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Book Review: Pro Football Cookbook

Posted by Dave On November - 18 - 2013

Pro Football Cookbook CoverTailgating is all about friends, family, good music, good company and of course good food and drink. Most tailgaters break out the standard hot dogs and hamburgers because they are easy and have wide appeal. After all, who doesn’t eat hamburgers and hot dogs? If you are one of those tailgaters, not that there is anything wrong with burger and dogs, but if you are, you may need a little help to spice things up a bit.

Paul Swaney is the primary author of Stadium Journey and he has joined forces with chefs from around the country and have compiled 96 recipes – an appetizer, entree and cocktail, inspired by every NFL team and their respective home region.

Upon receiving a sample copy of the Pro Football Cookbook, I figured it would be filled with run of the mill recipes stolen off of the internet that are the stereotypical tailgating foods you would expect to see in the local parking lots. You’ve seen them before; Philly Cheese Steaks for the Philadelphia Eagles. Clam Chowder recipe for the New England Patriots. Even the cliche shrimp gumbo for the New Orleans Saints. But just like a good offensive coordinator in the NFL, the Pro Football Cookbook calls an audible every now and then and mixes it up for a surprise play that results in a touchdown.

(Disclaimer: We did receive a complimentary copy of the Pro Football Cookbook. The fact this sample copy was provided to us free of charge in no way influenced our opinion of the book nor did it impact our ability to review it fairly and objectively.)

As you might expect, some of the classic recipes reflecting the culture and tradition of a number of NFL franchises are included in this book. Classics like the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich (page 89) for the Kansas City Chiefs is a can’t miss. Paying homage to the Baltimore Ravens, the recipe for Maryland Crab Cakes can be found on page 21 because, if we learned anything from the movie Wedding Crashers, Crab Cakes and Football – That’s what Maryland does.

Garlic clovesIn addition to those recipes you would come to expect to represent a certain team or region of the country, to use a baseball term, you get thrown a curve ball every now and then. The entree recipe for Indianapolis is the Turducken Cordon Blue Burger. (page 77) You have to try the 49 Clove Garlic Chicken recipe (page 139) which not only pays homage to the San Francisco 49ers but pays respects to the Bay Area’s close proximity to Gilroy, Calif. which hosts the largest Garlic Festival.

I’ve only highlighted a few of the entrees but there are a total of 32 of those, 32 side dishes that accompany the entree and a cocktail that is either indigenous to the team’s region or uses a local ingredient that region is famous for. A classic example would be the Shiner Margarita (page 55) which uses Shiner Bock beer for the Dallas Cowboys drink recipe suggestion. Another would be Fried Pickles with Remoulade Sauce (page 107) for the side dish for the New Orleans Saints. (Fried Pickles are a New Orleans staple and no trip is complete without scarfing a dozen of these little babies.)

In all, food writers from 12 different states contributed to create this unique NFL themed cookbook. Other contributors to the cookbook include:

  • Baron Von Gottsacker, CEO and “Flavor Junkie” of Bent Spoon Gelato in Sheboygan, Wisconsin
  • Christopher Crump, Owner/Operator of Nomad Catering in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Joshua Guiher, Owner/Operator of the Frasier Street Deli in State College, Pennsylvania
  • John Dawson, Food Blogger for Patio Daddio BBQ in Boise, Idaho

Of course I was not able to cook and grill all 64 entrees and side dishes. I surely was not able to make and drink all 32 pro football inspired cocktails. But I know a good recipe when I see one and I will definitely be making some of these for the remainder of the football season and into the playoffs.

Dave Lamm with Pro Football Cookbook in front of stadiumFor tailgaters stuck in a rut, this cookbook would be great for some new recipe ideas to make everyone in the parking lot stand up and take notice. The Pro Football Cookbook is a fantastic road map for tailgaters to have a built-in menu to reference for a meal theme based on that weekend’s opponent. Your team is playing the Washington Redskins? Make Hogs Sandwiches, Roasted Redskin Potatoes with Mustard and a Red Gin Rickey (pages 160 – 163) to wash it all down. When it comes time for your Super Bowl party, find the section of the two different teams playing and make those recipes for your guests and people will think you are a world traveling genius.

After looking over all 96 entrees, sides and drink recipes included in the Pro Football Cookbook, we are going to give it the Tailgating Ideas “Tailgate Approved” stamp of approval. Some recipes may be better prepared at home on a griddle or in your oven but true tailgaters know that a few gadgets like the Sizzle-Q and the Tailgate HotBag can make all the difference.

Stadium Journey Pro Football Cookbook is available in hardcover from Amazon.com for $17.70 and would make a great gift for any tailgater this holiday season.

Ball Park Brand Burgers and Giveaway

Posted by Brandon On November - 13 - 2013

While we all love our weekends spent in the parking lot eating and drinking, the sad reality is that most of us have somewhere to be on Monday.  As we pine for the next opportunity to see our teams play we usually have the entire week to get through before we can load up the car again to tailgate.  Since my wife works at a job that requires her to work several evenings a week I’m usually on the hook for a few solo meals a week, in fact that was the situation I am facing tonight.   On occasion I will fire up the grill and cook a meal for one, but most of the time I fry up some eggs and leave it at that.  Well that can get old quick and sometimes you gotta come up with a different solution.31666_123177024370134_7227124_n (640x339)

I’ve been a fan of Ball Park hotdogs for years, and unbeknownst to me they also make a burger patty product.  In fact a few weeks ago I received an email asking if I would like give them a try, which I was more than willing to.  A few days later I had a few coupons in my mailbox.  Not long after that I was off to the store to grab a pack.

(Disclaimer: We did receive a sample of the Ball Park Burgers for free. The fact this sample was provided to us free of charge in no way influenced our opinion of the product nor did it impact our ability to test and review the product fairly and objectively.)
If you’re not familiar with the product already, they’ve been on the shelves for some time now, I’ll give a brief description of them.  They are precooked frozen beef patties that you simply have to reheat to eat.  What the manufacturer claims is that you get that grilled burger taste, without necessarily having to fire up the grill.   The test for these was pretty simple in my eyes, all I had to do was eat one to see if it tasted like a grilled burger.  I decided to do this by using the least grill like cooking method listed on the bag, which was the microwave.  Fast forward a couple minutes and I had a hot burger ready for taste testing.
425337_577100642311101_1684433877_n (480x230)
I have to say that I was surprised with the product, I actually liked it a lot.  In fact I would say that it was the best frozen burger product I have had.  Was it just like a fresh handmade burger off the grill?  No, but I honestly don’t believe that you can ever find something that is on par with that in the freezer section.  My wife actually had one after she got home from a late shift and she said it reminded her of a fast food burger.  I think she was right on with that statement.    Where a product like this would excel is the guy who is stuck at home on game day and wants something super quick to scarf during half time, between innings, or during intermission.  It would seem logical to mention that there are several flavors available.  I sampled the plain beef patty variety but, as you can see in the picture, beef and cheese and beef and onion are also available.
As part of our deal to review the product we received some extra coupons to giveaway to our readers.  Each coupon is good for any ONE Ball Park Item priced $9.99 or lower and doesn’t expire until the middle of 2014.  You have four ways to enter, and on 11/20/13 I’ll randomly draw one winner from each entry method so it’s possible you could win more than one coupon!  Details on entering are below:
  • Instagram: Head over to my personal Instagram page and look for the Ball Park Coupon photo.  To enter you must “like” and leave a comment on that photo.
  • Twitter:  I’m going to tweet a link to this contest on my personal twitter page, and in the tweet I’ll state that you can enter by replying.  To enter you have to reply to that specific tweet with a reply tweet including the hashtag “#bringonthebeef”
  • Facebook:  Head over to the Official Tailgating Ideas Facebook page and look for the post concerning this contest.  To enter you must leave a comment.
  • This Post:  The easiest way to enter is simply leave a comment on this post!

Multiple entries via the same method, e.g. leaving four comments on the Instagram or Facebook post, will not count.

Yeti Tundra 65

Posted by Dave On November - 7 - 2013

Yeti Tundra 65

Although it is November and the temperature outside is starting to dip colder and colder, you still need a good tailgating cooler no matter what season you choose to hit the parking lots. It was years ago (2009 to be exact) when we discovered Yeti Coolers from a series of online videos demonstrating their quality craftsmanship and durability. Despite having a strict policy of only endorsing products we have personally tested in a real tailgating environment, we shared the videos adding the caveat that we personally had not tested the product. We recently had the opportunity to test out a Yeti Cooler and not to give anything away too soon, we came away quite impressed.

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Kudu Cover

Posted by Dave On October - 30 - 2013

Kudu Cover Featured

When it comes to smuggling your booze inside the stadium, there are plenty of options out there. Back in August we did a post on the best ways to smuggle alcohol into a stadium or arena. But what about wanting to conceal your beverage while out in the open as to not call attention to yourself while enjoying an adult beverage? It is plain coincidence that exactly one year ago today that we featured these Can Covers that slip on over your beer can with the shell of a real soda can. Now a year later we discovered another type of beverage concealer called the Kudu Cover.

As you can see in the above video, the Kudu Cover is a cloth koozie that you slip over your standard 12 oz beverage can while out in public or any other place you do not want others questioning what you are drinking. Despite many tailgating parking lots having no issue with alcohol consumption on the premises, many, including a vast majority of college campuses, have problems with open containers. The Kudu Cover slips over a canned beverage and appears to look like one of those generic, non-brand specific Cola cans.

(Disclaimer: We did receive samples of the Kudu Covers for free. The fact these samples were provided to us free of charge in no way influenced our opinion of the product nor did it impact our ability to test and review the product fairly and objectively.)

The only comparison to a similar product we can make is with the Can Covers previously mentioned. Those can covers are made by modifying real aluminum cans from actual brand name sodas like Coca-Cola and Sprite. The Kudu Cover resembles a generic cola can and fits snugly over your “other” can. Because most people drink brand name sodas and therefore law enforcement may possibly raise an eyebrow at someone drinking a generic brand in a tailgating environment, you have been forewarned. A positive of the Kudu Cover compared to the aluminum can covers is the fact it fits tightly over the can and provides 100% coverage. The aluminum cans do have a small, open seam on the side where a small portion of the can underneath will still show. The Kudu Cover eliminates this by covering the can completely. There is a thin stitch seam on the Kudu Cover but we would suggest using your fingers or palm of your hand to cover it and position the opened portion of the top nearest the front label.

Two weeks ago we took the Kudu Covers to Dallas, Texas while taking in the Texas State Fair and also attending the Oklahoma vs. Texas Red River Rivalry game. (If you follow us on Twitter and Instagram you would have gotten a sneak peek at all the shenanigans going on out there including all the booze smuggling we did.) The Kudu Covers made the trip and were road tested, pardon the pun, on the streets leading up to the Texas State Fairgrounds. Upon being dropped off by the hotel shuttle, we slipped the Kudu Covers over our beers and proceeded to walk in public past numerous police officers on motorcycles and mounted on horses for about a quarter of a mile. No one was the wiser including the throngs of fans walking by us on their way to the game as well. We did notice two young gentlemen getting citations from Dallas’ finest for either an open container or a minor in possession. Either way, we did not linger to find out and thought they would have been better served had they had their beers covered. Now their decision is probably going to cost them upwards of $250.

Kudu Cover used as Hair Tie

Kudu Cover used as Hair Tie

And added feature we liked about the Kudu Cover is that it is so lightweight than once you are done with your drink, remove the cover and it fits into your pocket and you don’t even notice it is in there. My girlfriend was even able to use hers as a hair tie and pulled it up into a Ponytail and the Kudu Cover held it in place. She even mentioned the Kudu Cover when used as a hair tie “does not crease your hair” once it is removed. I am not sure what that means but she said the women out there would understand and would agree that is a desirable trait.

Although we only tested the Kudu Cover out in the open Dallas air for the duration it took us to walk a quarter-mile and to drink a full 12 oz. beer, we would deem the Kudu Cover “Tailgate Approved”. We did not receive any double takes or raised eyebrows nor did we get questioned by authorities. The key here is to have the confidence that what you are holding in your hand is actually a soda can and to behave accordingly. Confidence is everything and if you exude confidence, there is no reason to question your choice of beverage.

Although the Kudu Cover is sometimes called a can koozie, it really does not add any protection by keeping your can colder. The thin slip cover is not a very good insulator and should not be used to keep things cold. It is designed to cover your can and make it look like a non-alcoholic beverage.

Kudu Covers come in a variety of colors and designs including a double rainbow, camo and one that looks like a brown paper bag. For tailgating purposes we would recommend the generic Cola version to enhance the illusion you are not drinking a beer.

Kudu Covers are priced right now at $1.99 per cover and it appears that shipping is included. For under $2 you can have yourself a new can cover and compared to an open container citation ranging from $200 to $500 depending on your location, this is a no brainer decision.

To learn more or to purchase your own Kudu Cover, visit: www.kuducover.com.

WindBall

Posted by Dave On October - 24 - 2013

WindBall  Featured

Now that the leaves are starting to change and the weather can get somewhat inclement, the added wind gusts can play havoc on your beer pong game. The same folks that thought up MegaPongo have introduced the Windball, designed specifically for beer pong played outdoors.

The WindBall is a 40mm soft PVC ball that is nearly four times heavier than a standard ping-pong ball. The WindBall also features little to no bounce that translates into less chasing after bouncing balls from errant and missed shots.

Keep in mind, the WindBall is not designed for all types of beer pong games. Because the ball is nearly four times heavier than a regular ping pong ball, you should not use the WindBall on a flat regulation beer pong table. Because the WindBall is so much heavier compared to a regular ping pong ball, if used on a standard beer pong table it would wipe out the cups. The WindBall should only be used in conjunction with beer pong games where the cups are recessed like with MegaPongo, Point Pong and Pong Islands.

If you play beer pong while tailgating and are tired of the wind ruining your game, you would be a prime candidate to try out the WindBall. The Windball costs $12 for a 6-pack. Since Windballs are made by the same folks who make MegaPongo, they are sold as an add-on to the MegaPongo game set.

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About Me

TailgatingIdeas.com is a tailgating blog dedicated to bringing you the latest and most intriguing tailgating ideas out there. Whether it is the latest tailgating gear reviews, a great new recipe or a funny list to make you smile, our goal is to inform and entertain the avid and the casual tailgater alike.

Started in August 2007 by tailgating enthusiast Dave Lamm, TailgatingIdeas.com has evolved into an advocate for tailgaters rights and is not afraid to touch on controversial issues confronting those who frequent the tailgating parking lots.

To learn more about TailgatingIdeas.com and our team of writers, reviewers, cartoonists and contributors, please visit the About Us page.