On September - 7 - 2013Comments Off
Despite the NFL tailgaters in the group salivating at the thought of tailgating this week “for real”, college football tailgaters have been feasting on two weekends of tailgating already. In honor of that we offer you the stunning visuals of Michelle McLaughlin sporting a very collegiate look. Football is back and let the hardcore tailgating begin. Follow us on Instagram and be ready for some fun photos from the upcoming Monday Night Football game when the San Diego Chargers host the Houston Texans. Links follow the eye candy.
• Feel free to follow Tailgating Ideas on Twitter
• While we’re being all social media, join us on our Tailgating Ideas Facebook Fan Page too
• Today Show reveals 8 fun and useful tailgating gadgets
• Tailgating Food Safety Q & A Keeping food safe before, during, and after the game
• New ECU Tailgating Security Measures Deemed Successful
• Glorious, gluttonous tailgating tour
• The 6 Best Tailgating Beers
• UCF football fans offer tailgating tips
• Tailgating Checklist: General Essentials for Every Tailgate
• The Essentials for NFL tailgating
• Tips on Getting Your Car or Truck Tailgate-Ready
• Minnesota >students take over
• Florida Gators fans get creative to milk the most out of tailgating
• Browns tailgating Q&A: City of Cleveland answers questions for fans on costs, trash, restrooms
• Best Colleges for Tailgating
• PSU Tailgating Hours Extended
• Tailgating 101, and then some
• New tailgating rules for IU greeks
• For tailgaters, game is optional but grilling is not
• Get your tailgating in gear
• Organize Your Next Tailgate Party with
• Tailgating Tips on a Budget
• Cleveland Browns tailgating guide: 10 essential pre-game party tips
• Tailgating do’s and don’ts
• High School Tailgating!
• Top 5 tailgating tips: A game plan for a fool-proof party
On September - 6 - 2013Comments Off
Ever since joining Instagram last month, it never ceases to amaze us how many users post up and share their tailgating photos via social media. From time to time we will browse all the photos that Instagram has to offer and aggregate the photos we think are the best of the best and share them here in a photo gallery. So here’s to our inaugural Instagram tailgating Round-up for this week.
Shameless self-promotion: Follow @TailgatingIdeas on Instagram.
On September - 6 - 2013Comments Off
While out tailgating, you have to have chairs. A comfortable place to sit is one of those tailgating “must haves”. There are a lot of folding chairs out there on the market and honestly unless the chair offers up some serious bells and whistles, we normally pass on doing product reviews on those types of products. Honestly what can you say about a regular old folding chair? Saying “Hey, it unfolds and you can sit in it” really isn’t going to bring readers back to your tailgating blog.
The folks at Sport-Brella contacted us and told us about their newest recliner chair that has a footrest, an adjustable sunshade umbrella and a pocket right in the armrest to store cold beverages, we were mildly interested in reviewing the product. The clincher was the mention of the bottle opener and we were sold on doing this product review and just had to see how this tailgating chair was different. After receiving the sample chair and testing it out thoroughly we thought this chair deserves a video demonstration because it did have all the bells and whistles you tailgaters are looking for.
(Disclaimer: We did receive a sample Sport-Brella Reclining Chair 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 watched our video, you can see all the features of the chair and how they work in concert with each other. Obviously the attached bottle opener was a nice touch but the fact that the umbrella could be adjusted to any position means you will never be shading your eyes or scrambling for the sunscreen on those mid-day tailgates. Also, the “chamber” as I have nicknamed it, is pretty awesome in that you can load it up with three to four canned beverages and ice and never have to leave your chair for a cold one. And with a chair like this, you will definitely have to call dibs on it if you do get up to make a run on the buffet table.
The Sport-Brella Recliner Chair comes in two different colors, blue and orange. If you like the foot rest, leave it on and it folds up nicely when you have the chair stored in the bag. If you want to remove the foot rest, it comes off quite easily and can be stored inside the bag sleeve when not in use. The umbrella pole adjusts to either side of the chair back depending on which side the sun may be on. Although the official weight capacity of the Sport-Brella Recliner Chair is 250 pounds, you saw in the video that it supported my weight. As a former offensive lineman in college and being 6’5″ tall, you can imagine that I am a tad over the 250 threshold and the chair held me just fine. But I guess for legal purposes they have to say the weight capacity of the product.
Here are all the specs you need to know:
- 3-position recliner with easy adjusting hinges
- 3-way swiveling umbrella
- Built-in insulated pocket holds up to 4 drinks
- Cup holder and storage pockets with bottle opener
- Metallic undercoating for UPF 50+ sun protection
- Umbrella folds down on chair for storage as a single unit
- Eye protective safety tips on umbrella points
- Umbrella attaches to either side with quick-release clips
- Ultra-strong, lightweight steel construction
- 250 lb maximum
After thoroughly testing the Sport-Brella Recliner Chair we are going to have to stamp it “Tailgate Approved”. Even if it had one or two features like the umbrella or the foot rest it would be definitely able to hold its own at a tailgate party. Add in the beverage pocket and the bottle opener and the reclining feature and this is one chair that will be seeing a lot more time at our personal tailgates.
The Sport-Brella Recliner Chair is priced at $59.99 and is available online for purchase. For more information or to buy a Sport-Brella Recliner Chair for yourself or to give as a gift, visit: sport-brella.com.
On September - 3 - 2013Comments Off
Undoubtedly all of us have heard at one point or another, don’t use a fork to flip your meat. It’s easily one of, if not, the most prevalent grilling tips out there. Heck I even wrote about it 3 years ago, and our friends at Johnsonville made a music video out of the concept. But recently I’ve been thinking about this more and more. I use an instant read thermometer to make sure I get my food not only to a safe temp, but to try and also avoid overcooking. As you’re probably aware this involves sticking a probe into the meat. Naturally, I try to limit the amount of times I do this, but it does raise an interesting dilemma. How bad is it to pierce your meat products?
I think it’s safe to reason that it really depends on the sort of meat your cooking. Let’s assume we’re speaking about a true cut of meat like a steak, chicken breast, or something else just cut from a muscle. I can’t recall I’ve ever seen a geyser of liquid come pouring out of something like that from a simple prick. However when I think of sausage I do know that once the integrity of the casing is broken the juices will run pretty consistently. I’m no scientist, nor did I stay at a Holiday Inn Express recently, but I would be willing to bet that the combination of the ground meat, seasonings, and casing all contribute to this problem.
To test that hypothesis I decided to try some brats 4 different ways. For 2 of them I would grill them only using tongs for one, and a fork for the other. The other 3 would be trialed in a “hot tub” of sorts, which is basically a poaching liquid. For the ones going into the liquid I would cook 1 before hand, using tongs, then submerge it in the bath for 10 minutes and the last one I would cook the brat in the liquid and then finish it off on the grill.
The guinea pig for this test was a pack of Johnsonville Beer n’ Bratwurst that I had in the freezer. These were most likely purchased at the beginning of May so they haven’t been in the freezer too long. Will using a previously frozen product affect the results of the test? Maybe. I just know that they’ve all been subjected to the same conditions and since this is somewhat of an abusive study I didn’t want to use a brand new pack.
The “hot tub” recipe I’m using is one I got from the Johnsonville site. It is pretty simple being nothing more than a mixture of beer, onion, and butter. They call for pregrilling the brats, but as noted above we’re doing them 2 ways. Since my grill of choice for this experiment will be my go to tailgating grill, the Weber Q100, I am going to downsize the size of this so that I have some room to spare for grilling.
Since it would be tedious, and somewhat lenghthy, to post the the all data from the test within the confines of this post I’ve decided to post that information here in a PDF file. My summary of the testing follows in the next paragraphs.
As you might have guessed “Brat 2″, that was turned with the fork lost the most weight, and was in my opinion the worst of the bunch. It should be noted that I made every effort to keep the use of the fork to a minimum while still using it as the only tool, but due to the loss of control and precision that you might find with tongs, this was a tall task.
The shocking result for me in the test was how much liquid “Brat 1″, which was grilled with tongs, lost during cooking. Based on my own observation it seems that even the slightest sticking to the grates, or over squeeze with the tongs, was enough to make small tears in the casing. It was still better than “Brat 2″ though. Based on this small sample size there was little difference between Brat 1 and 2 in tasting, both benefited from a thorough browning and developed much of their flavor from that.
The “hot tub” brats easily retained more weight throughout their cooking. Brat 3, grilled then placed in the tub, was the standout winner among all the entries. It had a similar flavor from a good browning on the grill, and the increased moisture really made for a pleasant experience. Brat 4, tub then grill, was my predicted winner before the test, but I failed to give it a good browning on the grill due to time constraints.
Even though only preparing one sample with each cooking method is going to make for a less than perfect experiment, I do think that it was valid enough to make these quick points:
- The test still confirmed that you will lose more juice if you stab your brats during cooking. Plus the rapid release of grease and fat could lead to more flare ups. Not to mention that the fork just felt plain clumsy when using it for that task. Stick to tongs.
- Since you should cook brats to at least 160 F you have to make sure you go slow. It should take between 15-20 minutes according to the Johnsonville instructions. I think if you go too fast you’ll end up with a charred mess that is under-cooked. If time is an issue go with a precooked product.
- The “hot tub” proved to be a beneficial tool. I can see it being especially handy when you have a longer tailgate planned and you may want to eat several times without cooking multiple times. It kept the sausage hot and moist, and the onions that have been simmering in beer are amazing as a condiment.
The final point I’d like to make is that all of the Brats were still delicious, even if some were better than others. Start with a good quality product and you will have to be pretty negligent to end up with a bad result.