Labor Day Weekend is usually the kick-off of the college football season with the pros following close behind. That means tailgating to many football fans before (during & after for some) their favorite teams games. The parking lots or other designated tailgating areas are full of wonderful aromas, grill smoke and rowdy people getting pumped up for the game.
But tailgating just doesn't happen. You and your fellow tailgating group need to do some planning to pull off a successful tailgating experience.
Remember that it's more than just food and your favorite beverages. It helps to get everyone involved in the planning and execution of the event. Let people handle what they are good it (or keep them away from what they are not good at). Someone needs to make sure all the creature comforts are taken care of such as chairs, tables, sound system or TV. I've seen some that bring floor rugs and love-seats and really big flat screens. Don't forget all your team identification items like flags and such.
There is always one person who is great at handling all the beverages and variety is the spice of life. Who has the best cooking equipment and the ability to get it to the location? Some people will bring grills (gas & charcoal), turkey fryers and smokers. Many times the one doing the smoking never sees the game because they've been there too long keeping themselves hydrated (beverage of choice).
You really don't have to bring cooking equipment if you plan your party right. I've got a recipe in the cookbook for Oven Smoked Brisket. You can make that ahead and wrap it up good in foil, place in a cooler and hold it for 3-4 hours at a nice warm temperature. The same goes for pulled pork and there is a recipe here in the blog for that. Pulled Pork
Many tailgaters go with the standard fare of burgers, hot dogs, brats, steak, ribs and the 2 items already mentioned (brisket & pulled pork). Think out of the box once and a while and try different marinades and glazes on chicken, turkey or pork.
Another area to think about is finger foods or snacks. It's kind of nice to change it up from game to game so look for other ideas to try.
This week I'm doing 3 recipes. The first is a finger food for snacking and they're an easy pickle to make and tastes like candy. Thursday is a spicy glaze (from my friend, Scott Manley) and the last one is a marinade on Friday.
I'm going to talk a little more next week on tailgating and have 3 more recipes for you to try at your next tailgate. Have a great week.
Oh, one more thing before I go. The blog broke 9500 hits this past week. Please pass on the link for my blog to your friends. I'm 6 weeks away from having written Cabana Boy Cooks for 1 1/2 years. I'd love to break 12,000 hits before that time is up. I "Thank You" for your help and support of my food blog.