Football & Tailgating: Cookin’ Up a Huge Pot of Red Beans & Rice
How to Make Red Beans & Rice for a Tailgate or Football Party
What could be more befitting a tailgating party than a huge pot of creamy red beans to share with fellow football fans? Whether you’re all about celebrating at the stadium or hosting a football party at home — big pot cooking is the best way to cook a large batch of scratch-made red beans & rice that’ll feed a ton of hungry people. It’s also a great way to pass the time (beer in hand) with friends and family — before the game starts and takes center stage. From the enticing aroma of sautéing onions, bell pepper and celery, to browning the Andouille sausage in sizzling bacon fat, to the beans slowly simmering and thickening, your grand effort will draw a crowd of appreciative onlookers — those who know and love the tradition of perfectly seasoned red beans cooked to creamy perfection.
To make red beans & rice to feed 50 or so people, you’ll use the same ingredients you normally use, but in larger quantities and in a bigger cooking vessel. You’ll need a 50-qt. (or larger) seafood boil pot, a burner, propane and a wooden paddle. You’ll also need to allow for travel time (if you’re going to the stadium), plus a few hours to get set up, add the ingredients to the pot, bring it all to a boil, and simmer till tender. With a keg, cocktails, and appetizers at the ready, plus your favorite fight song and tailgating tunes, you’ll be ready to take on the challenge — with plenty of time to cook, socialize, and show off your creation. It’s a delicious feat that your guests won’t soon forget.
The key to successful outdoor cooking is all in the planning and preparation. Soaking 8 pounds of red beans is no small thing, so find the biggest food-safe containers you have, or invest in a large plastic bucket (easily found at restaurant supply or home improvement stores) that the entire batch can fit in.
The night before, in addition to soaking the red beans, dice the trinity, mince the garlic and slice the Andouille sausage. To make the cooking process easier, store everything in containers so they’re ready to go – whether you’re taking them in a cooler to the stadium, or just to your backyard.
You’ll also want to render the bacon fat the night before, by cooking a 1/2 pound of bacon in a skillet. (Cooking bacon slowly over low heat will provide you with a higher yield of bacon fat.) Remove bacon from skillet, carefully pour the bacon grease into a non-plastic jar, and store in the fridge. It will solidify overnight, making it easy to scoop out the next day and add to the pot.
First, the sausage is browned in bacon fat, and then the vegetables get added.
Once the beans come to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer on low for 2 hours or until the red beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Throw a football around to kill some time. And smash some beans against the side of the pot for added creaminess.
Cheering on your favorite team is a communal experience, and you and your fellow fans need a hearty, delicious meal everyone can agree on, no matter the rivalries. By focusing the revelry around a pot of creamy red beans and hot cooked rice, you’ll score big points and keep ’em coming back for more.
Red beans & rice is exactly the kind of always-popular, substantial dish that’ll keep a tailgate or football party going all day long.
Be sure to round out your party spread with bowls of chips, dips, finger foods, and more. Put your lucky jersey on and get ready for some football!
- 8 lbs. Camellia Brand Red Kidney Beans
- 1/4 cup bacon fat
- 5 lbs. Andouille sausage, sliced into 1-inch discs
- 6 yellow onions, diced
- 4 green bell peppers, diced
- 6 stalks of celery, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 bay leaves
- 1 (1-ounce) container white pepper
- 1 (.7-ounce) container dried thyme
- 2 bunches green onions, chopped
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 2 gallons of water
- hot sauce, salt and pepper and hot cooked white rice (see rice recipe below)
Soak the red beans overnight. The next day, drain and rinse the beans thoroughly.
Put a 50-qt. seafood boil pot (without the steamer basket) on the burner, and use propane to bring it to medium heat. Add the bacon fat. Once the bacon fat is melted, add the 5 pounds of sausage to the pot and brown.
Once the sausage has started to brown, add the onions, green bell peppers, celery and garlic, and keep stirring with the wooden paddle until the onions are tender and translucent. Carefully add the 2 gallons of water to the pot along with the red beans, bay leaves, white pepper and dried thyme. Raise the heat to medium-high, allowing the pot to come to a boil. (This could take 30 minutes or so, depending on the heat conductivity of your pot.)
Once the red beans are at a boil, reduce heat and cover; simmer on low for 2 hours or until the red beans are tender, stirring occasionally. Once the beans are tender, smash some against the side of the pot for added creaminess. Remove bay leaves.
Before serving, stir in the chopped green onions and fresh parsley.
PRO TIP: When cooking in a big pot over a centered, narrow heating element, you need a utensil with a flat head (like a wooden paddle) that lets you scrape the bottom of the pot as you cook, so that it doesn’t burn. If the sausage and vegetables start to stick while cooking, add more bacon fat or a few glugs of olive oil.
PRO TIP: If there’s too much liquid in the pot, raise the heat back up to a rolling boil to burn off some of the liquid. After letting the pot boil for 10-15 minutes, reduce heat, and let simmer for 20 minutes.
PRO TIP: To make it a memorable experience, add a bottle of beer to the pot when you add the red beans. The yeast in the beer will help thicken the pot and give the beans a unique flavor.
Serves up to 50 people.
- 15 cups of white rice, divided
- 30 cups of hot water, divided
- 8 tsp salt, divided
- 1/4 cup butter, divided
- 2 (9×13) aluminum pans
- aluminum foil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour half of the hot water into each of the two 9×13 aluminum pans along with half of the rice, salt and butter. Tightly wrap each aluminum pan with the aluminum foil.
Place both pans in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove and let rice sit for at least 10 minutes, untouched before checking. Fluff rice with a fork. Reseal with aluminum foil until ready to serve with cooked red beans.
PRO TIP: Give yourself about an hour to prepare and cook the rice. Bring outside to serve with the red beans.
Recipes by Eric Olsson