — and no bones! The key is to start with rotisserie chicken, not canned chicken.

Chef John's Buffalo Chicken Dip

Chef John’s Buffalo Chicken Dip | Photo by Meredith

5. Mini Philly Cheesesteaks

These little cheese steak toasts are made with all the classic cheese steak ingredients, only in open-face form. The fixings are chopped up and spooned onto slices of baguette, then baked until beautiful.

Mini Philly Cheesesteaks

Mini Philly Cheesesteaks | Photo by Chef John

6. Super Deluxe Steak Nachos

Chef John’s primo steak nachos take the snack game to the next level. You’ll top a layer of pinto beans with perfectly seasoned flat or skirt steak topped with Cheddar and Monterey Jack. Finish with avocado, tomatoes, peppers, sour cream, and cilantro for the win.

Super-Deluxe Steak Nachos

Super-Deluxe Steak Nachos | Photo by Chef John

7. Beef, Bean, and Beer Chili

This beef and been chili has wonderful depth of flavor. A bottle of beer, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a touch of cocoa powder are the keys to victory. Enjoy topped with crème fraiche, cilantro, and maybe a dash of cayenne.

Beef, Bean, and Beer Chili

Beef, Bean, and Beer Chili | Photo by Chef John

8. Chef John’s Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

This quick-and-easy dip features canned artichoke hearts, chopped frozen spinach, cream cheese, and three types of grated cheese. And since there’s no mayo or sour cream, it’s actually lower in fat than restaurant versions. Delicious on just about anything — crackers, chips, sliced baguette, whatever you like.

 

9. Chef John’s Crab Rangoon

These fried wonton pouches are stuffed with a generous amount of crab meat and cream cheese. “These are one of the most addictive, delicious, and crowd-pleasing appetizers ever created,” says Chef John. “That is, if the filling has enough crab in it. I’m using a 1-to-1 ratio of crab to cream cheese.”

Chef John's Crab Rangoon

Photo by Chef John

10. Baked Crab and Artichoke Dip

This creamy crab and artichoke dip is baked in a bread bowl. You’ll build on a delicious base of cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo, adding Cheddar, herbs, and seasonings. Serve it hot with crackers.

Baked Crab and Artichoke Dip

Baked Crab and Artichoke Dip | Photo by Stacy

11. Crispy Honey Sriracha Chicken Wings

“The honey-sriracha glaze is quite delicious and incredibly simple,” says Chef John. “But the real star of the show is the strange but effective technique of coating the wings with a spice rub before baking. Through the magic of chemical reactions, the surface of the chicken becomes bone-dry, and eventually crisps up to something very similar to what would come out of a deep fryer.”

 

12. Hot Baked Reuben Dip

It’s the classic deli sandwich converted into delicious dip form. “I used pastrami instead of corned beef, which is a little spicier,” says Chef John.

Hot Baked Reuben Dip

Hot Baked Reuben Dip | Photo by Chef John

13. Chef John’s Beef Sliders

These tiny burgers are perfect party food. Chef John’s cool trick is to form the ground beef in muffin cups before frying them up. Serve them on small dinner rolls with sliced tomatoes.

Chef John's Beef Sliders

Chef John’s Beef Sliders | Photo by Christina


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