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'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



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.

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