Week 1 of the 2022-23 National Football League season begins tonight when the Buffalo Bills take on the Los Angeles Rams, and concludes Monday night when the Denver Broncos meet the Seattle Seahawks.
The rest of the action will take place on Sunday, providing ample opportunity for you to mark the occasion with a party for friends or a private party for family.
The beginning of the NFL season coincides with the end of the grilling season, so this kick-off week offers a perfect opportunity to fire up the grill, prepare some fan or family favorites and open a few bottles of wine.
Here are five pairing ideas to help get the season off to a great start… even if your team doesn’t win.
1. Grilled hamburgers.
Use a lean meat mixture to save calories and turn the patties only once to preserve the juices. Add a slice of American cheese after you’ve flipped the burger so it has time to melt into a gooey goodness. Add condiments if you wish, but a good cheeseburger really doesn’t need anything else. Wine pairing: Merlot.
2. Grilled sausages.
Choose a spicy type and give them a really good char to lend additional flavor complexity. Add your favorite toppings (avoid sauerkraut, please) and use a toasted bun for even more flavor. Wine pairing: Zinfandel or Petite Sirah.
3. Grilled hot dogs.
If sausages are too spicy for your palate, opt for an all-beef hot dog. Again, add your favorite toppings (even sauerkraut is okay) and serve on a toasted bun. Wine pairing: a well-chilled rosé-style wine.
4. Chicken kebabs.
Load up skewers with chunks of chicken, various hues of bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, baby ’bellas (mushrooms) and onion slices, then cook them on a grill to add even more flavor diversity. Wine pairing: Gruner Veltliner or dry Riesling.
5. Grilled tilapia.
Tilapia is not just for fish tacos. With fewer calories than salmon, it can be part of a healthy diet and also grills wells, its flavors melding nicely with the char of the grill. Wine pairing: Sauvignon Blanc or a Hungarian Furmint — hard to find but worth the search.
Are you ready for some football? Whether you are or not, the season is here — so let’s enjoy some wining and grilling while we still can!