Appetites: The 'Taste of The NFL' returns to Minnesota

BBQ pork tamale
BBQ pork tamale.
Photo courtesy of Taste of the NFL

The NFL and America's top chefs will come together this Saturday in Saint Paul to raise money for Minnesota's food shelves.

The "Taste of The NFL" returns to Minnesota for the first time in more than two decades, bringing together Hall of Fame footballers, chefs, and celebrities for a star-studded night of food and drink.

Partygoers have the opportunity to sample dishes from all 32 NFL cities, served up by one of their local chefs. Paired with each chef is a current or former player to

Representing Minnesota this year will be Thomas Boemer, chef and co-owner of Revival and Corner Table and former offensive guard Randell McDaniel.

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The "Party with A Purpose" got its start as part of the 1992 Super Bowl celebration when local restaurateur Wayne Kostroski was tasked with creating a food-centric event as part of the festivities.

"Part of the charge of the Super Bowl Committee was what are we going to do to make it different," Kostroski said, "and how do we make people feel, truly, the depth of Minnesota hospitality."

"I thought, I'll get a chef from each of the NFL cities ... and I'll pair them up with a player ... and say 'don't you from New Orleans, and Miami and Houston and LA and say don't you from want to come to Minnesota in January? Isn't that your dream?'"

Over the past 26 years, "Taste of the NFL" and its two sister events have raised and donated more than $25 million dollars to fight hunger across America, created more than 200 million new meals for those struggling with food scarcity. "Heck of a lot of money," Kostroski said. "However, that's not what I look at. What has that done."

As for his favorite thing to eat over the years?

"I always stop at the Cake Boss. It's a step above any kind of desert you've had," he said.

This year's Taste of the NFL is being held at the St Paul RiverCentre on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available. There is also a Taste of the NFL Founders Breakfast Saturday morning at 9 a.m. with Vikings legends Matt Birk, Chuck Foreman, Scott Studwell and more. Tickets for that event are $75, the same price as the inaugural Taste of the NFL in 1992.

Chef Boemer shared one of his favorite dishes with us that you could serve for the Big Game.

BBQ pork tamales

By Chef Thomas Boemer of Revival and Corner Table


Chili BBQ Sauce
5 dried pasilla chiles
5 dried Ancho
5 crushed garlic cloves
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup paprika
1/3 cup salt
2 cup water
3 cup cider vinegar

Tamale dough

1 lb sour cream
1 lb lard
1 tbl salt
2 tsp baking powder
6 oz chili BBQ sauce
1 lb 5oz masa tamale
Corn Husks

Pork shoulder

5 lb boneless pork shoulder


Chile BBQ sauce

Crush garlic cloves and combine on roasting tray. Place in 400 degree oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Add chili, garlic and all other sauce ingredients in a sauce pot and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes until peppers are tender. Pour in blender and puree on high speed. Transfer back to stove and bring back up to a simmer and adjust seasoning. If the sauce is too tart, add more sugar. If it is too sweet, add more cider vinegar.


Season pork shoulder with salt and pepper and place in a 325 degree smoker for 4 to 6 hours or until tender. Pull BBQ pork and dress with chili BBQ sauce.


Whip lard and sour cream until fluffy.Add all dry ingredients (salt, baking powder, masa tamale) together in a bowl. Add dry ingredients and chili sauce and slowly incorporate into lard and sour cream mixture. Soak corn husks for 1hr in hot water. Place a 1/4 inch layer of masa tamale mixture on the broad side of the corn husk leaving 3in of the tail end and f of an inch on either side.

Place a line of the pork and chili sauce in the middle. Use corn husk to fold over each side enclosing the filling then wrap the tail upwards to close the bottom. Place open side up in steamer basket and steam for 45 minutes to an hour. Remove from husk and top with more chile BBQ sauce, melted cheese sauce and garnish with onions, cilantro, and bread and butter pickles.