Ranking the Best and Weirdest MLB Playoff Food
Don’t @ us.
The Major League Baseball regular season is a grueling six-month, 162-game test that only rewards 10 teams with a chance to win the World Series in October. What’s more, only eight teams are permitted more than one playoff game after the wild-card round concludes.
SI Eats felt it was important to reward the remaining eight teams with a fresh take on our original list of the best and weirdest ballpark foods available this season. In June we provided an overview of each team’s best and weirdest item. Now, we’re raising the stakes: We’re going to power rank them. (Don’t @ us. Also, while there may not be any direct correlation between good food and good baseball, it is important to note that the bottom two on our ‘Best’ rankings are facing significant division series deficits…)
The best food available in the playoffs
1. Ben’s Chili Bowl original half smoke (Nationals)
The Nats could be down to their final game at Nationals Park this season, so if you’re there, you best be ordering the chili. It’s top-notch, and it only gets better when complemented by cheese and onions on top of a smoked half-pork, half-beef sausage. Round it out with an order of fries, and get set to enjoy the best ballpark meal you’ll have in October.
2. Elote (Dodgers)
Corn on the cob is already delicious with a little melted butter brushed across it. The flavor only improves when you dress it up a bit like the Dodgers do. Elote is caked with cotija cheese and chili powder, which sticks to the cob after spreading around a bit of mayonnaise. The flavors sound like they might be all over the place, but I promise it’s an item you won’t regret trying.
3. Lobster roll (Red Sox)
There’s not much of a justification needed here. It’s a lobster roll from New England. It’s going to be good. (And likely more expensive than any other food option at Fenway.)
4. Chorizo Loaded Fries (Astros)
Houston pulled off a stellar Tex-Mex option here. It’s hard to find flaws in a bed of fries topped with chorizo, chipotle mayo, queso and green onions. Unfortunately you might need a fork for this one.
5. Chicago-style hot dog (Cubs)
Nothing special to see here from the Cubs, they’re just fulfilling their obligation as residents of Chicago. It’s a lot to stuff in a hot dog—relish, onions, tomatoes, mustard, celery salt and a dill pickle in a poppy seed bun—but that’s the way it’s done.
6. Melt Parmageddon (Indians)
This might fit better on the weirdest food list, but it won USA Today’s Best Ballpark Food of 2016 fan vote. Here’s our description of it from earlier this year, and you can make the call: “It’s a Great Lakes twist on grilled cheese, with a potato and onion pierogi, onions and sauerkraut between two pieces of bread and some cheddar.”
7. D-bat Dog (Diamondbacks)
Is anyone ever ready to demolish an 18-inch corn dog stuffed with jalapeño, cheddar cheese and bacon? Don’t worry, it also comes with fries. The D-backs get points for selling an entree that should be enough for two people, but it’s also a stuffed corn dog.
8. Lobel’s Meatload Burger (Yankees)
Admittedly I’m not a meatloaf fan, so the Yankees’ “best” item was already at a disadvantage. It might taste OK, but I’m infinitely more likely to order The Grub Tub (a large plastic cup that includes a bowl near the top to hold chicken tenders and fries). That’s the Yankees’ true prized concession.
Weirdest food available in the playoffs
1. Killer Kilbane Dog (Indians)
There are bizarre food combinations that are strategic and could work together, and then there’s random concoctions made for Instagram more than consumption. This is the latter. It’s a hot dog with relish, peanut butter!?? and sriracha. Hopefully you’re sitting near a bathroom.
2. Barnyard Wedding (Yankees)
Like most of these options, this isn’t for everyone. But there’s definite potential in a burger topped with cheddar, fried chicken and a hashbrown. Might take two (or seven) people to conquer this beast.
3. Funnel Cake Chicken Sandwich (Diamondbacks)
Sweet and salty mixtures usually work, so I can get behind fried chicken sandwiched between a sugary funnel cake. It starts to climb the weird food rankings when you consider the cheddar cheese and strawberry jam also added to the sandwich.
4. Dodger Burger (Dodgers)
The classic question at most BBQs is “burger or hot dog?” The Dodgers answered “both.” What’s more, on top of the burger-hot dog sandwich is BBQ sauce, jalapeño poppers and caramelized onions.
5. Bourbon and cinnamon babka push pop (Nationals)
Bourbon and cinnamon sounds like palatable option. It’s slightly uncomfortable to imagine that flavor combination in a dessert usually enjoyed by kids. Still worth trying.
6. Lobster Poutine Steak (Red Sox)
Not a ton of creativity points for the Red Sox here. Poutine is already good on its own, and trying to add some lobster and replace the gravy with bisque isn’t as weird as it is wrong.
7. Chicken and Waffle Cone (Astros)
The Astros took a page out of KFC’s book with this concoction. It’s a waffle cone that contains fried chicken, mashed potatoes and honey mustard, resembling KFC’s Famous Bowl that mixes popcorn chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy and corn. Both are delicious. Both aren’t that weird.
8. Pig Candy BLT (Cubs)
This is the surest bet of anything on the list to taste great. That’s why it ranks last on the list of weirdest food. It’s a BLT with candied bacon and the other regular fixings on brioche bun.
Some teams are unveiling items solely for the postseason, so keep an eye out for these delectables.
Carmel Cinnamon Roll Sundae (Diamondbacks)
Fried Chicken and Ice Cream Sandwich (Dodgers)
Fried chicken and ice cream together should probably not be allowed, but the playoffs are full of anxiety. Stress-eating takes on a whole new meaning.