Tailgate Week: Recipe Contest Winner
Jennifer Daoust

MLS Fans' Tailgate Recipes

Last week, fans submitted their favorite MLS-inspired tailgate recipes on Facebook. MLSsoccer.com's top four picks are listed below, with Jennifer Daoust's Chicago Fiery Pork Belly Tacos (pictured above) and James Hromadka's Cabrito Fajitas leading the way.

Each entry was each judged on creativity, originality, presentation and connection to MLS or an MLS club. Thanks to all fans who participated, and congratulations to our winners. In addition to being posted here, they will each receive an MLS Tankard Set from MLSgear.com.

Chicago Fiery Pork Belly Tacos with Grilled Peach Salsa

By Jennifer Daoust

"Get that extra Chi-town kick"

Ingredients for Pork Belly
3 pounds pork belly, skin removed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup fish sauce
1/3 cup unsalted rice vinegar
1/4 cup sake
1/2 tablespoon sriracha sauce or other chili sauce
1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
1 head garlic, unpeeled with top half cut off
1/2 in. piece of fresh ginger, sliced
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1/3 cup whole star anise
1/2 tablespoon whole peppercorns
1/3 cup brown sugar

Ingredients for Salsa
3 firm but ripe large peaches, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

Other Ingredients
1 package flour tortillas
About 40 (8-inch) wooden skewers soaked in water for 1 hour
Sriracha (optional)

1. Braise pork belly - Preheat oven to 225°F with rack in middle. Place roasting pan on stovetop burner and heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Cook onion, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add chicken stock, fish sauce, rice vinegar, sake, sriracha, soy sauce, garlic head, ginger, coriander, star anise, and peppercorns and bring to a boil. Add brown sugar and stir until dissolved. Add pork belly and remove from heat. Cover roasting pan tightly with a lid or foil and cook in oven until pork belly is very tender, 3.5-4.5 hours. Remove pork belly from liquid and cool to room temperature. Wrap tightly in several layers of plastic wrap and chill, pressed between 2 baking sheets with a weight (such as four 28-ounces cans) on top, at least 12 hours. Strain cooking liquid into a pot and simmer to reduce until liquid is syrupy. Cool sauce.
2. Grill - Remove pork belly from refrigerator and cut lengthwise into 1-inch strips, then cut each strip crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces. Thread 2 pieces on each skewer. Prepare barbecue (medium-high heat). Oil grill rack, then grill pork belly skewers until well browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes total. Brush with sauce and grill for 30 seconds on each side being careful to not burn sauce.
3. Prepare salsa - Brush cut side of peaches with vegetable oil. Grill, cut side only, until light brown, watching closely to avoid burning. Remove from grill and cut peaches into half-inch pieces. Toss with onion, cilantro, olive oil, and vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.  
4. Assemble tacos - Place tortillas in a single layer on grill until warm and soft; avoid burning. Remove four pork belly pieces from skewers and place on warm tortilla. Drizzle with sauce and top with peach salsa and a squirt of spicy sriracha if desired.

Cabrito Fajitas

By James Hromadka

"For when your team is playing Chivas USA (aka the Goats)"

Cabrito Fajitas

Ingredients for Mojo Marinade
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon finely chopped jalapeno chile pepper, including seeds
1 tablespoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a small bowl, whisk the ingredients.
Makes about 3/4 cup

Ingredients for Dry Rub
2 tablespoons paprika
1 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure chile powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
1 teaspoons celery salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Makes about 1/2 cup

1. Marinate - The above works with about 2-3 pounds of goat meat. Marinate the goat meat overnight, then use the dry rub on it about 30 minutes before cooking.
2. Grill - Prepare the grill over medium-high heat (350-400 degrees). Cook the meat for about 10 minutes, turning occasionally until it is cooked inside to medium for best results. Goat meat if not marinated properly or cooked too long can be chewy, so take special care not to overcook.
3. Serve - Slice the meat into portions appropriate for fajitas, so you will need tortillas and any other toppings (shredded cheese, pico de gallo, sour cream, etc.) as well. Serves 4-6 people.

For a large tailgate (I used this at the Texian Army Tailgate before the recent Houston Dynamo vs. Chivas USA game), I used 9 pounds of goat meat, quadrupled the marinade recipe and doubled the dry rub to have enough for everyone.

San Jose Pork Tenderloin

By Emily Hays

"Not the San Francisco tenderloin"

Pork tenderloin

3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons rough chopped rosemary
1-1 1/2 lb pork tenderloin
Mango jam or jelly
1 green mango, julienned
Cilantro and mint, to taste

1. Brine - Boil water, salt, sugar, and rosemary together until dissolved. Remove from heat and let cool completely to room temperature. Take one pork tenderloin from the refrigerator, place fully submerged into the brine. Leave on the counter-top while tenderloin comes to room temperature - at least 2 hours.
2. Grill - Remove tenderloin from the brine, and pat dry.  Glaze lightly with mango jam or jelly. Brush the grill with vegetable oil. Cover and cook for 12 to 15 minutes, turning every 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, until the tenderloin reaches an internal temperature of 150 degrees F. Remove the tenderloin from the grill and rest for about 10 minutes before serving.
3. Serve - Cut tenderloin into medallions, place on top of a bed of julienned green mango, sprinkle lightly with chopped cilantro and mint to taste.

Soccer Field Sushi Cake

By Eriko Matsuyama

"Game-day inspiration that won’t weigh you down"

Sushi Cake

3 cups of sushi or short grain rice
3 cups of water, plus extra for rinsing rice
3 tablespoons of rice vinegar
3 tablespoons of sugar
1 tablespoon of salt
1 cup of dried powdered seaweed
12 ounces of smoked salmon
Mayonnaise (in a squeeze bottle)

1. Rinse 3 cups of rice repeatedly until water is clear.
2. Place the rice and 3 cups of water into a medium saucepan and place over high heat.
3. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, reduce the heat to the lowest possible setting and cover.
4. Cook rice for 15 minutes. Remove rice from the heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes.
5. Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in the microwave on high for 30 to 45 seconds.
6. Transfer the rice into a large wooden or glass mixing bowl and add the vinegar mixture.
7. Start building the sushi layers - like lasagna - sushi rice, then salmon, then sushi rice, then salmon, then sushi rice
8. Pour dried powdered seaweed on top of final rice layer.
9. Draw the lines using mayonnaise in a squeeze bottle. Don’t forget the corner arcs!

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