Denver Vs. Carolina: Who's the Best Team? More Like, Who Has the Best Food?

Yeah, we love the big game, but we're actually really concerned with which city has the best EATS.
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As Peyton Manning and Cam Newton prepare to battle it out on the field, we've been busy coming up with all the best eats and party ideas to make Sunday a full-day fete. (Have you seen FoodNetwork.com's 6-foot-long color-blocked nachos?)

To turn your Big Game gathering into more than just chips and dip(s), I found the best signature dishes from the NFL's two best teams, starting with our neighbor to the East.

Carolina-Style 'Que

Photo by: Photo: Tyler Florence via Food Network

Photo: Tyler Florence via Food Network

North Carolina takes its barbecue seriously -- and I mean, seriously. It has even been a politically-charged subject within the past decade in the House and Senate. Yup.

The state is divided between two distinct types of barbecue based on their sauces and the cuts of pork used: Lexington style and Eastern style. The two styles do share notes in their sauces (vinegar and pepper), making them distinct to the Southeast region and particularly to North Carolina.

Lexington-Style Barbecue:

  • Uses only the pork shoulder
  • Uses a red sauce seasoned with vinegar, pepper, ketchup and spices

Eastern-Style Barbecue:

  • Uses the whole hog
  • Uses a sauce seasoned with vinegar and pepper

Carolina Panthers fans, we've got the perfect recipes for you. Chef Tyler Florence has a crowd-pleasing barbecue dry rub, cider vinegar sauce and cole slaw that will take you right to BoA Stadium.

GET THE RECIPE: Pulled Pork Barbecue

NC_BBQ_075.tif

NC_BBQ_075.tif

Food Stylist: Anne Disrude

Photo by: Photo: Andrew Purcell via Food Network

Photo: Andrew Purcell via Food Network

If you're just dying to get that sweet/spicy vinegar-based barbecue sauce at home, try this simple recipe. If you're having people over for the big game, though, you'll definitely want to multiply the ingredients. Four cups just isn't enough.

Denver-Style Delicacies

Photo by: Photo: Bobby Flay via Food Network

Photo: Bobby Flay via Food Network

Denver has quite an eclectic food scene. When it comes to "What are signature dishes in Denver?" or "What food is Denver known for?" a few claimed the fame: Rocky Mountain oysters, wild game, green chili and the Denver omelet.

Starting with the Denver omelet, I had to know what made this guy so much better or different than other omelets? A Denver omelet (or Western omelet) is typically filled with ham, green bell peppers, onions and cheese. Sounds pretty solid, right? According to some historians, a version of this breakfast staple was crafted by cowboys on long cattle drives using bread with eggs in the middle.

No matter its origination, I'm happy to start Super Bowl Sunday with this egg-based masterpiece. Denver Broncos fans, whip up this twist on the Denver omelet by Food Network fave Bobby Flay.

Photo by: Photo: Nancy Fuller via Food Network

Photo: Nancy Fuller via Food Network

Game meat is really popular in Denver. Elk and buffalo are the local favorites, but you'll also find reindeer, quail, pheasant, ostrich and rattlesnake on restaurant menus. Gourmet hot dog stands are just that — gourmet. Beef is at the bottom of the list here, but you can get your dog in the form of wild boar, elk, yak or duck — if you're "game."

As a nod to the Rocky Mountain region, this hearty chili recipe from Nancy Fuller features both venison and chopped green chilies.

GET THE RECIPE: Venison Chili From the Land

So, who takes home the food win? Broncos or Panthers? You'll have to let your palate decide this one.

21 Game-Day Party Food Ideas

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Nacho-Stuffed Potato Skins

Trade in the tortilla chips for restaurant-style potato skins topped with all the good stuff: guacamole, sour cream, scallions, cheese, bacon and more. (And guacamole does not cost extra.) Get the recipe.

Pepperoni and Cheese Pizza Hand Pies

We all know that pizza's a crowd-pleasing food that can disappear in seconds. These hearty hand pies are a perfect accompaniment to other bite-size party snacks. And they're simple to make, too. Get the recipe.

Pub-Style Pretzels and Beer Cheese

Nothing goes better together than pretzels with beer cheese and your favorite ice-cold brew. Get the recipe for both.

Meatball Marinara Dippers

Use bamboo toothpicks to serve these filling marinara meatballs. Get the recipe.

Photo By: George Foreman Grills

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Dip

Peanut butter and marshmallow fluff make the perfect dessert or appetizer dip. Serve with graham or animal crackers. Get the recipe.

Bacon and Ranch Cajun Baby Cheeseburgers

A cheeseburger is perfect for any occasion. Whip up these mini versions with Cajun seasoning, ranch and bacon for a zesty kick. Get the recipe.

Pimento Cheese

Expecting an entire fan section in your living room? Serve up this Southern-style pimento cheese that can feed at least 20 people. Get the recipe.

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Blackberry Farm and Beall + Thomas Photography

Potato Salad

Whether you're headed to a summer picnic or a Super Bowl party, you can't go wrong with a batch of homemade potato salad in tow. Get the recipe.

Queso Fundido

Bring meat, seafood and vegetarian lovers together with these twists on classic fundido dips. Get the recipes (three!).

Photo By: Jennifer Jane

Rotisserie Chicken

For a quick crowd-pleasing food that won't bust the budget or your time, pick up a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket; then pull it apart and serve it as barbecue chicken sandwiches or sliders.

Salted Stout Caramel Popcorn

Soothe anxious fans with a bottomless bowl of this crunchy-meets-salty snack. Get the recipe.

Healthy Buffalo Cauliflower Skewers

Keep your health-conscious guests in mind when planning your menu, and serve this spicy dish. Get the recipe.

Photo By: George Foreman Grills

Crostini With Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

For the perfect mix of sweet and savory, spread an herbed cream cheese on toasted baguette slices and garnish with dried fruits. Get the recipe.

Mexican Beer + Spices

Mexican beer partners with a handful of spicy sauces to create the best complement to chips and salsa. Get the recipe.

Beer-Glazed Bratswursts

Grab a lager from the pack to flavor bratwursts. Add Dijon mustard and honey, and grill them for a perfect portable treat. Sub a hot dog bun for a freshly-grilled baguette. Get the recipe.

Photo By: George Foreman Grills

Deviled Eggs, Three Ways

Deviled eggs are a classic party appetizer, but we've taken inspiration from favorite flavor combinations to put a new spin on the expected. BLT? Yup. Pesto? You know it. Get the recipes (three!).

Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich

You don't have to be from Philly to enjoy this staple sandwich. Make this with store-bought ingredients to save you time. Get the recipe.

Chile and Lime Roasted Cashews

Too much yelling at the TV? These tangy cashews will quiet the room. Get the recipe.

Gourmet Potato Chips

Help guests satisfy their salty tooth with a serve-yourself snack station stocked with kettle chips, savory seasonings and gourmet toppings. Get the how-to.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Grilled Parmesan Pesto Chicken Wings

Your guests may not agree on what team to root for, but they'll all agree this healthy version of wings is worth cheering for. Get the recipe.

Photo By: George Foreman Grills

Cornbread-Topped Chili in-a-Jar

Cornbread muffins, your favorite chili recipe, sour cream, cheese (duh!) and green onions are all you need to make this warm and cozy winning dish. Get the recipe.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Creamy Lump Crab and Corn Dip

Skip the store-bought dips and impress guests with this creamy lump crab and corn mixture served hot with toasted crostini. Get the recipe.

Grilled Sausage and Pepper Quesadillas

Throw sausage and peppers on the grill along with your burgers to make cheesy, easy-to-eat quesadillas. Get the recipe.

Photo By: George Foreman Grills

Roasted Pepper and Mozzarella Bites

If you just found out you're hosting the Super Bowl at your house, fear not. Three major ingredients create one delicious and good-looking appetizer in a jiff. Get the recipe.

Creamy Macaroni and Cheese

I don't trust anyone that doesn't like cheese. This bubbling dish calls for a combination of three tasty cheeses — white Cheddar, Gruyère and Swiss — making this mac 'n' cheese a creamy comfort food that's destined to become the center of attention at your next game. Get the recipe.

Ropa Vieja Mini Tacos

The only thing better than tacos are miniature tacos. Prep the fillings ahead of time, then assemble them in the shell right before guests arrive. Get the recipe.

Coca-Cola Cupcake With Salted Peanut Butter Frosting

Satisfy their sweet tooth during the halftime show with chocolate cupcakes flavored with Coca-Cola and salted peanut butter frosting. Get the recipe.

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Balance all those savory flavors with a touch of sweetness. These triple chocolate brownies will be the perfect treat for your armchair athlete. Get the recipe.

Barbecue Pulled Pork Quesadilla

If you have slow-cooked pork or chicken, spread it between two tortillas with cheese, spinach, barbecue sauce and salsa. Get the recipe.

Spicy Maple Salmon

The combination of hot sauce and maple syrup will take your salmon game up a notch. Make the marinade the night before to save time on game day. Get the recipe.

©George Foreman Grills

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