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Classic crab dip destined to be a tailgating winner

Mark Miranda knows how to tailgate.

As executive chef of the Rusty Scupper, Miranda regularly feeds hundreds of ravenous Ravens fans before each game. The restaurant's $19.95 buffet features all the staples — including a crowd-favorite crab dip — and all you can drink draft beer.

"You want comfort foods — things that are native to yourself and Baltimore," said Miranda, 48, the executive chef for the popular Inner Harbor seafood restaurant. "Chicken wings with barbecue sauce or old bay, sausage, peppers and onions are huge. You want stuff that is relatively easy to make, easy to transport and transferable to a grill."

When it comes to being more traditional and doing it yourself in a parking lot with throngs of other fans, Miranda stresses fresh ingredients to help perfect a meal.

"You want to use a lot of fresh ingredients," he said, while rattling off some secret makings for a killer barbecue sauce: cilantro, salt, pepper and lime juice.

"You want to stand out," he said. "Try applewood smoked bacon wrapped shrimp. Cucumber, jicama slaw. Add ingredients that the normal person is not accustomed to using."

Crab Dip

Makes: 10-12 servings

1 1/2 pounds cream cheese

1 1/2 cups mayonnaise

2 tablespoons Old Bay

1 cup Sherry wine

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1 cup fresh jumbo lump crabmeat

1 loaf baguette

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend cream cheese in a Cuisinart or mixer with all ingredients except the cheese, crabmeat and bread. Pour mixture into bowl and fold in crabmeat. Place in 6x10 aluminum pan and top with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 until golden brown and bubbling and serve with sliced baguette.

Note: Can be refrigerated and served baked next day and cooked on closed grill.

Courtesy of Mark Miranda, executive chef at the Rusty Scupper

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