While any football game is a great excuse to gather together and cheer on the home team while enjoying tasty snacks and delicious beverages, the Super Bowl is undeniably the “big event.”
The culmination of an entire season of wins and losses, stats and record breaking, the Super Bowl pits the two conference champion teams against each other for a final showdown that puts it all on the line.
With the big game on the TV, Super Bowl hosts are undoubtedly looking to bring their best game to the table. For tips on making this Super Bowl party one to remember, we contacted Geoff Suk, a former Summit County resident who has served as the personal chef for Broncos owner Pat Bowlen for the past 10 years.
Keep it simple
“For me, the No. 1 thing for the game — because I like to watch the Super Bowl and especially this year — (is to) figure out things that are easy and that hold up well sitting around,” Suk said. “You don’t want to be making food during the game.”
Chips and dip are always a classic, and simply buying ranch dressing or hummus at the store or making homemade guacamole is completely up to the cook. Suk suggests seven-layer dip, a favorite of his, either store bought or homemade.
“I wouldn’t get too fancy,” he said. “People come to eat food, but at the same time they’re there for the football game. The food is a pleasant side benefit.”
Everyone loves tradition
Traditional foods such as hot dogs and brats are old favorites for a reason — they’re delicious. Plus, they’re easy to hold onto and cheer at the same time, and there are a lot of ways to cook them.
While some enjoy the slightly charred flavor of dogs on the grill, Suk suggests stovetop cooking, which brings the added benefit of beer flavoring. His instructions: Put the pre-cooked brats in a pan with half an inch to three-quarters of an inch of beer, put the lid on, bring it up to a simmer and let the brats steam until they’re cooked through. He cautions against using hoppy beers, which will add too much of a bitter flavor. His go-to is Michelob Classic Dark, although any malty beer will do.
Suk also suggests tossing in the sauerkraut at the end to get it to soak up some of the flavor. Then have some stoneground mustard, pretzel buns and maybe some caramelized onions on hand to top it all off. If a crockpot is available, then it’s perfect for keeping the brats and other fixings warm during the game.
Don’t forget the sweet stuff
“You always have to have sweet,” Suk said. After all the savory dishes are devoured, having some sweets on hand is a good idea.
“For me, I like to keep things to finger food, stuff that people don’t have to be sitting somewhere to eat,” he added.
In his family, Rice Krispies treats are a favorite. They’re easy to make, mixing lots of marshmallows with any flavor of cereal — fruity, chocolate, honey, etc.
Of course, a cook can’t go wrong with a plate of cookies or brownies, either.
In the Broncos skybox
When creating the menu for Bowlen and his guests at the stadium in Denver, Suk doesn’t hold back.
“It’s a pretty big, involved menu for them,” he said.
There’s always a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and snacks. For afternoon games, Suk usually makes a brunch to start, with items such as Belgian waffles, frittatas, omelets, bacon, sausage, etc.
“At halftime, since this is a football game and it’s at the stadium, we switch it out; we do traditional hot dogs, bratwurst, locally made sausage with all the fixings,” Suk said. Dessert usually comes during the third quarter.
“In years past, the two things that Mr. Bowlen always ate were sushi and at halftime, he always ate a bratwurst, without fail,” Suk said when asked about any good luck foods.
Overall, Suk emphasized not letting cooking or hosting duties take over the enjoyment of the event.
“Keep it fun and lighthearted; don’t stress out about the food,” he said. “That’s not the focus of the day; the focus is on the game.”