4 local restaurants offer winning recipes for perfect game-day menu

Grilled shrimp with honey bourbon glaze as prepared by chef Jon BonnellRoss Hailey - rhailey@star-telegram.com

Score big at tailgate parties this season with these crowd-pleasing recipes from local food and drink experts. From grilled shrimp skewers and game-day guacamole to brunch chicken biscuits and a frozen twist on refreshing rosé, they’ve got the menu covered. Simply fire up the grill, unfold the tailgate chairs and let football season begin.

Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine

Jon Bonnell is back this season as the culinary consultant for all catering and foodservice at Texas Christian University’s Amon G. Carter Stadium. Here he shares an easy grilled shrimp recipe, kissed with a touch of local Firestone & Robertson TX Whiskey in a sweet honey glaze. “Shrimp on the grill are just about perfect no matter what you do next, but just the right glaze or sauce can be fantastic,” Bonnell says. “The key to great grilled shrimp begins with picking out the right shrimp. They need to be big, so splurge a little.” Bonnell also recommends supporting American shrimpers by buying wild domestic shrimp, and don’t overcook them. “Just give ‘em enough time to become opaque, brush ‘em with plenty of glaze and watch ‘em disappear as soon as they hit the plate.”


Fresh guacamole beats store-bought varieties any day of the week, but especially on game days when presentation and taste are important. Americado’s guacamole recipe keeps things simple with minimal ingredients and easy technique – just combine and serve. Tear open a bag of tortilla chips and consider your tailgate appetizer complete.

Hot Box Biscuit Club

Brunchtime tailgates call for chicken biscuits, but not the kind from a drive-through window. Impress tailgate guests with these cream biscuits stuffed with crispy chicken tenders, sweet Southern slaw and buttermilk ranch from Hot Box Biscuit Club — a monthly pop-up brunch that sells out its events in minutes. (Visit its Facebook page and get on the email list for a shot at reservations.) Held at various venues around town, the concept is the brainchild of chefs Sarah Hooton and Matt Mobley, who met in culinary school and decided Fort Worth needed better biscuits. Here, they share a variation of one of their most popular dishes, borrowing a biscuit recipe from best-selling author and Southern cooking chef Nathalie Dupree. Prep everything in advance and become the most revered of all tailgaters.

America Gardens

Rosé’s popularity continues to rise as more wine lovers realize pink does not equal sweet. With the launch of frosé – a frozen version of the crisp, refreshing vino – there are even more ways to indulge in this year’s breakout beverage. “This cocktail is always a hit at any party,” says America Gardens beverage coordinator Sofia Martinez of the restaurant’s version, which is swirled with strawberries, guava juice and blueberry vodka. “You can always pre-batch and freeze beforehand,” she adds, making the cooling concoction ideal for those sometimes sweltering day games.



Grilled shrimp with honey bourbon glaze as prepared by chef Jon BonnellRoss Hailey - rhailey@star-telegram.com


Serves 3 to 4

  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Firestone & Robertson Distilling Co. TX Whiskey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 10-12 large wild Gulf shrimp


  1. Combine honey, brown sugar, whiskey, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper together and simmer for 3-4 minutes, just until slightly thick. Reserve some of the glaze in a dish to use as a dip.
  2. Clean and devein the shrimp well and remove the shells, leaving just the tail portion. Line the shrimp up on a cutting board and run two skewers through them, leaving just a touch of space between each shrimp to allow even cooking throughout. Season well with salt and pepper and lightly coat with oil before grilling.
  3. Lay the shrimp on a hot grill and cook for roughly 2 minutes before turning over, then brush liberally with the glaze repeatedly until cooked through. Serve hot with some of the glaze as a dipping sauce.

—4529 Bryant Irvin Road, Fort Worth, 817-738-5489, www.bonnellstexas.com



Americado’s GuacamoleAndrew Buckley


Serves 5 to 6

  • 2 large avocados
  • 1 to 2 jalapenos, chopped with seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients and serve.

—2000 W. Berry St., Fort Worth, 817-759-9107, www.americadofw.com



Hot Box Biscuit Club’s Brunch Chicken BiscuitAndrew Buckley


Yield: 4-5 large biscuits for sandwiches

  • Butter, softened or melted, as needed
  • 2 1/4 cups commercial or homemade self-rising flour, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided


  1. Heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Brush a baking pan with butter.
  3. Fork-sift or whisk 2 cups of the flour in a large bowl and set aside the remaining 1/4 cup. Make a deep hollow in the center of the flour with the back of your hand. Slowly stir 1 cup of cream (reserving 1/4 cup) into the hollow with a rubber spatula or large metal spoon, using broad circular strokes to quickly pull the flour into the cream. Mix just until the dry ingredients are moistened and the sticky dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If any flour remains on the bottom and sides of the bowl, stir in just enough of the reserved cream to incorporate it into the dough. If the dough is too wet, use more flour when shaping.
  4. Lightly sprinkle work surface with some of the reserved flour. Turn the dough out and sprinkle the top lightly with flour if sticky. With floured hands, fold the dough in half and pat it into a 1/3- to 1/2-inch-thick round, using a little additional flour if needed. Flour again if sticky and fold the dough in half a second time. If the dough is still clumpy, pat and fold a third time.
  5. Pat dough into a 1/2-inch-thick round for normal biscuits, a 3/4-inch-thick round for tall biscuits, or a 1-inch-thick round for giant biscuits. Brush off any visible flour from the top. For each biscuit, dip a 2-inch biscuit cutter into the reserved flour and cut out the biscuits, starting at the outside edge and cutting very close together, being careful not to twist the cutter. The scraps may be combined to make additional biscuits, although they will be tougher.
  6. Using a metal spatula if necessary, move the biscuits to the pan or baking sheet. Bake the biscuits on the top rack of the oven for a total of 10 to 14 minutes, until light golden brown. After 6 minutes, rotate the pan in the oven so that the front of the pan is now turned to the back. Continue baking another 4 to 8 minutes, until the biscuits are light golden brown. When they are done, remove from the oven and lightly brush the tops with softened or melted butter. Turn the biscuits out upside down on a plate to cool slightly.


Yield: About 6 tenders

Flour Dredge

  • Flour, as needed
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste

Wet Coating

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • Water, as needed to make the batter thick enough to cling to a spoon

Coating Dredge

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornstarch
  • 1/2 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 1 pound chicken tenders
  • Desired seasoning blend, as needed


  1. Sift Flour Dredge, Wet Coating and Coating Dredge ingredients together in separate bowls. Add the water to the bowl of Wet Coating.
  2. Coat chicken tenders in the Flour Dredge and shake to remove excess. Next, dip the tenders in the Wet Coating to fully coat. Toss the tenders in the Coating Dredge and massage in the flour to make a nice thick coating.
  3. Fry the tenders at 375 degrees until they are golden brown and reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Dust the chicken with your preferred seasoning blend.


Serves 4-6

  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 pound cabbage, finely shredded, about 1/2 of a head
  • 1 cup carrot, shredded
  • 1 cup red onion, thinly sliced

Combine all ingredients except vegetables to make slaw base. Mix in vegetables and let sit for at least 1 hour before serving.


Yield: Approximately 1 cup

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh dill, chopped
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • Few dashes Tabasco sauce

Combine all ingredients and let sit for at least 24 hours before use.




America Gardens’ FroséAndrew Buckley


Serves 8

  • 3 ounces lemon juice
  • 4 ounces guava juice (optional)
  • 5 ounces simple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh ripe strawberries (see note)
  • 1 bottle rosé wine
  • 5 ounces Stolichnaya Stoli Blueberi vodka

Blend lemon juice, guava juice, simple syrup and strawberries. Add wine, vodka and approximately 1 1/2 cups ice and blend. Add more ice if desired.

Note: For a sweeter cocktail, sprinkle strawberries with sugar and allow them to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes before blending.

—2829 Morton St., Fort Worth, 817-439-9660, www.americagardensusa.com


Freelance food news writer Celestina Blok’s keys to a great tailgate include a shady spot, a good playlist and a cold drink in hand.






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