• 10 Pound Clear View Propane Tank Review

    It was back in September 2010 when we discovered Clear View Propane Tanks. In a nutshell, Clear View Propane Tanks are translucent composite fiberglass propane tanks with a protective outer plastic casing. The major shift from holding and transporting propane in an old steel cylinder is that Clear View tanks are lighter weight, more portable, resistant to corrosion and explosion proof. In addition to all that, the best part about these propane tanks is that you can actually see the level of propane inside so you’ll never have to guess how much propane you have left.

    Since Clear View Propane Tanks were new to the United States in 2010, a limited quantity was available and in limited sizes. We received numerous emails from people saying they loved the Clear View tanks but were hoping to get them in a more “tailgate friendly” size. The Clear View tanks available at that time were the full size cylinders that were comparable to the 20 lb. steel tanks you normally find at those propane exchanges. Tailgaters wanted something smaller, more compact and lighter than the full size but also wanted the benefits of being able to tell how much propane is left before needing to refill. The folks at Ragasco, the distributor of the Clear View Propane Tank brand, heard the tailgaters loud and clear. They recently introduced the smaller and even lighter 10 lb. tanks and we got one of the first tanks in order to review it.

    Clear View 10 pound propane tank

  • Gamer Beverage Dispenser Review

    Big Fan Tailgating shipped me a Gamer Beverage Dispenser to test out during the last two Texas A&M games.  Timing was right to test and for the product launch.  Two games, six days.  Plus the all-new product hits shelves and the internet just in time for the holidays and can be found at BigFanTailgating.com

    Upside: You Look Marvelous.

    When you take a look at the image to the right you’ll notice that the product looks great.  The Dispenser, in fact, was the talk of the tailgate prior to the Texas A&M vs. Kansas game.  People wanted to put the product through its paces.

    The product simply looks stellar with wonderfully matched school colors and logos.  To borrow from Billy Crystal’s Fernando character of Saturday Night Live fame – “You look marvelous.”  I’ve included a video of Crystal and former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to serve as a friendly reminder of the catch phrase.  Great stuff.

    This I know, a true sports fan would be very excited to receive this product—it simply looks wonderful.

    The Downside: Judging a Book Completely By It’s Cover

    While it looks great, my tailgate team had difficulties with the prototype unit that Big Game Tailgating provided to us for testing.  The seal at the bottom leaked.  The dispenser leaked more than the porous Kansas Jayhawk secondary that we saw on Kyle Field a few hours later during the Aggies 61-7 victory.   The excitement we originally felt for the Dispenser went away in about 15 seconds when we realized the unit couldn’t be used.

    The leak problem was big enough that I let their president know about the issue first thing Sunday morning.  The next day he sent me a note advising that they had inadvertently shipped me a pre-production sample for the Aggies Dispenser.  The final Aggies unit, in its finished format, actually would not ship until mid-December.

    To make right and for more testing purposes they sent me a Georgia replacement dispenser.  Exceptional customer service and a background that includes licensed big school products for Tailgate Tables, Washer Tosses, the Chill Stick and many more tailgate oriented items helped to set Big Fan Tailgating apart.  Two days later I had the replacement helmet.

    When the Georgia helmet arrived I quickly assembled the product—took 5 minutes—and then placed water in the container portion of the product.  I wanted to be certain the water held overnight with no leaks at all.  It did so with no problems.

    So while this background is important to mention, it seems that Big Game Tailgating has the seal issue solved.  Moreover, any issues should be handled quickly and smartly via their customer support.

    What It Isn’t?

    At first glance, the Dispenser looks like a blender.  It’s decidedly not.  It is simply a very good-looking beverage dispenser.  Title says so, but at a glance—both inside and outside the box—it’s what you might mistake the product for being.


    To be the cool kid on the tailgating block, it’s going to set you back $149.  Arguably small change in today’s team tailgating environment, but not exactly low cost for a single tailgater.

    Without asking, I suspect much of the cost goes into licensing the product.  The helmet, the dispenser and the stylized container all look and feel nice.  Think nice plastic football helmet, not official helmet and you get a sense for the product.  The dispenser adds to the tailgate look and feel with a nice football tap as a finishing touch.

    The base of the dispenser is solid and as another nice touch the company provides a drip collector with a magnet base that smartly clings to and adjusts underneath the aforementioned tap.


    In a segment all it’s own—the collegiate licensed dispenser is a product that makes sense; however, a quick look around the web shows that the Margaritaville Bahamas Frozen Concoction Maker is available for $50 more–priced at $199.

    Several problems for the above mentioned product.  Do you have the generator? Can you pull the wattage? Just as important . . . Are you willing to go lime green?  For Seattle Seahawk and Oregon Duck fans, the Blender makes perfect sense.

    For the rest of us?  We’ll have to wait until collegiate licensed blenders become more widely available or until Dave and team attempt to convert a blender in the same way that they’ve converted Margaritaville grills into Custom Tailgating Grills in the past.

    Final Recommendation

    Gamer Beverage Dispenser–You Look Marvelous!  Form sometimes trumps function in the tailgating world and such is this case for this all-new product from Big Game Tailgating.  If you are looking for a cool, new tailgating idea this holiday season, then this product comes through in the clutch. For more information or to buy one of your own go to bigfantailgating.com or just click HERE.

    For more articles written by Foster “Jim” Flint click here.

  • Texas A&M SEC Tailgating Guide

    Welcome to the new league Aggies and know that things are about to change on the tailgating landscape.  Let’s take a look at some of the key differences that will occur when Texas A&M joins the South Eastern Conference.

    Texas A&M Tailgating

    Tailgating Presence Will Increase Outside of the Stadium

    The Aggies are preseason #8 for football this year.  With the new SEC excitement the tailgating intensity will only go up.  There will be more tailgating done outside the stadium once the Aggies join the SEC.

    At Texas A&M there are those that tailgate outside the stadium during the game, but many times tailgaters are lucky enough to grab an extra seat for the SMU game, the Idaho game–even a conference game against Baylor game.

    That scenario will change considerably when LSU, Alabama, and Ole Miss come to town.  In fact for the first couple of years even Vanderbilt and Kentucky will create enough intrigue that tickets will become even more precious.  As a result the tailgating outside of Kyle Field will grow and Texas A&M will start to show up more often on Top 10 Tailgating Lists.

    More Opposing School Colors

    School colors will be even more prevalent and prominent.  I predict that there will be LSU tailgaters at Kyle Field during the entire season once the SEC deal is inked.

    This year, even though LSU and Mississippi State weren’t among the eight teams represented by those playing for the College World Series, their fans were there in full effect with full on tailgates running outside of the new TD Ameritrade stadium in Omaha.

    As such, I fully expect some enterprising Tiger fans to have their gold and purple tents up and active for the entire season at Kyle Field.  The LSU fans just don’t care what anyone else thinks of them.  With their Cajun bloodlines and strong Houston presence they’ll rationalize that it’s just them getting ready for when the Aggies and Tigers play again.

    Thank God for Starkville though.  At least at Mississippi State games the school colors will be the same and the in your face antics will be less likely.

    Texas A&M tailgaters are a welcoming group.  SEC schools?  Not so much.

    More Trash-Talking @ Tailgates Than Ever Before

    Despite A&M’s good nature, I suspect there will be more conflict in the tailgating parking lots than ever before though.  In large part it will be due to A&M being the new kids on the SEC block and the fact that many of the current SEC schools aren’t afraid to get in each other’s face.  It almost seems to be a sign of caring in these parts.  SEC schools support each other when they are playing out of conference, but when it’s head-to-head—it’s game on!

    At an LSU Florida game I attended, Tiger fans were in the face of anyone wearing Florida blue—yelling “Gator Bait”, walking around with a Florida player hanging in effigy.  The whole tradition of hanging the other teams mascot in effigy is a new play for the Aggies.  It’s something that we’ll have to get used to when we travel and something that we’ll have to bring to the table for future Texas A&M Tailgates.

    A New Level of Intensity

    In fact one of the biggest tailgating differences is that in many SEC towns like Oxford and Tuscaloosa, there aren’t any professional teams nearby.

    The net effect?  Aggie passion and attendance are compromised considerably by tailgaters that spend their money and tailgating time about 90 miles south in Houston with the Texans.

    When There is Less to Do, Football Matters More

    Head Coach Dennis Franchione is a great example.  After a successful run at TCU, Coach Fran landed at Alabama for two years.  He left quickly.  Or was he run out of town? He landed at Texas A&M where he headed up the program for a very long four years.

    Just like the scenario with Coach Fran, the Aggies are a patient bunch.  With Alabama and the SEC it’s more direct.  Roll Tide or Roll on out of here.

    Longhorn Changes

    The one down side to Texas A&M’s move to the SEC is the ending of an historic relationship with the Texas Longhorns.  When the Aggies join the SEC, a huge tradition with the Texas Longhorns will likely be over.

    Truly, this will be the last year of the Longhorn-Aggie football game thanks to the first year of the Longhorn Network.

    It’s going to take some getting used to.  In between every quarter of EVERY game, the Aggies sing the school’s fight song about the Longhorns.  It’s already interesting enough that this happens when Texas A&M plays other teams, but I can’t quite imagine what it will be like when the Aggies don’t play the Longhorns . . . at all.

    This is video from a game last year where the Aggies beat Oklahoma, yet we still managed to saw varsity’s horns off.

    From a tailgating perspective the absence of the Longhorns will take a little edge out of the Thanksgiving Tailgate experience and the rumors are already flying about possible replacements on both sides.  Some believe that Texas is working behind the scenes to schedule a Notre Dame night game on Thanksgiving day.

    Who should the Aggies play?  Well Alabama has Auburn.  LSU plays Arkansas.  It would be great if the Aggies . . . the 13th SEC team played the 14th SEC team.  If that’s Florida State, then that would be great; however, games against Virginia Tech or North Carolina seem less appealing.  Either way that change will be a big one for many families across the state of Texas and the game day tailgating experience.

    The series will surely end though.  If you’re Texas A&M, after playing an SEC schedule you certainly don’t need another tough game against Texas.  The reverse is also true for Texas in their scheduling efforts.  Moreover with upcoming non-conference, home and away games scheduled by the Aggies with USC and Oregon it’s unlikely that the Aggies would put the Longhorns on the schedule for at least a decade.

    Although regular season games are unlikely, I can see a scenario where an SEC Aggie team play a Big XII Longhorn team in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas at some point down the line.

    Even though the campuses are just over 100 miles apart, an Aggie move to the SEC will make the distance between Austin and College Station insurmountable.  Ultimately, this will lead to the biggest tailgating change of all in 2011 when both schools will say goodbye for the foreseeable future via one last Texas-sized tailgate on Thanksgiving Day.

    For other tailgating blog posts written by Foster “Jim” Flint click here.

  • Cin Chili – Tailgate Approved

    As tailgating moves further into the fall and the temperatures in Texas turn cooler there’s nothing better than chili to help keep your tailgate warm.

    After tailgate testing Cin Chili we found it to be such a perfect match that we’ve adjusted our future menus to include Cin Chili for each of our last three tailgates this season.

    Cin Chili is a family owned business started by Cindy Reed Wilkins.  With two first place trophies from the Terlingua International Chili Championship Cindy is the only person with back-to-back titles in the history of the competition–the Archie Griffin of Chili cook-offs, if you will.  Griffin, a former running back for Ohio State University, is the first and only back-to-back winner of the Heisman Trophy.

    After years of perfecting her recipe—she’s won more than 300 cook-offs in her career–Cindy now shares her chili recipes and spices with those that are interested.  She’s even appeared on the Food Networks Thrown Down with Bobby Flay.  Flay routinely challenges the absolute masters in different areas of cooking expertise like BBQ, pizza and chili.  When it came time to take on the world’s best in chili he came to Cindy’s door.

    The Cin Chili mix is value priced at $5.  Ingredients include all the usual suspects: red pepper, jalapeno pepper, salt and special chili powders.  All the details on the product can be found by clicking here.

    Cin Chili is spicy enough to keep your mouth watering and the drinks flowing, but it’s not so hot that you need to call the fire department.  A genuine mix of Chili goodness from one of the all-time greats—Cindy Reed Wilkins.

    Cin Chili – Tailgate Approved.

    Here’s the recipe we tested and will be using during our tailgates.  The recipe below serves 10.

    Cin-Chili Chili

    2 pounds stew beef
    1 teaspoon vegetable oil
    4 1/2 tablespoons chili powder – divided use
    5 teaspoons garlic powder – divided use
    1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
    1 1/2 cups beef broth
    1 teaspoon chicken base or bouillon granules
    1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
    1 tablespoon onion powder
    1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1 1/2 teaspoons white pepper – divided use
    2 cups water
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 green chili peppers
    1 tablespoon paprika
    1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
    1 teaspoon onion powder
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1/8 teaspoon salt

    1. In a heavy kettle, brown stew beef in oil. Stir in 1 tablespoon chili powder and 2 teaspoons garlic powder.
    2. In a large bowl, combine tomato sauce, beef broth, chicken base, chopped jalapeno, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, cayenne pepper, 1 teaspoon white pepper, water, 1 tablespoon chili powder, salt, and green chili peppers. Add to the beef mixture and stir. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
    3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine paprika, italian seasoning, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon white pepper, and 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder. Add to the beef mixture, adding more beef broth or water if too thick. Remove the green chili peppers and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in cumin and salt. Simmer for 10 minute

    Additional details about Cin Chili can be found by clicking here.

    For other blog posts written by Foster Flint click here.

  • Gameday Rugs – It’s Like A Flag for Your Floor

    GameDay Rugs, a company founded earlier this year by Engineered Conversion Systems, delivers high-quality sports-licensed rugs and mats with college logos.  The company, a division of Engineered Conversion Systems (ECS), is experienced and successful in product development for the carpet and rug industry.  So their entry into the floor mat, rug, and door mat space is a logical extension of business that they know well.

    When I received the rug though, I just didn’t think the product would be a logical extension into the tailgating space.  Boy was I wrong.

    First Impression

    When I rolled out the Game Day Rug, I noticed the quality and liked the look.  The high-caliber construction delivers sharp colors, firm tufts and perfect logos.  Each of these features connects tightly to a solid plastic backing that keeps the rug from slip-sliding away at your tailgate or in your home.

    They shipped me this version to test at our tailgate.

    It looked to me, like a great doormat, but I didn’t hold out much hope for success at our tailgate and I felt a little bad about taking it to the tailgate.  The look is luxurious enough to be used indoors and is clearly durable enough to be placed outside; I just didn’t want to damage such an attractive product.

    Moreover, I thought “A rug at a tailgate?”

    However, when I placed the welcome mat down people noticed the rug.  They liked the rug.  They wanted to know where to get their own rug.  In general people like the addition and to me it symbolically served as a welcome mat to all the tailgaters that joined us that day.

    This product would be even more effective and noticeable in a parking lot environment as shown here.

    One of our visitors last weekend noted, “It’s Like a Flag for Your Floor”.

    With the official school logo and superior construction the team at Game Day Rugs has a great new way for avid tailgaters to display their school pride.

    Tailgating with a Rug?  Who knew.  It’s now a welcome addition to our tailgating paraphernalia.

    Game Day Rugs is offering free shipping on their products until October 31.  Take advantage of the promotion by clicking here or to find out more about the company and their array of additional products click here.

    To read more blogs written by Foster “Jim” Flint click here.