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Cynthia Cathcart's Favorite Football Fare

The Dallas caterer's pimento cheese, BBQ beef tacos, and Bloody Mary will take your tailgate to the next level.

Football season is in full swing, and so are the tailgates and watch parties. While many tailgates offer the usual store-bought suspects, yours doesn’t have to. Dallas caterer and event planner Cynthia Cathcart, owner of Café Danielle Catering and Events, is here to help you host the ultimate shindig with her top picks for dishes that will have your guests asking for the recipes. Here’s how to recreate her famed pimento cheese dip with toast, BBQ beef tacos, and festive Bloody Mary. Enjoy!

Pimento Cheese

Ingredients/Directions:

·       2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese

·       ¼ cup pimentos, chopped 

·       1 ½ tbsp. red bell pepper, chopped

·       4-5 tbsp. good quality mayo, preferably Hellman’s or Duke’s

·       ¼ tsp. garlic powder

·       ¼ tsp. onion powder

·       Combine all ingredients

Baguette Toasts

Ingredients/Directions:

·       1 stick of butter, melted

·       2 tbsp. mayo

·       A few tablespoons oregano

·       A few tablespoons parsley

·       Combine all ingredients, then dip each baguette slice in the mixture

·       Heat in oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until toasted

·       Serve pimento cheese with the herbed butter baguette toasts

BBQ Beef Tacos

Ingredients/Directions:

·       2 ½ lbs. beef brisket

·       Creamy coleslaw

·       Cynthia’s pickles

·       BBQ sauce

·       Street-size flour tortillas

·       Add brisket to the tortillas, top with slaw and chopped sweet pickles, drizzle BBQ sauce

Brisket

Ingredients/Directions:

·       1 whole brisket, 17 lbs. before trimming

·       ¼ cup kosher salt

·       ¼ cup coarse ground black pepper

·       Trim fat to ¼-inch on brisket

·       Mix salt and pepper together in a shaker bottle or dredge

·       Season all sides of brisket with salt/pepper mixture

·       Prepare smoker for indirect heat at 250 degrees

·       Place brisket on smoker and add pecan wood chunks to fire

·       Smoke for five hours, maintaining constant temperature and adding pecan wood as needed

·       Wrap brisket in double layer of butcher paper and return to smoker

·       Insert probe thermometer into middle of flat section and continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 200 degrees

·       Remove brisket from smoker and rest in a dry cooler (no ice) for two hours

·       Separate the flat and point, slice the flat against the grain into ¼-inch slices. Cut the point in half and chop until the edges can be cubed into burnt ends

·       Chop beef

·       Once brisket is rested and cooled down a bit, use a sharp knife to separate the flat part of the brisket from the bigger, thicker end or the point. Use best judgment to find that imaginary line and simply separate the two. Remove the fat cap from the top by sliding your knife parallel to the brisket top between the fat and the meat. It will naturally follow this path if you allow it.

·       Using a cleaver or other hand chopping device, chop the meat into pieces but don’t overdo it. Ideally, you will have some chunks as well as some smaller pieces all mixed together.

Coleslaw

Ingredients/Directions:

·       16 oz. shredded cabbage/carrot blend

·       1 cup good quality mayo, preferably Hellman’s or Duke’s

·       ¼ cup sour cream

·       1 tbsp. sweet pickle juice

·       1 ½ tsp. yellow mustard

·       1 ½ tbsp. apple cider vinegar

·       3 tbsp. granulated sugar

·       1 tsp. celery seeds

·       1 tsp. fresh dill

·       1 tsp. onion powder

·       ¾ tsp. sea salt

·       ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

·       Place shredded cabbage and carrots in a large bowl and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over them. Toss to combine. Let this sit for at least an hour to draw out excess water. Rinse and thoroughly drain. Return cabbage to the bowl.

·       Combine dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Pour it over the cabbage mixture and stir until combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving.

Bloody Mary

Ingredients:

·       16 oz. tomato juice

·       2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

·       1 tbsp. lime juice

·       ½ tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

·       A few shakes of Tabasco

·       ½ tbsp. prepared horseradish

·       2 tsp. pickle juice

·       1 tsp. olive juice

·       1 tsp. pepperoncini juice

·       A few shakes black pepper

·       1 tbsp. Old Bay seasoning

·       4-6 oz. Vodka (I use Duckworth Vodka)

·       Garnish ideas: brown sugar bacon strip, pickle spear, celery stalk, green olives, lemon slice, or a lime slice

Cynthia Cathcart is the founder and owner of Café Danielle Catering and Events in Dallas. She uses her food and design expertise to create memorable events for private functions, businesses, fundraisers, and charitable organizations. cafedanielle.com

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