baked Nashville hot chicken with white bread and pickles

The football playoffs are here, which means playoff parties! If there’s one thing that can make or break any party, it’s the food. In fact, I’d venture to say if you manage to ensure every guest leaves satiated and satisfied, you’re about 70 percent on your way to your affair being universally remembered as a success. The other 30 percent is determined by the entertainment. Luckily, if you’re throwing a football party, your entertainment is covered. So, if you’re looking to turn up your food game this playoffs, you’re going to want to keep reading.

I’ve compiled 12 signature dishes corresponding to each respective NFL playoff team. Whether your team is in it this year or not, you can place one bet (this is purely figurative as illegal gambling is not supported) sure to come through: Your party food will be on point! Here’s a rundown of the contenders:

AFC

New England Patriots: New England Clam Chowder

New England clam chowder

Chowhound

To quote the 1994 movie “Ace Ventura”: “New England. Clam. Chowder.” The white version of this sensational soup is native to the Northeast, and is a perfect thing to serve at a football fiesta. Why? Because you can make it in a crock pot and leave it on warm for hours. This means you’ll have a solid option throughout the entirety of your playoff party. That’s why! Get our Easy New England Clam Chowder recipe.

Pittsburgh Steelers: Beef Pierogies

beef pierogies

Chowhound

As a Chicagoan with Polish blood, I know a thing or two about pierogi. While Chicago might have the second-largest concentration of Poles behind Warsaw (in Poland!), no city in America likes pierogi more than Pittsburgh. So, if you’re looking for a Pittsburgh dish, look no further than these sumptuous dumplings. Get our Beef Pierogies recipe.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Shrimp and Fresh Corn Grits

shrimp and grits with fresh corn grits

Chowhound

After doing a little digging, I came across a Florida Times-Union article heralding shrimp and grits as a Jacksonville favorite. While enjoying more longevity in South Carolina and Georgia, Jacksonville has seen shrimp and grits pop up all over town. Personally, I think shrimp and grits are great. For a playoff party? Spectacular. They’re a southern favorite that happens to be warm and hearty for a wintertime meal in northern households. Plus, the juxtaposition of grits and savory shrimp works just as well for brunch (early games) as it does for dinner (late games). Get our Shrimp and Fresh Corn Grits recipe.

Kansas City Chiefs: Burnt Ends

Kansas City bbq brisket burnt ends meat candy

Jess Pryles

If you want to serve something that works nicely for long parties, is typically a fan favorite, and is totally K.C., go with BBQ. The Kansas City style is rubbed, smoked, and topped with a wonderful sweet-and-spicy, tomato-based sauce. Any of your favorite meats, from pork to chicken, works. That being said, if you want to pull out all the stops and offer something delectably Kansas City, make sure to offer burnt ends. This crispy, melt in your mouth brisket delicacy is about as K.C. as it gets. Check out more on burnt ends here. Get the recipe.

Tennessee Titans: Baked Nashville Hot Chicken

baked Nashville hot chicken with white bread and pickles

Chowhound

There’s something great about combining spicy chicken with football. And while many folks will gravitate towards Buffalo wings (those are next!), the Nashville version is certainly worth a try. Known simply as “hot chicken,” this wonderful dish is about as Nashville as it gets, and just different enough to distinguish your party from all the rest. Get our Baked Nashville Hot Chicken recipe.

Buffalo Bills: Buffalo Wings

buffalo chicken wings with celery, carrots, and blue cheese dip

Chowhound

If you’re looking for a less risky, tried-and-true staple, look no further than Buffalo wings, in a traditional Buffalo sauce. Invented in Buffalo, New York, the delicious, buttery spiciness of this fried chicken dish is crave worthy, and goes sensationally with watching loads of football—especially with an iced cold brew in hand! For more on all sorts of chicken, including wings, check out this article here. Get our Easy Buffalo Wings recipe.

NFC

Philadelphia Eagles: Roast Pork and Broccoli Rabe Sandwich

roast pork and broccoli rabe sandwich

Tasting Table

A lot of folks would go with a cheesesteak sandwich. And while they are great, another Philly staple worth looking into is the roast pork sandwich. Rather than cooking the meat in a pan or on the griddle, you can prepare the pork in a Crock pot. This means it’s party-friendly and great for watching a double-header where you can make up a sandwich for lunch and another for dinner! Get the recipe.

Minnesota Vikings: Swedish Meatballs

Swedish meatballs

Chowhound

A lot of people might serve a Juicy Lucy, the definitive, Minnesota-invented, inside-out burger. But, again, that could be labor intensive for a larger crowd and takes a grill. So, I’m going with an underdog pick here: the Swedish meatball. Not only is it perfect party fare, it also gives a nod to the large Swedish population in Minnesota. Get our Swedish Meatballs recipe.

Los Angeles Rams: French Dip Sandwich

French dip sandwich with au jus

Chowhound

You could certainly make the case for tacos, but I’m going with the french dip. Invented in the city of angels, this simple sandwich of roast beef, French bread, and au jus is tailor-made for parties. And while it might not be traditional, you can add a little panache to this one by offering raw or creamy horseradish for dipping, and provolone cheese as a topper. Get our French Dip Sandwich recipe.

New Orleans Saints: Chicken and Andouille Gumbo

chicken and andouille sausage gumbo

Shutterstock

New Orleans has a great cajun food foundation, so picking one item is pretty tough. That being said, if I were hosting a pigskin shindig, I’d go with gumbo. Not only is it oh-so-N’awlins, it’s got the endurance you want out of a party dish. Put a pot of this on in the morning and hungry partygoers will be culinarily content from beginning to end with little oversight from the host or hostess. Get our Chicken and Andouille Gumbo recipe.

Carolina Panthers: Carolina BBQ

tangy Carolina BBQ sauce

Buns in My Oven

I like BBQ so much I’m showcasing it here again. Though, to be fair, a true BBQ connoisseur would consider Carolina and K.C. BBQ way different. While K.C. uses a wide variety of meats and a sweet-spicy sauce, the North Carolina variety relies more heavily on pork and vinegar-based sauces. As unlikely as it would be, it would actually be kind of cool if the Panthers and Chiefs met in the Super Bowl so you could have a BBQ battle on the table to match the one on the gridiron! Try this Carolina sauce recipe here.

Atlanta Falcons: Best-Ever Pecan Pie

pecan pie

Chowhound

Now that I’ve come to the end, I realize I’m without something every great party needs—dessert! For our Atlanta Falcons dish, I’m going with pecan pie. While not exclusively “Atlanta,” Georgia produces more pecans than just about anywhere else, and the pecan pie is a southern favorite worth making. Get our Best-Ever Pecan Pie recipe.

Whether you’re a die-hard football fan or just like a good get-together, you’re sure to throw a great NFL playoff party by featuring these dishes. Enjoy the games and eat well!

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