Pigskin Playbook with Hormel & Friends

the Hormel Party Play

When Foodbuzz announced partnering with Hormel and pitched the idea for some of us to come up with recipes, I was all for it and said heck yeah. I immediately thought of pigskin tailgating and of friends sharing food. As we near the fourth quarter of this season, the feudal fury of college football makes everyone hungry on game-day. Hormel and football go, well, to fumble a cliché, hand in mouth.

Many thanks to Hormel and the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program. I enjoyed coming up with these recipes and I think everyone who shared the fine Hormel foods enjoyed them as well. Hope you will play on this team.

As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, 
I received products from Hormel, coupons for Hormel items 
as well as for friends and a stipend for other food and party supplies.

Here are a few snapshots of the game...
Olive & Pepperoni Tapenade
Ham & Black Eyed Pea Salad Pita
Ham & Cheese Ball Appetizers
BBQ Tenderloin for Sandwiches
Cajun Biscuits with Green Onion Mayonnaise
Toasted Bacon Crusted Figs
Now for the playbook:

Olive & Pepperoni Tapenade
Based on Mediterranean style tapenade with a flavoring from pepperoni and the sweetness of ripe olives with mild bell pepper. Served on bite-size cheese toast for an exceptional taste.

2 ounces Hormel® Turkey Pepperoni
1 cup sliced ripe black olives
1/4 cup sliced Spanish green olives
1/2 cup diced red pepper
1 small clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons capers
2 to 3 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
Couple of good shakes red pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
serve with:
thin bread cut into bite-size rounds
Thin slices of Edam or Gouda cheese

Drain olives. Place pepperoni in the bowl of a food processor with metal blade and pulse coarse. Add olives, garlic, capers, basil, parsley, red pepper and lemon juice. Pulse to mix and add the oil processing to combine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until the mixture becomes a chunky paste. Transfer to a bowl.

Place a thin slice of cheese over thin toast rounds and run under a broiler to toast the cheese. Top with a spread of the tapenade when serving.

Also: Serve the tapenade in a bowl with crackers, toast points, pita chips or even crudités.

Ham & Black-Eyed Pea Salads in Pitas
Serving fine ham and black-eyed peas together is a southern institution. This is my twist on marinated Black-eyed pea salad combined with a creamy ham salad - perfect for pita filling. Makes about 3 cups of each salad.

1 -14.5 oz can black-eyed peas, rinsed & drained well
1 cup finely diced celery
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
1/4 cup finely minced red onion
1 jalapeño, minced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste

2 cups Hormel® Cure 81® Boneless Ham, 1 inch cubed
1 tablespoon Creole grain mustard
1/4 cup pickle salad cubes, drained
Cayenne to taste
2 hard-boiled eggs, diced
1/3 cup mayonnaise
serve with:
lettuce, tomato and pita bread

Combine the first 5 ingredients in a bowl. Combine the the next 4 listings in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute on high. Mix the vinegar mixture with the peas, cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

In a food processor with metal blade, add ham and pulse to chop in a spreadable consistency. Spoon ham into a bowl and fold in the mustard, pickles, cayenne, eggs and mayonnaise.  Set aside.

Drain liquid from peas, remove bay leaf and set aside.

Cut each pita in quarters and stuff a good tablespoon of the ham salad along with a spoonful of the black-eyed pea salad into each serving; add a layer of lettuce and tomato if desired. Plate and serve immediately.

Ham & Cheese Ball Baked Appetizers
An all-time classic for any party but with the added great flavor of cured ham and the sweetness of roasted onions. Makes about 6 dozen or enough for a dozen football fans

1 tablespoon butter

1 1/3 cup finely minced sweet onions
1 1/2 cup AP flour
2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup Hormel® Cure 81® Boneless Ham, finely diced
1 (12-ounce) package Little Sizzlers® Tabasco Pork Sausage Hot or bulk hot sausage
12 oz extra sharp cheese, grated

In a small sauté pan, melt butter and cook the onions slowly to brown. Let cool completely.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the onions, ham and cheese to coat. Add the sausage and work with your hands incorporating mixture together to a somewhat dry mixture.

Spray 2 baking pans with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Roll about a tablespoon of mixture in your hands, place 1-inch apart on baking pan and continue shaping balls. Place one pan in center of oven and bake for 8 minutes. Use a spatula to turn balls over and continue baking another 7 to 10 minutes or until light brown. Remove to paper towels to absorb excess oil. Continue baking the next pan.

Serve with grain mustard, red pepper jelly or a barbecue sauce.

Note: These freeze well, just roll them out and freeze uncooked on a pan. Defrost about 15 minutes before baking as above.

Roasted BBQ Pork Finger Sandwiches
Serve about 15 guests with these easy petite sandwiches featuring succulent slices of spicy-sweet pork that makes southern style BBQ so wonderful. What ever you do, don't leave out the tangy sweet heat from these pickles. A true BBQ classic.

1 -18 oz Hormel® Always Tender® Peppercorn Flavored Pork Tenderloin
My BBQ Rub for Pork or a good BBQ Seasoning
My Bourbon BBQ Sauce or your favorite bourbon barbecue sauce
My Sweet & Spicy 1-Day Pickles or Spicy Bread & Butter Pickles
Finger rolls, party bread or dinner rolls cut in half

Remove pork from wrapper. Roll loin in rub and completely cover with seasonings. 

Conventional Oven:  Place tenderloin in shallow baking pan. Bake in a preheated 425°F oven for 25-30 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of the meat registers 155°-160°F.
Grill: Heat grill. Place tenderloin directly on grate of grill. Grill over medium heat for 25-30 minutes, turning occasionally, or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest portion of the meat reaches 155°-160°F.

Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into very thin slices not more than 1/4-inch thick. Heat 1/2 cup barbecue sauce in a large bowl. Toss the pork in the sauce to coat. Cover and set aside keeping warm.

Heat rolls according to package directions. Spit open and add several slices of pork, a couple of slices of pickles with the onions if using my recipe and plate on a warm serving tray. Cover with a warm towel or place in a low warming oven until serving time.

Roasted Pork Cajun Biscuits
Couldn't cook for my friends without a little Creole or Cajun influence. This simple party appetizer takes the classic elements of varying southern tastes far beyond good hospitality. Serves about 18 guests

1 -24 oz Hormel® Always Tender® Onion Garlic Flavored Pork Roast
recipe for Cajun Mayonnaise
Creole or Roma tomatoes
Tea Biscuits (Bite size frozen biscuits)

Conventional Oven: Remove pork roast from wrapper. Place roast on a shallow baking pan. Bake in a preheated 325°F oven for 45-50 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of the meat reads 160°F.
Grill: Remove pork roast from wrapper. Place roast directly on grate of grill. Grill, over medium heat, turning occasionally for 40-45 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portion of the meat reads 160°F.

Let meat rest 5 minutes before slicing into 1/4-inch thin pieces. Cut just a little larger than the biscuits. Wrap meat in foil until ready to assemble.

Bake biscuits according to package directions. Slice each in half, spread a thin layer of Cajun mayonnaise on each half, add 2 or 3 slices of pork to bottom half and a 1/4-inch slice of tomato to the top. Run tops under the broiler to melt the tomato just a bit. Add a thin layer of the mayonnaise on top of the tomato before assembling. Serve immediately.

Toasted Bacon Crusted Figs
Makes about 18 appetizers featuring crisp bacon in harmony with the taste of mild nutty cheese and the sweetness of sun-dried figs.

1 - packages dried whole brown figs
4 oz goat cheese
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup toasted pecans or walnuts, finely chopped
1 cup Hormel® packaged Real Crumbled Bacon

In a small bowl, mix the goat cheese with the pecans and pepper.  Slice the figs in half and using your finger, press onto a baking sheet making an indention in each piece. Stuff about 1/2-teaspoon cheese mixture into each one. Dip cheese topping into honey and press fig in crumbled bacon. Place on baking sheet bacon side up.

Cook in a preheated 425 degree F. oven for 4 to 6 minutes or until bacon begins to crisp. Let cool 5 minutes and plate for serving.


  1. I want to watch the games at your house!! What a great spread of food. I especially like the figs & bacon and the tapenade.

  2. Holy Moly what a spread, lucky for Hormel to have snagged you to promote them, love the olive spread and the addition of ham is wonderful nice job here, as usual! wow thanks for more Sunday game day fabulous idea's and recipes a big wow!

  3. My gracious what a feast! Every single recipe looks delicious, but I'll have a taste of that black eyed pea and ham salad first, please!

  4. Drick, everything looks so yummy! (no doubt they taste delicious too). Just to let you know I'll be inviting myself over later. hehe...
    Thank you for the nice comment at Chef Dennis' blog. I look forward to reading more posts from you. Have a great weekend. Michael

  5. Seriously! Could you have hosted a better football party than this? We are big football fans in this house. Our son is the head coach of a local high school. Not low cal, but for a football party? Perfection. :)

  6. Wow Drick this is an impressive tailgate list! I love the figs but know those pork biscuits and baked ham n cheese balls would be absolutely irresistible for me.

  7. Oh...my...goodness!! I'm in trouble. Drick, for once you have tried to tempt me with so much mouth-watering food in one shot!!! I wonder where to start and where to end. I think I should make them as my computer screen...haha. These are just perfect for parties. Thanks very much for dropping by while I was away. Didn't had time for much cooking. Just managed to cook a few dishes that my parents like. How's your house? Hope it's all completed. Hope you have a wonderful weekend.

  8. Oh my god, I so want to come to your house and eat your leftovers. That much pork in one place makes me drool. I am now craving large quantities of bacon and BBQ. I am especially drooling over the biscuits. Very nice, very nice indeed.

  9. I don't know where to start, Drick! They all look absolutely spectacular. A couple of these may make it onto our holiday party menu. Thanks!! Kate @ kateiscooking

  10. What an amazing post! Everything looks so yummy... I can't wait to try some of them :)

  11. It looks like this would be an amazing tailgating party. The tapenade and figs really caught my eye.

  12. Drick, these photos are mouthwatering - what an unbelievable spread!!!!!

  13. The bacon figs! Oh My... what a beautiful feast.

  14. Woweeeee, now that's one good lookin' spread!! Would love a taste of each dish, but those Ham and Blackeye Pea Salad Pitas and Roasted BBQ Pork Finger Sandwiches are "over the top" and have me drooling! And omg, those Toasted Bacon Crusted Figs look fabulous! Kudos, cher, you really outdid yourself on these! Cheers!

  15. Wow, what a line up of great party foods...and the photos are just fantastic :)
    These recipes are truly creative and I know my family would love each and every one :)

  16. What a fantastic spread -- you put my Football treats to shame!!! Thanks for visiting my blog and for the great compliment -- I really love all of your recipes and look forward to when they pop up in my google reader :)

  17. Wow what a football spread indeed, my football family would devour every last bite of these fab offerings, I love the toasted bacon crusted figs and the ham and black eyed pea salad...how lucky hormel is to have their products featured in your tasty recipes...great job drick!!



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