Know What's Better Than The Super Bowl? The Super Bowl of SNACKS
A showdown we would absolutely watch, second to the Puppy Bowl.
January 31, 2018 ● 5 min read
By Richie Nakano | Collage ChefsFeed
Ah, Super Bowl Sunday.
The most glorious, widely celebrated American holiday. A day centered around eating, drinking, debating which brand has the best commercials, and also a football game between two teams that it's likely you do not care about, at all.
It’s a day to gather 'round the tv, fall asleep at halftime, only to awaken to drunkenly watch a special 90-minute episode of Brooklyn 99. It’s also a day when people that loathe sports can wander the streets freely, safe from shirtless bros trying to high five them outside of sports bars.
What makes Super Bowl Sunday so appealing isn’t the game—it's the food. There are many ways to tackle (see what I did there) Super Bowl eating—some people spend all weekend prepping dips and sandwiches, others buy a crudité platter at Safeway and order a pizza.
In any case, not all Super Bowl foods are created equal, which is why we ranked them all, tournament style, and let our machine-learning-algorithm pick out winners. (By which I mean I picked them based on my personal bias and tastes. Sorry nerds.)
Let's meet The Grease Trap Division:
1) Chicken Wings
6) A Recipe Your Cousin Saw On A Video On Facebook and Made and Brought Over
On the other side, we have the Grease Fire Divison:
1) 7 Layer Dip
3) Soft Pretzels
4) Boneless Wings
6) Warm Cookies
The snacks shall battle thus:
GREASE TRAP DIVISION
WILD CARD GAME ONE: Ribs vs A Recipe Your Cousin Saw On A Video On Facebook and Made and Brought Over
Ribs seem like an obvious winner here - they have universal appeal, and like number one seed chicken wings, they have a handy bone for easy handling. But the Facebook recipe has seen a surge in popularity in past years, and everyone likes something that's equal parts dumb AND Instagrammable. Add to this that ribs are crazy expensive, and even if you make 4 racks, each guest is only going to get to eat a couple and it's not looking good. But the Facebook recipe, which is something along the lines of “muffin tin baked bacon-wrapped potato skins stuffed with Nutella and tide pods” is too stupid to move on.
WILD CARD GAME TWO: Popcorn vs Tater Tots
Popcorn is immediately disqualified before the game even begins for lack of effort and is replaced by chili. Tater tots and chili, while seeming on the surface like good Super Bowl food match-up, are not. This is the weakest bracket in our tournament. Tots: cool immediately, due to their being oven-baked instead of deep fried. Some idiot will suggest making them into “totchos” which will likely cause a small fistfight to break out in your living room. Chili: dude, do you really want people eating chili on your couch?
DIVISIONAL GAME ONE: Chicken Wings vs Ribs
WE'VE GOT A GAME ON OUR HANDS HERE, FOLKS. Both are messy, sauce-laden bony meat sticks. Both are crowd-pleasers. WHICH WAY WILL THIS GO??? Well, as pointed out before, ribs are expensive, so the idea of snacking on them for more than a quarter is highly unsustainable. Consider the ability of a wing to gracefully take on a wide variety of sauces, while ribs are more or less stuck in “sweet and tangy” territory, and you have a clear winner.
Winner: Chicken Wings
DIVISIONAL GAME GAME TWO: Nachos vs Chili
Crowd favorite nachos seems like a knockout punch here, but let's look at the looming hole in their defense: poor construction. Ever gotten through the top layer, then found a cold underlayer with unmelted cheese? There are few horrors in life greater than this. They also get cold quickly, and when this happens, your half-brother will inevitably pull the single chip that drags two-thirds of the toppings with it. He will eat it while never breaking eye contact with you, and this image will haunt you in your sleep for the next three years.
Even so, nachos are better than chili. They’re easily assembled, don’t require a spoon, and pair well with cheap beer and margaritas.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: Chicken Wings vs Nachos
Sadly, not the barn burner we were hoping for. On paper, it looks like it would be neck and neck—pile enough guac on anything and typically you’ll have a winner on your hands—but again, poor nacho construction can turn things sour quickly. Properly navigating that giant food pile can take your eyes off the game (and more importantly, the commercials).
Wings offer a sleek, efficient snacking package with satisfying texture and a variety of palate assaulting flavors. An easy win for chicken wings, moving them onto the Super Bowl of Snacks.
GREASE FIRE DIVISION
WILD CARD GAME ONE: Boneless Wings vs Sandwiches
No one likes boneless wings. People think they like boneless wings then order them and they’re 70% coating, 10% sauce, and like 20% weird chicken back meat that's been compressed together, flash frozen, and fried. They don’t even have the appeal of the chicken finger. They’re wings for dummies. And yet! They are consumed en masse by sports fans.
To challenge them is a solid contender: the sandwich. Showing up with a party sub is a pro-move—everyone dives in and the mood is festive…then the bread gets soggy and the lettuce wilts and now you have a sad sub. Someone complains about the lack of roast beef being “a missed opportunity” and then your Mom tells you she’s trying a gluten-free diet out and you throw the sub into the street in disgust.
The boneless wings though, no one says much of anything about those.
Winner: Boneless wings
WILD CARD GAME TWO: Soft Pretzels vs Warm Cookies
Oh man, this one is complicated. On the surface, the soft pretzel is the clear winner. And it’s true—a warm, soft pretzel (preferably served with a beer cheddar dipping sauce) is pretty damn great.
But the warm chocolate chip cookie, baked fresh at halftime, is the perfect foil to all of the savory food you’ve been eating the entire game. The spike of sugar is just enough to give you a second wind, and sends you back to in for more savory snacks, and probably five more beers.
But! The pretzels versatility, and ability to perform at a high level, even when cold, is enough to send it to the next round.
Winner: Soft Pretzels
DIVISIONAL ROUND GAME ONE: 7-Layer Dip vs Boneless Wings
This isn’t even a contest. 7-Layer dip looks at all the pitfalls of nachos and says, “What if we layer everything evenly and don’t cook it?” It has its pitfalls, sure—serve it too cold and the chips will break when you scoop, take your eyes off it for too long and some monster will eat the entire layer of guacamole—but when done right (and made in large quantities) it's nigh impossible to beat.
Also forget boneless wings.
Winner: 7-Layer Dip
DIVISIONAL ROUND GAME TWO: Pizza vs Soft Pretzels
They’re both bready. They’re both salty. But let's face it—pizza is in a league of its own. If you have pizza at your Super Bowl party you have already won. You can literally do the very least and order two pizzas from the very bad pizza place down the street and still have a great party. Everyone likes pizza, it requires no work at all and it wont break the bank.
It's worth noting that a vast array of SuperBowl-themed recipes will ask you to make bagel pizzas, baguette pizzas, pizza wontons, etc. DO NOT DO THIS, IT WILL JUST MAKE EVERYONE MAD AT YOU.
Shouts to soft pretzels—it's not you, it's me.
Winner: Pizza, in a landslide.
CHAMPIONSHIP GAME: 7-Layer Dip vs Pizza
7-Layer Dip comes out of the gates and makes a strong statement here—easy, scoopable, you can eat it literally for hours. Hell, you can have an all 7-layer dip party with different variations. I’d go to that party and brag about the honor of attending it for the rest of my life.
But eventually, someone will say something like, “None of this 7-layer dips is as good as the one my Mom made, but she’s dead now so ill never get to taste it again,” and the entire party will go downhill from there.
Winner: Again, pizza, being no-prep and carrying massive mass appeal sails through.
WE'VE MADE IT TO THE SUPER BOWL OF SNACKS: Chicken Wings vs Pizza, in a very cold city you would literally never visit otherwise
Let's not make this complicated—they're both awesome, they satisfy different needs, and are usually available from the same place. Get your order in early, order a lot, and win everything.
WINNER: The friends we made along the way