With a little planning and a choice of beers and premix, you can turn your State of Origin party into a night to remember no matter which team is victorious.
They constitute three of the most important nights of rugby league every year, but unlike the Grand Final, when you’ve got the weekend to get your beers and bites in a row, State of Origin takes place on a weeknight. Never fear. With a little planning and prep in the lead-up, you can be ready in time for the opening whistle.
You’re going to need to feed your fellow footy fans. The menu doesn’t need to be fancy, but you do need to ensure there’s enough to keep the hungry hoards satisfied.
Try these three snacks that require minimum time in the kitchen, but deliver maximum flavour: yes, we’re talking spicy chicken wings, mini burgers and sausage rolls.
Buy marinated chicken wings from your local butcher or supermarket, or get plain wings and create your own marinade to control the heat. You’ll also want some pre-rolled pork and beef meatballs to grill for the mini burgers, as well as tomatoes, lettuce, mustard and sauce. Pro tip: raid the fancy bakery section at your local supermarket for brioche slider buns.
The last item on your shopping expedition should be party-pleasing sausage rolls from the freezer section. Just don’t forget to preheat the oven before the game starts.
Mini burgers go well with a couple of Queensland’s best. If you’re looking for a fresh, fruity lager with little bitterness, pick up Great Northern Super Crisp Lager. Perhaps you’re looking for a classic, like smooth mid-strength XXXX Gold.
If you need another partner for the chicken wings, go for something a little … spicier. The Kraken Rum & Cola is made with the popular spiced dark rum to create a bold, rich, smooth drink that will score a touchdown served alongside sticky chicken.
When it comes to those sausage rolls, kick a goal with smooth and slightly sweet Bundaberg UP & Cola.
By now, you should have a lock on the guest list, so when you get home on Tuesday night, prep the viewing area. Do you have enough places for everyone to sit? Get the spare chairs out of the garage or put some comfy cushions on the floor to make sure everyone has a spot in front of the TV.
If you’re going all out, now’s the time to hang some colour-appropriate streamers and balloons.
Put the drinks in the fridge to get a good chill going and, if you haven’t bought chicken wings in marinade, mix up your own sauce, cover the wings in it, then put them in a covered dish in the fridge to soak up the flavour.
Finally, get out platters, plates and napkins so they’re ready to go.
Once you’re in the door, do a time check. Pop the chicken wings and the sausage rolls in the oven about 40 minutes before the game starts (they’ll take 30-35 minutes to cook).
Slice up the tomatoes and rinse the lettuce for the burgers. Get the mini burgers prepped because you’re going to cook the meatballs at half-time, so you’ve got snacks to keep you going through the game. Just squash them in the frying pan to make mini burger patties, then let your guests assemble their own.
Then, because you’ve been such a legend of the league, get ready for your mates to nominate you as the host for the next sports-watching party.