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Tailgating with Johnsonville

Posted by Dave On October - 22 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Johnsonville Logo Small
If you have been reading this tailgating blog for any length of time, you know that we we here at Tailgating Ideas love Johnsonville Sausages. Bonus points to you as a reader if you recognize that Brandon is usually the one to blog about Johnsonville and tailgating. We thought we would mix it up a bit and I would pinch hit for Brandon and do a review of tailgating with Johnsonville.

The beauty of the three meal tailgate, you know, breakfast, lunch and dinner all in the parking lot, is rare and magical. Much like a beautiful unicorn gently drinking from a meadow stream, the three meal tailgate is one to behold and cherish but is also elusive. With that in mind, Johnsonville has you covered no matter if you tailgate for just a few hours or all day.

Johnsonville Fully Cooked Breakfast SausageStarting off with the most important meal of the day, we brought two kinds of breakfast sausage from Johnsonville to the parking lot. We picked up some Johnsonville Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausages and the Johnsonville Original Breakfast Sausages. The Johnsonville Fully Cooked Sausages are just that, fully cooked. You could eat them right out of the package if you wanted to. We chose to warm them up on the grill a little bit before serving.

The directions on the package indicate that you can warm them up in the microwave, four at a time for about 30 seconds, and they will be perfectly warmed up and taste just like you took them out of the pan or off the grill. We couldn’t help ourselves and tried a few Johnsonville Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausages at home in the microwave before taking them out to the parking lot. Warming them in the microwave was super convenient and they tasted fantastic. For those tailgaters that have an RV, I would highly suggest grabbing a few packages of the fully cooked versions for your next tailgate that includes a morning meal.

Johnsonville Original Breakfast Sausage

We then moved onto the Johnsonville Original Breakfast Sausages. These we placed directly on the grill and cooked them as if they were smaller and thinner hot dogs. Most people like to fry breakfast sausages in a pan, but when out tailgating, your grill will suffice just fine. Just make sure to grill the sausages lengthwise going across the grill grates and you won’t lose any to a firey death below the grill grates.

These sausages once grilled to perfection were also excellent. Tasted just like the sausages you remember from growing up and the flavor was outstanding. Comfort food at its finest right there in a parking lot. We coupled our breakfast sausages with some scrambled eggs prepared on the Sizzle-Q right on the grill and we were having breakfast while tailgating before we even set up the TV to catch the early NFL games.

Unfortunately, the game we attended was an afternoon kick off so we didn’t get to have a three meal tailgate. A two meal tailgate will have to do as a suitable replacement. The lunch menu was more Johnsonville. This time it was the Johnsonville Bacon and Cheddar Grillers.

JOHNSONVILLE SAUSAGE, LLC CHEDDAR CHEESE AND BACON

If you are unfamiliar with Johnsonville Grillers, I would highly encourage you to read Brandon’s review of the Bacon and Cheddar Grillers and the Mushroom and Swiss Grillers. If you skip those previous reviews, basically Johnsonville Grillers are Johnsonville’s famous brats recipe in the shape of a burger. And with the Grillers, they not only fit nicely on a hamburger bun, but they include additional flavors that would normally be considered a topping.

We went with the bacon and cheddar grillers because, come on, how can you go wrong with either bacon or cheddar? Combine the two into that famous Johnsonville taste, and you have a tailgating goldmine.

The Grillers were, as you might expect, excellent in all ways. Blame it on my German heritage and upbringing, but whenever I have a brat, it needs to be accompanied by either some brown mustard and/or sauerkraut. Or both. At this past tailgate, I went with both.

Sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard can sometimes overpower the flavor of the meat so you need to understand the right portion in order to not let one flavor dominate all the others. We built the perfect Griller and with the very first bite, we could taste the cheddar and bacon coming through. Although coming up with bacon and cheddar to infuse into a burger patty filled with bratwurst borders on genius, we are thankful that someone at Johnsonville came up with it.

All in all, the Johnsonville tailgate was a huge success. The only detractor was that we didn’t have enough time before kick off to enjoy the Johnsonvilles all day and for three meals. After tailgating all day with this grub, we are going to declare the Johnsonville Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausages, the Johnsonville Original Breakfast Sausages and the Johnsonville Bacon and Cheddar Grillers, all “Tailgate Approved”.

To learn more about Johnsonville products, you can visit their website at www.johnsonville.com.  They also have a pretty active social media presence on Twitter @JvilleGrilling and on Facebook.

LSU kids playing beer pong

Posted by Dave On October - 21 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

LSU kids playing a game of "beer pong" while tailgating

Little LSU fans playing what appears to be a game of beer pong while tailgating in Baton Rouge. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Crisp Twitter @elizabethcrisp


We know that in the SEC, or all over the college football landscape, indoctrinating the next generation into the traditions and the culture of your favorite college football team is the main reason for having kids. So why would it be any surprise that this group of young tailgaters appear to be playing a game of beer pong at an LSU tailgate? Maybe because the oldest one in the photo looks to be about 11 years old.

After a closer look, it appears that the two bottles of water and the Sprite are the ones being used for the refills. But at first glance, it looks to be a bit jarring. But that’s how they do it down in Baton Rouge.

Video: Thom Shepherd – Beer Pong Anthem

Posted by Dave On October - 21 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Knob Creek Whiskey Recipes/Review

Posted by Brandon On October - 18 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Bourbon. For fans of this particular spirit just seeing the word probably already has you thinking about that aroma. It’s my favorite distilled product because whatever it ends up in just seems better. Pecan pie is good on its own. Throw some bourbon into it and it gets even better. Grilled lemonade is pretty great all by itself. Throw some bourbon in and it becomes your new favorite cocktail. Pretty awesome stuff. Bourbon. For fans of this particular spirit just seeing the word probably already has you thinking about that aroma. It’s my favorite distilled product because whatever it ends up in just seems better. Pecan pie is good on its own. Throw some bourbon into it and it gets even better. Grilled lemonade is pretty great all by itself. Throw some bourbon in and it becomes your new favorite cocktail. Pretty awesome stuff.

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(Disclaimer: We did receive sample bottles of Knob Creek Bourbon and Rye Whiskey. 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.)symonburger

Recently I was contacted about Knob Creek whiskey and some recipes they had developed in conjunction with Chef Michael Symon. They offered up some samples to test a few out and I was happy to give them a whirl. All of the recipes seemed quite appealing, what else would you expect from a big name chef, so I decided to make life a little easier on myself and try just two to start with.  I felt like they, and the whiskey, would give me enough info that I could make a call on all of them. First I tried the Burger With Knob Creek® Caramelized Onions, Gruyere & Horseradish. The video they made for this recipe is here; I really had doubts that the onions would pick up any of that bourbon flavor but much like the things I mentioned above, they only got better. They were super simple to make and would be easy to incorporate into a tailgate party. If burgers frequently find their way onto your menus give these a chance.

I also took the opportunity to try the Bratwurst & Kielbasa in a Knob Creek Rye Jalapeño Beer Broth recipe. Rye whiskey is a spicier so it is really at home with strong flavors like jalapeno and red onion. You would not believe the smell that this recipe puts out. The brats that came out of it were super juicy, a great reason to use a bath/broth, and picked up a little of that flavor. The only thing I thought could be better on the recipe was the measurements, they don’t match what Chef Symon does in the video(he used a whole bottle of beer), and even more specifically the addition of the water to bring the total volume of the liquid up.  For what it’s worth, and I’m going rogue on this one, if you try this recipe I think grilling the sausage before hand might give you a little nicer end product.   It’s a technique that I’ve learned from my work with Johnsonville recipes.  I don’t have real scientific evidence to back it up, but I theorize that the sausage develops very small cracks in the casing when cooking and those cracks would allow some of that super tasty broth liquid inside the sausage while it soaks.

symonbratsDue to time and stomach, I was just plain stuffed, constraints I did not try the other recipes sent to me, but they sound just as good or better and every bit as applicable in the parking lot. They were the Grilled Knob Creek® Rye Whiskey Pork Meatballs on Skewers, Grilled Ribeye with Knob Creek® Bourbon BBQ Sauce, and the Grilled Korean and Knob Creek® Rye Whiskey BBQ-­‐Style Wings.   For space constraints I’ve decided not to pack all the recipes in long form onto this post.  You can get all the info from the end of the videos and many of the recipes, along with a lot more, are also listed on Knob Creek’s site.

Of course it wouldn’t be much of a review without tasting the whiskey by itself, neat. Now I’m really not the sort of guy who can sit there and tell you that there are notes of this and hints of that. What I can tell you is what I like, and I liked these whiskeys. They were exactly what I expected, and in a lot of ways that’s a very solid compliment. If I were to drop money on a bottle labeled bourbon or rye, and it tasted like something else I wouldn’t be too happy.

Normally a review would end here with my assessment on if a particular product has a place at your next tailgate. I’m deeming Knob Creek Bourbon and Rye Whiskeys “Tailgate Approved.”  Luckily I do have one last surprise for you all. Along with the review opportunity I was also able to bounce some questions of Chef Michael Symon himself. Yes that same Michael Symon you’ve seen on “The Chew”, “Iron Chef America”, and all over the airwaves.  However the interview pushed the length of the post way over what we like to do so it will be released soon in a separate post.  I think Chef Symon gave us a few nice little tidbits that you can probably apply to your next tailgate. Stay tuned for that.  Update 10/24/14: The interview with Chef Symon can be found here.

For more information and to see other recipes you can visit Knob Creek directly at www.knobcreek.com.

Tailgating: Old Tech vs New Tech

Posted by Dave On October - 17 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

College Football Tailgating

In looking at the calendar, we just realized that college football season is half way over. Half way!

Now before you start crying and getting the blues knowing that your opportunities to tailgate are slowly dwindling away, fear not. We have a solution that allows you to squeeze out more fun for the last remaining tailgates of the college football season. We recently teamed up with AT&T and will be publishing a three part series regarding #techgating.

What is #techgating? In a nut shell, #techgating is utilizing technology, whether it be on your smart phone, mobile apps, social media or even the newest tech hardware, to enhance your tailgating experience. Whether it is using tech to allow your friends to find your tailgating spot easier or to show the early college football games on your tablet or smart phone, using technology while tailgating has never been easier.

AT&T Techgating LogoIn Part One of our #techgating series, (Part Two will be a virtual tour of the AT&T Fan Zone truck and Part Three will include a big giveaway of a rather large gift card) we would like to show you how “new tech” can easily replace your “old tech”.

Most everyone today has a smart phone in their pocket. Many of you have a smart phone and a tablet. We all take our smart phones tailgating so we can stay in touch with others, take photos, keep up to date on our social media and even track scores of rival schools’ games underway while we are tailgating. An old way of keeping up with the early games was to drag out a portable electric source, more than likely a generator, hooking up cords to a satellite dish, locking in the satellite signal and then transmitting it to your TV you took off the wall of your living room. A few years ago, that was the way to go and you were on the cutting edge. Not anymore with the way technology has advanced.

Nowadays, you can up your game by utilizing something you already have in your pocket; your smart phone. Simply get an HDMI cable that on one end connects to your smart phone and the other end connects to your TV. Many college football games can be streamed onto your phone and with the HDMI cable or even Bluetooth, you can project the game from your phone to your TV screen for everyone at your tailgate to enjoy.

Tailgating SelfieIf bandwidth in order to stream the game is an issue, ask a friend to enable their smart phone to be a mobile hot spot. With AT&T’s Network, you can use the combined strength of the mobile hot spot, never miss a play of the early games while you grill up your tailgating grub for all of your adoring fans.

Taking another page from the #techgating playbook, you can pick up a mini HDMI projector that hooks up to your phone and can project the game onto a vertical flat surface. Grab a white, dry erase board, zip tie it to the frame of your pop-up tent, and you now have a big screen showing the game at your tailgate. That will sure be a crowd pleaser, especially when you can show your rival fumbling away the ball in their own end zone in the fourth quarter.

Lastly, a great way use new tech to enhance your tailgating experience, subscribing to a television service that can be picked up via your mobile device, like AT&T U-Verse, will bring your home TV to the parking lot. This way you can control what is viewed while tailgating right from your parking spot just as if you were on your couch at home. And we’re willing to bet and smell of brats on the grill beats the smell of your roommate’s ramen noodles boiling on the stove any day.

If you have other tailgating ideas on how to replace old tech with new tech while tailgating, leave them in the comments below. If it is a really awesome idea, we would encourage you to leave that suggestion on AT&T’s #techgating website, techgating.att.com. Once you visit there, you can tweet a picture, video or tip and make sure to include the hashtag #techgating for a chance to win a trip to the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship. Someone has to win. Why not you?

Stay tuned for more #techgating tips and our Part Two in this three part series next week. We visited the AT&T Fan Zone truck at the State Fair of Texas in Dallas prior to the Oklahoma/Texas Red River Showdown and got a private tour. We will post up the video and let you know what we found out.

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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.

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