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5 foods to make for a Tampa Bay vs. Kansas City Super Bowl

Eat your opponent’s signature food or indulge in your own.
A rack of ribs from Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que.
A rack of ribs from Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que. [ MARC TOPKIN | Tampa Bay Times (2018) ]
Published Feb. 1, 2021

Some fans consider it good luck ahead of any game you care about to eat the most popular foods from your opponent’s city. So when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play the New Orleans Saints, we make gumbo. For Super Bowl 55, which pits the Bucs against the Chiefs right here in Tampa on Feb. 7, it seems like a good time to try some Kansas City barbecue.

Marc Topkin, the Tampa Bay Times’ award-winning baseball writer , put a rack of ribs from Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que as No. 5 on his list of 60 things that will make this MLB season different, which he wrote last year because he wouldn’t be traveling with the team.

“They also sell sauce by the jug,” Topkin said gleefully.

You can buy the stuff yourself at They’ll even mail you a rack of ribs. Their barbecue sauce is known for its sweet tomato base with a little kick of heat at the end from chili powder or red pepper flakes.

A Cuban sandwich platter is pictured at the Cuban Sandwich Festival in Tampa in November.
A Cuban sandwich platter is pictured at the Cuban Sandwich Festival in Tampa in November. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]

Another option for your Super Bowl spread is to pay tribute to Tampa, the true home of the pressed Cuban sandwich. Keep in mind the recipe here from Tampa’s famous Columbia Restaurant just says “smoked ham,” which is actually a fully cooked ham glazed with both granulated and brown sugar. Not to mention the pork shoulder in this recipe is marinated overnight with orange juice and garlic and roasted for hours. Only then can you make the sandwich. See for the full recipes.

Related: Tampa claims Cuban sandwich as its own but Miami begs to differ

And since we are in an unusual year, where a crowded house party is frowned upon, we also have some ideas for dips and other snacks, such as Dirty Shrimp, which don’t involve a shared serving spoon.

Kansas City ribs

The ribs recipe is a copycat we found on because the Barbecue Hall of Fame inductee and pit master Jeff Stehney of Joe’s in Kansas City certainly isn’t giving up his recipe.

Food & Wine writer Paul Kirk offers his best version of his hometown’s classic barbecue sauce.

Give the ribs a rub and the smoke treatment on the grill, though you can also make them in the oven. An instant-read thermometer is a handy tool to tell you when they are done.

2 ½ pounds of spare ribs

For the rub:

2 tablespoons white cane sugar

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

2 tablespoons Hungarian paprika

2 tablespoons seasoned salt

1 ½ teaspoons chili powder

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1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon granulated onion

1 teaspoon white pepper

1 teaspoon finely ground black pepper

For the sauce:

3 cups ketchup

⅔ cup dark brown sugar

½ cup water

½ cup white wine vinegar

½ cup tomato paste

2 tablespoons yellow mustard

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 tablespoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon ground ginger

To make the sauce: In a medium saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil over moderate heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent scorching.

To make the rub: Combine the sugars, paprika, seasoned salt, chili powder, cumin, onion, white pepper and black pepper and blend well.

To make the ribs: Remove the membrane from the back of the slab of ribs and trim any excess fat. Season the slabs all over with the rub. Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Cook the ribs using the indirect method at 275 degrees. “Indirect” means not directly over flames or coals. Push the hot coals to one side or turn off the gas on one side of the grill. Put the meat on the “off” side and close the lid.

Cook the ribs for 5 to 6 hours, turning them every hour or two. The ribs are done when you can easily pull them apart or they bend significantly in the middle when picked up. But checking them with a thermometer is best. Look for 203 degrees for internal temperature.

Apply barbecue sauce during the last 15 to 30 minutes. If grilling or smoking, you can move the ribs over to the hot side to “set” the sauce.

Don’t have a grill? Cook covered in a 325-degree oven until tender, around 2 or 3 hours.

The famous Cuban sandwich that's on the menu at the Columbia Restaurant located on E Seventh Avenue in Ybor City.
The famous Cuban sandwich that's on the menu at the Columbia Restaurant located on E Seventh Avenue in Ybor City. [ OCTAVIO JONES | Times ]

Columbia Restaurant’s Cuban Sandwich

9-inch piece of Cuban bread

4 ounces smoked ham, thinly sliced

1 ½ ounces pork loin, thinly sliced

1 ounce Genoa salami (peppercorn studded preferred), thinly sliced

1 ounce Swiss cheese, thinly sliced

2 pickle chips

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

Soft butter

Cut Cuban bread in half lengthwise. Layer sliced meats and cheese in the following order: ham, pork, salami and then cheese. Place pickle chips evenly on top. Spread mustard on top half of bread. Lightly butter both top and bottom of sandwich. Heat sandwich in a press until crisp. Cut diagonally from corner to corner.

Serves 1.


Beer dip

1 package Hidden Valley Ranch mix

16 ounces softened cream cheese

6 ounces beer

6 ounces shredded cheddar cheese

Combine and chill all the ingredients. Serve with pretzels or chips to scoop.

Onion dip

1 cup sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

4 ounces softened cream cheese

2 tablespoons dried onion flakes

2 minced garlic cloves

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons sliced green onions

Combine and chill all the ingredients at least 2 hours. Garnish with sliced green onions. Serve with crackers, pita chips or vegetables to dip.

Dirty Shrimp

½ cup butter (1 stick)

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or more to taste)

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon basil

1 teaspoon oregano

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

2 pounds shrimp, cleaned and deveined

Melt butter in medium-hot pan and add seasonings and garlic, cooking for 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook until firm and pink, about 4 minutes. Can be served immediately or at room temperature as an appetizer.

Source: Sharon Kennedy Wynne

Super Bowl 55

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs face off Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Kickoff time is 6:30 p.m. The game is on CBS.

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