A football Saturday without a tailgate is like a UVA kickoff without the thundering hoofbeats of the Cavalier Man, Georgia Tech taking the field without the Ramblin’ Wreck, or a Mississippi State game without cowbells. And no tailgate is complete without a heavy squeeze of the South’s favorite condiment—Duke’s Mayo.
Three leading Southern chefs recently proved just that at Garden & Gun’s Tailgate Throwdown in partnership with Duke’s Mayo. The epic game-day recipe contest challenged Samantha Fore of Tuk Tuk Lex in Lexington, Kentucky; the Garden & Gun Club’s own Sam Davis; and Micheal Taylor, the Charlotte-based private chef to pro athletes. Using the South’s mother sauce in a variety of trick plays—shrimp sliders slathered in confit garlic spicy mayo, an umami-packed chili sauce on wings, and grilled cheese with seeni sambol onions—the chefs faced off for the title of Mayo MVP. In between refreshments of Blade and Bow cocktails, the crowd sampled the dishes and ultimately named Fore the champion. Now you can try for a repeat performance at your own tailgate with these recipes.