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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.

Bojangles’ Tailgate Everything

Posted by Brandon On October - 15 - 2013

As a longtime advocate for simple tailgates, it should come as no surprise that I don’t think cooking on site is essential for a good time. In fact I’ve had great times when we had pizza or sub sandwiches. Fried chicken is another great grab and go type food, and if you’re in the Southeast you’ve probably even seen the bright yellow box of Bojangles’ chicken in the parking lot at some point. If you have it’s probably because Bojangles’ has one of the most noticeable tailgating-centric marketing plans that I’ve seen thus far.

Probably the best thing about Bojangles’ offerings is that they have large order pricing listed for just about all of their menu items. While we’ve all seen the “Family Size” or other large order type of listing, Bojangles’ is the only one that I know of that labels these options with the word “Tailgate.” Even though you might think of your tailgating group as family, if you’re out with the bros you might find it more comfortable to order your grub by using slightly less affectionate terminology.

tailgateeverything

Recently I received an email telling me that they upped their tailgate love by introducing the “Tailgate Everything” promotion. Among the things included on their site are some tailgating themed tips for managing your life, items for purchase, and some interesting recipes where you can turn their regular menu items into something different at your party. The section on tips for improving your tailgate really spoke to me, although I think given the current situation in Washington we might have a tough time booking the Blue Angels for a flyover, but fingers crossed nonetheless.skewersbiscuit

They were also kind enough to pass along some vouchers for samples so I decided to give a couple of these recipes, the Grilled Cheddar Bo Biscuits and the Roasted Chicken Bite Skewers a whirl. Both of which I’m pleased to say were easy to make, and quite tasty.

From Bojangles’/TailgateEverything.com
Grilled Cheddar Bo Biscuits
Ingredients

  • 1 Bojangles’ Biscuit
  • 2 slices of your favorite cheese, cheddar or smoked Gouda
  • liquid margarine
  • foil wrap

Directions

  1. Cut the Bojangles’ Biscuits in half
  2. Place the bottom half of the biscuit on a double layer of foil wrap 
  3. Place 2 slices of your favorite cheese on the bottom half of the biscuit
  4. Cover with the top of the biscuit and spray with liquid margarine
  5. Wrap in foil
  6. Place on a medium hot grill, cook 3 minutes on each side until cheese has melted
  7. Serve with grilled vegetables of your choice or grilled watermelon

From Bojangles’/TailgateEverything.com
Roasted Chicken Bite Skewers
Ingredients

  • 2 orders Bojangles’ Roasted Chicken Bites (freshly purchased)
  • 1 sweet red bell pepper
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 oz Italian salad dressing
  • 4 wooden skewers

Directions

  1. Soak wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes prior to using
  2. Cut peppers and onion into 8 pieces each
  3. String skewers alternating the already cooked chicken bites and fresh vegetables
  4. Place on medium grill and brush with Italian salad dressing, turn and continue to brush until the vegetables are cooked (to speed up the grilling process, wilt the vegetables in the microwave before assembling the skewers)

Even though we typically reserve the “Tailgate Approved” designation for product reviews, I think Bojangles’ is deserving of it here. They are making it easy for the fan on the run to swing by and grab some eats to enjoy before the game, and they’re even having some fun with it outside of the parking lot. You can see more  and enter to win some prizes at tailgateeverything.com and they’re on Twitter @Bojangles1977.

Recipe: Stubb’s Cowboy Burger

Posted by Dave On October - 3 - 2013

We were recently sent samples of Stubb’s marinades, sauces and rubs. We have been trying the different recipes that we think would be great for tailgating and will be sharing them here along with photos of how they turned out when we cooked them. First up is a great American tailgating tradition: Hamburgers. This one has a smokey and spicy kick to it.

Stubb's Cowboy Burger

Ingredients

  • 2.5 lbs ground beef
  • 1/4 cup Stubb’s Smokey Mesquite Bar-B-Q Sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. Stubb’s Beef Marinade
  • 1/4 tsp. Stubb’s Mesquite Liquid Smoke (optional)
  • 1 tsp Stubb’s Beef Rub
  • 1 large yellow onion, cut into slices
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Bacon slices, cooked crisp
  • Onion Rolls or Hamburger Buns
  • Toppings of your choice

Cooking Instructions

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, Bar-B-Q sauce, Stubb’s Beef Marinade, liquid smoke (optional) and Stubb’s Beef Spice Rub. Use your hands to mix well. Once combined, separate the mixture to make six patties. Make a slight indent with your thumb in middle of each patty to keep it from swelling while on the grill.

Prepare your grill for direct medium-heat cooking. Lightly oil the grates and place your burger on the grill, indent side up. Cook burgers for 12-14 minutes or until preferred doneness (160°F) turning once during cooking. While burgers are cooking, add the onion slices to the grill and cook until lightly charred and soft, turning once. Also toast the buns.

To serve, top burgers with Bar-B-Q sauce, bacon, grilled onion and shredded cheese. Add additional toppings to your liking.

PARKING LOT TIP: To cook the bacon for this burger, we would suggest frying the bacon slices on a Sizzle-Q.

Premio Sausage Review

Posted by Dave On August - 28 - 2013

Premio Foods LogoSausages and brats are a staple at any tailgate party. Inferior and poor tasting sausages at a tailgate is a major tailgating faux pas. That’s why you should strive to not just bring the run of the mill meats to your next tailgate but to seek out the kind that will have your tailgate party guests hovering around the grill waiting for the next batch to come off.

The folks at Premio Foods contacted us and asked if we had ever had their sausage. Sadly, we had to answer no. They offered to send us some samples to test out and give some honest feedback on what we thought. Who are we to turn down an offer of some free meat in the interest of helping tailgaters make an educated choice as what to serve while tailgating?

(Disclaimer: We did receive samples of Premio sausage 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.)

We were sent samples of the Premio Sweet/Mild Italian Sausage and the Premio Hot Italian Sausage. Both came in a package with five sausages in each. We grilled both kinds for dinner and placed them in rolls with some marinara sauce on the sweet/mild sausages and just some shredded cheese on the hot sausages.

The sweet/mild Italian sausages had very good flavor and were complimented well by the marinara sauce. The hot Italian sausage was very good as well. The spiciness of the sausage wasn’t overwhelming and you could tell the Premio folks weren’t trying to use shock and awe to try and cover up the flavor with a bunch of spices. Sometimes sausages that are over the top spicy do so because they are trying to mask the flavor and we all know spices are much cheaper than using quality cuts of meat.

Premio is a family owned, Italian sausage manufacturer, based in northern New Jersey. Premio sausage, both pork and chicken, is available throughout the USA in grocery stores and other locations, such as Wal-Mart and Costco.

In addition to the two flavors of sausage we tried, they have all kinds of sausage including bratwurst, kielbassa, chorizo and breakfast sausages. As mentioned before, they even have chicken sausage for those that do not eat pork or are a little more health conscience.

We tried the Premio sausages on the grill because many of you while tailgating would probably prepare them on a grill while out tailgating. In learning more about Premio’s sausages, a few recipes jumped out that looked really good. I will share two with you here but if you are looking for more, check out the Premio recipe section for more ideas.

Bacon Wrapped Sausage
Bacon Wrapped Sausage Coins with Pineapple Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

• 1/2 cup pineapple preserves
• 1 Tablespoon water
• 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
• 2 teaspoons soy sauce
• 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste (optional)
• 1 package of Premio Sausage, any variety, cut into 1/3-inch rounds
• 1 1/2 pounds bacon, each slice cut in half

How to make Bacon Wrapped Sausage Coins with Pineapple Dipping Sauce:

Combine the preserves, the water, the lime juice, the soy sauce, the mustard and the pepper flakes in a blender or food processor. Puree until all the ingredients are blended and the mixture is smooth. Pour sauce into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until needed. (Sauce can be made 5 days in advance).

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a large baking sheet, with sides, with parchment paper or a baking mat.

Wrap each sausage round with a slice of bacon, secure with a wooden pick, and set on prepared baking sheet. Bake until bacon is brown and crisp, about 20 – 25 minutes per side. Remove baking sheet from oven, transfer bacon wrapped sausage coins to a paper towel lined plate to drain excess fat.

Spoon sauce into a small bowl and set in the center of a large serving platter. Arrange bacon wrapped sausage coins around sauce bowl.

Serve immediately.

Serves 8 – 10 for appetizers

Italian Sausage Sub SandwichItalian Sausage Subs

Ingredients:

• 1 pkg Premio mild Italian sausage
• 1 16 oz can spaghetti sauce
• 1 8 oz can of Italian style diced tomatoes
• 1 small bell pepper sliced
• 1 small can sliced mushrooms optional
• 6 rolls

How to make Italian Sausage Subs:

Cook Premio Sweet/Mild Italian Sausage on stove medium heat until no longer pink in middle. Then add sauce, tomatoes, bell pepper, and mushrooms. Simmer for 30 min or longer. Season to taste. Serve on roll with Mozzarella cheese melted on the sausage. Serves 6.

Johnsonville Brat Poppers and Music Video Contest

Posted by Brandon On July - 29 - 2013

If you’ve been watching Johnsonville’s social media pages and/or their Big Taste Grill blog, which is written by the team traveling with the grill, you have probably seen their take on a jalapeno popper. Since they hooked me up with some of their smoked brats to play around with I decided to give this recipe a go.

threeOhSeven

What makes these different from other poppers I’ve tried is that instead of a creamy cheesy filling they have diced up smoked brats in them. What you end up with is a really meaty popper that could almost serve as a meal in itself. Katie, my official taste tester/wife, had some and seemed to like them pretty well so I think I can safely recommend them to you all.

Brat Poppers
(Taken from Johnsonville.com)

What you need

  • 18 Jalapeno peppers
  • 1 package (14 ounces) JOHNSONVILLE® Smoked Brats
  • 1 package (16 ounces) bacon, cut into thirds
  1. Using a sharp knife, slice 1/4 inch off the stem end of the peppers, discard the stem.
  2. Using a small knife or vegetable peeler, remove seeds and spines of the peppers, discard.
  3. Dice the sausages into small pieces and stuff the peppers with the sausage.
  4. Cover the sausage with a 1/3 strip of bacon and secure with a toothpick.
  5. Grill the brat bullets over medium heat until evenly roasted and the bacon is crisp.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to let you all know about a contest that Johnsonville is running. They’re calling on all grillmasters to produce their version of a music video entitled “Don’t Pierce the Brat.” I’ve embedded their version below so you can hear the song. The winner will get $5,000 and a year supply of Johnsonville Brats. For more info you can go here to get the tools you’ll need and to see the official rules.  Looks like the deadline for submission is August, 30.  We would love to see your videos if you do make one.

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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.