When you think of baseball, a lot of things will come to mind – warm weather, fun competition, and obviously, stadium food. However, ballparks are not the only locations to enjoy hot dogs, hamburgers, fries, nachos, peanuts, popcorn, cotton candy, and ice cream. Pick a baseball theme for a picnic and enjoy the spirit of the sport along with the tasty food we all know and enjoy. Here are several suggestions for bringing the ballpark to your picnic:
Hot Dogs, Hot Diggety Dogs!
Let’s start in the stadium. Once you walk through those gates, the first thing you look for is the food stands. Those hot dogs are calling your name. Or maybe it is a nice juicy hamburger or hot Italian sausage with the works. For your baseball themed picnic, these are classics.
Regardless of where you have a picnic: your backyard or at a neighborhood park, you will most likely need a portable grill. This can allow you to grill hot dogs, sausages, and burgers to perfection. Bring along lots of mustard, ketchup, relish, diced onion, and pickles for a great ballpark feel. Do not forget to grill some onions and peppers, too, to be able to complete the ballpark concession stand favorites.
Beyond the traditional hot dogs, sausages, and hamburgers, you might have nachos. The easiest approach to supply this classic ballpark snack would be to acquire nacho cheese sauce. You will find it canned at your grocery store. Bring a grill-safe dish to heat the sauce and pour over tortilla chips in individual paper bowls. It goes great with jalapeno peppers if desired.
Peanuts, of course in the shells, and popcorn are classics that can quickly be added to your picnic. Put a cup or two of unshelled peanuts in little paper bags and leave them around the table for guests to enjoy. Fill bags with popcorn as well. These are simple snacks, but because they are classic ballpark fare, they are a must serve.
Do not forget the Cracker Jacks. If you would like to create your own, just follow a simple caramel corn or poppycock recipe, add nuts, and you will have have another classic treat. Cotton candy can be bought in plastic bags in most party stores or candy shops. These make a fun addition to a baseball theme picnic. Then, of course, don’t forget the pretzels. Big, soft pretzels are fantastic if you can make them, but if not, bags of pretzels will satisfy your guests too.
Beyond the Basics: Tailgate Pros
Not everyone who goes to a baseball game grabs a hot dog, a bag of peanuts, and takes their seat just in time for the very first pitch. Tailgate party veterans know a thing or two about enjoying the day by having a variety of foods, as well as the best way to pack the proper foods for a entire day of outdoor fun at the ballpark.
Presuming you will have access to a grill, other easy suggestions for the main course would be chicken drumsticks and wings, turkey legs, as well as ribs. You could dice the meat and make kabobs, or add a marinade or glaze and grill the legs, wings, or ribs with delicious results.
Chili is one more classic tailgating dish that truly does double duty. A nice massive bowl of chili is actually a filling dish all on its own. But, if your heart’s desire at a ballpark would be to eat a hot dog, why not turn it into a chili dog? With a nice sturdy bun, grilled hot dog, a generous spoonful of chili, along with a sprinkling of diced sweet onion, you have got another great ballpark classic.
You would by no means go wrong with fantastic classic sandwiches. Develop stacks of sandwiches that contain anything from tuna, chicken, and egg salad, to cold cuts, cheese steak, hoagies, clubs, and grilled cheese. Use your imagination to add some additional ingredients and watch your picnic guests devour each and every last bite.
Fresh fruit and vegetable salads are not out of the question, either. As with other picnics that feature similar foods, you would do well to include bean salad, potato salad, coleslaw, watermelon, and vegetable and fruit salads which are easy to carry along to a baseball picnic. Stick to serving the classics mentioned to keep the old time ballpark theme going.
Expanding on the basics in the stadium is what tailgating is all about. Rather than serve basic nachos, how about throwing in almost anything else that would taste great? Add ingredients in your ‘super nachos’ like black olives, shredded cheese, sour cream, fresh tomatoes, hot or mild peppers, and perhaps some fresh basil, cilantro, or parsley. Bring along your favorite salsa to spoon on them as well.
For dessert, keep it traditional and basic. Make lemonade popsicles and popcorn balls. Of course America’s preferred pastime deserves America’s favorite: apple pie! An additional tailgater’s trick is to make individual apple pie ‘pockets’ as opposed to attempt to serve slices from a full pie. Be sure to have ice with it, or even the classic slice of cheddar cheese.
Set the Stadium Stage
There are many easy ways to set the mood for a baseball picnic theme. To start with, you will surely wish to play the part of true baseball fans by bringing bats, balls, mitts, jerseys, and lots of team spirit along, to enjoy a fun and informal game sometime during the day.
Set up a diamond, even if it needs to be small, and invite everyone up to bat once at least. Use whiffle balls so any age can play. If you don’t have enough guests to divide into teams, play a sort of scrimmage where everybody gets a turn with the bat, then goes to the outfield right after they get to the home base or they are out.
The table and food service need to be very simple. As in a stadium, everything is served in paper dishes. Condiments are in large containers right next to the food. Everybody helps themselves to drinks. Put drinks, salads, and desserts in coolers and make almost everything easily accessible to guests. It is also fun to get sports-themed serving dishes, like little plastic baseball cap bowls, in most party shops if you would like to use them.
Decorate with baseball memorabilia, caps, and equipment you may have on hand. Set up a basic scoreboard utilizing posterboard with cut out numbers. Be sure to have a radio having a game playing in the background if possible. And don’t forget the seventh-inning stretch! Write up the words to the song “Take Me Out To The Ballgame” on a board so everybody can sing along.
As it is possible to see, a baseball theme for your next picnic is a fantastic way to have family fun, camaraderie, and competitive spirit that brings people closer together. Naturally, it all starts with our favorite ballpark food. Use these easy suggestions to put together a memorable event which will leave every person satisfied as they leave your ‘stadium.’
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