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How to Eat the SEC

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If you insist on making something edible your mascot, we have to oblige. This is all your own fault, really.

Tostitos BCS National Championship Game - Oregon v Auburn
I FEEL LIKE CHICKEN TONIGHT/LIKE CHICKEN TONIGHT
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

So, Ole Miss made a...well...let’s call it a decision, to officially adopt a land shark mascot.

We had jokes. And I had a tweet.

And jokes aside...this actually works pretty well for most of the SEC. So feel free to do your best and consume God’s Conference and steal its powers, other fans.

Anyways, we all collaborated and did our best to come up with some realistic options that don’t involve me having to Google things that could get me on a watch list of some sort.

Alabama: Boudin Rouge

The blood god demands sacrifices. You didn’t really think they just got this good on hard work, did you?

Arkansas: Grilled Pork Loin with Blackberries

There’s a million ways we could go here, but for a tailgate it’s good to break out the grill.

Auburn: Bourbon-Brined Chicken

We can make a Tigers joke, or we can talk about Auburn’s other two mascots: a bird and drunk Pat Dye. Combine both traditions.

Florida: Alligator Sauce Piquante

Luckily, gator actually tastes pretty good, especially if you know how to cook it.

We know how to cook it.

Georgia: Pimento Cheese

It involes red and mediocre experiences on the golf course. What’s more Georgia than that? Take your pick of these Southern Living recipes.

Kentucky: Drunk Pigs in A Blanket

But what does andouille-stuffed beignets have to do with Kentucky?

They’re dunkable.

Mississippi State: Mississippi Pot Roast

In Starkville, seasoning means a packet of ranch dressing mix.

Missouri: Ooey Gooey Butter Cake

Okay, it’ a reach, but it’s a Missouri thing.

Ole Miss: Chargrilled Shark Brochettes

Note: Not available in The Grove because YOU CAN’T COOK IN THE GROVE.

They think they know how to tailgate.

South Carolina: Chicken Stew

Some of these are much easier than others.

Tennessee: Hot Chicken

No, we’re not touching Smokey and you’re a monster for suggesting it.

Texas A&M: A Cupcake

Dogs, shmogs, we know what the Aggies really are. And our own Christina Stephens has an ace of a recipe:

Chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting

Cake and frosting adapted from Joy the Baker

Yes, this cake is a vegan cake. It’s also a really nice texture and no one will be able to tell it is vegan at all. The vinegar and baking soda help give it a nice rise. I’ve subbed in cooled brewed coffee for some of the water without having problems.

CAKE:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli or Hershey’s)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 2 cups cold water

To make:

  • Preheat your oven to 350.
  • Sift your dry ingredients together in a large bowl. This bowl is going to be where your batter ends up, so bigger is better. I know sifting is annoying. DO IT ANYWAY.
  • In another smaller bowl (with a pour spout if you have one), whisk your oil, water, vanilla and white vinegar.
  • Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry, whisking as you go. Let it get all mixed together, but don’t over mix it. You’re going to end up with a very wet batter.
  • Line your cupcake tin with paper liners. Fill each cupcake about 2/3 of the way full. (You can use a clean measuring spoon or even an ice cream scoop.) This should make between 18 and 24 cupcakes.
  • Bake for around 20-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool for a few minutes in the baking tins and then remove and cool all of the way on a rack. (Seriously, they need to be totally cool when you frost them.)

PEANUT BUTTER FROSTING:

Ingredients:

  • Two sticks of unsalted butter, softened
  • Creamy peanut butter of your choice (I recommend something processed like Jif. I’ve never made this with “natural” style peanut butter.)
  • Powdered sugar, probably between three and four cups
  • A few tablespoons of milk

To make:

  • For starters make your butter is softened and at room temperature. This is VERY important. You do not want cold specks of butter because that will lead to lumps. Hot spots in the butter will break down the frosting. (DO NOT MICROWAVE BUTTER TO SOFTEN IT.) The best way to “soften” butter is to just stick it out on the counter, maybe for hours. It has to be room temperature.
  • Place the butter and a cup of peanut butter in the bowl of a stand mixer (this can all be done with a hand mixer, but bless you child). Beat with your paddle attachment until the butter and peanut butter are evenly combined and no lumps are left. Stop and scrape down the edges and make sure the bits at the bottom are well combined. (You don’t want to have separated butter.)
  • Sift around three cups of powdered sugar into another bowl. When making frosting, use the freshest powdered sugar you have – if it begins to have little lumps that you can’t sift out, you’ll end up with grainy frosting.
  • With your stand mixer running on a low speed, begin to add powdered sugar by the spoonful, adding more as each bit is incorporated. You will add three cups this way.
  • Resist the urge to dump the entire bowl of sifted powdered sugar into the bowl of the mixer. This will only result in you looking like an extra in Scarface.
  • Once the first three cups of powdered sugar are incorporated, slowly up the speed on the mixer to medium and add a tablespoon of milk and beat for another minute or two. If the frosting is thicker than you like, drizzle in a little more milk, but don’t go crazy.
  • Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides and taste the frosting. If you want it to be sweeter and thicker, add another cup of powdered sugar, with the mixer running on low, a few spoonfuls at a time.
  • You can store in the refrigerator overnight (covered, of course), but you will need to bring it back to room temperature and possibly beat it again lightly before frosting your cupcakes.

To assemble:

  • Frost the (completely cooled) cupcakes with the peanut butter frosting. If you’re feeling zany, chop up Reese’s peanut butter cups (or peanut butter M&Ms or Reese’s Pieces) and sprinkle on the top.
  • Frosting tip: You can use a bag or a frosting gun, but for a quick “rustic” look, scoop the frosting on the cupcakes with an ice cream scoop. Flatten the frosting gently with an offset baking spatula (or a knife), running in a circular or “S” motion. This will distribute the frosting evenly on each cupcake without the pain of piping.

Vanderbilt: Shrimp Commodore

Okay...look. It has Commodore in the name, okay. Sounds fancy actually, so that works for Vandy.