THE GRILL REGION: Pulled Pork vs. Wings(Previous round: Pulled Pork 66% Ribs 34%; Wings 59% Brats 41%) PULLED PORK: If done right, there isn't much better than pulled pork. The same goes for good wings, but good pulled pork tops good wings any day. However, both can be bad, so it all depends on the quality of the product here. Give me the pork, especially if it's from my man Tad on the smoker in the red lot. WINGS: Wings in a landslide. Pulled pork is too messy. I’m the messiest eater in the Commonwealth. Can control wing smears to an extent. No tailgate food should have to be eaten with a fork or spoon. Plus, I loathe soggy buns. It’s not hogs, it’s poultry. PULLED PORK: I can’t deal with the sloppiness of wings in an outdoor venue. If they’re spicy breaded wings from Indi’s, that’s a different story, but that’s more of the exception than the norm. Besides, pulled pork is probably the best tailgate entree around. WINGS: Both are quality additions to any tailgate; however, I am of the belief that it's not really football season until I've had hot wings and beer, so wings get my vote. Bonus if there's celery and ranch on the side (but never blue cheese). A good pulled pork sandwich with a Carolina vinegar sauce is hard to beat though. I think this is the toughest matchup of the Elite Eight.
THE DIP REGION: Queso vs. Salsa(Previous round: Queso 53% Buffalo Dip 47%; Salsa 54% 7-Layer Dip 46%) QUESO: This is a tough one here because I'm a back-and-forth guy. One chip queso, the next chip salsa. I'm an equal opportunist with queso and salsa. It's like asking a parent to pick a favorite child. It's an even split of equal love. If I have a bag of 100 chips, 50 of them go in the queso bowl and 50 of them go in the salsa bowl. Occasionally I'll dip one chip in both but only in a crowd I feel comfortable with because I don't want to mess with the setup. That being said, I'm going to lean queso here because I've never had bad queso. I've had bad salsa, but never bad queso. Sorry, salsa. I still love you. QUESO: Again, the mess factor strongly favors queso. NFL-level queso is thick in nature, thus lessening the spill factor. Salsa has too many moving parts that normally end up on my shirt, shoes, or britches. Cheese keeps me regular as well. QUESO: How do I pick against hot melty, spicy, cheesy deliciousness? I don’t. QUESO: The Dip Region has been a total mess (pun intended). I'm still not sure how salsa made it past spinach dip in the first round, so I'm definitely going queso here. I agree with Drew that there are some bad salsas in this world (odds are, if you bring me one that you made yourself, I'm not going to like it), plus, I hate cilantro. Queso is not only cheese, therefore delicious, it holds its form well when made correctly and doesn't soak through your plate.
THE ENTREE REGION: Fried Chicken vs. Chili(Previous round: Fried Chicken 61% Pizza 39%; Chili 61% Nachos 39%)
THE SIDE DISH REGION: Pigs in a Blanket vs. Sausage Balls(Previous round: Pigs in a blanket 67% Potato Salad 33%; Sausage Balls 66% Chips 34%) PIGS IN A BLANKET: HUGE pigs in a blanket guy here. Also a huge sausage balls guy, but pigs in a blanket are a Final Four food in my bracket. Heavy favorite to take it all if I'm drawing up the Vegas odds. PIGS IN A BLANKET: Unlike today’s goofy and health conscience school lunches our kids are forced to eat, I grew up on school cafeteria pigs in a blanket. Going old school with this pick, can’t beat the one-two punch of a wiener and biscuit. SAUSAGE BALLS: I need nothing else, just a toothpick and a plate of meatballs. The secret ingredient: grape jelly. SAUSAGE BALLS: Both are delicious, but the combination of cheese and sausage puts the balls over the top. Ones made with spicy Italian sausage? Fuggedaboutit. Also, grape jelly? What the hell, Roush?
Voting ends tomorrow at 9 a.m., so get to it.