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Instagram Tailgating Round-up #1

Posted by Dave 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.

Sport-Brella Recliner Chair

Posted by Dave On September - 6 - 2013Comments Off

Sport-Brella Pair

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.

Sport-Brella OrangeThe 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.

Sport-Brella Blue

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.

Brat Testing

Posted by Brandon 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?

IMG_20130903_200824 (197x320)

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.

Premio Sausage Review

Posted by Dave On August - 28 - 2013Comments Off

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.

Jerry King Tailgating Cartoon #173

Posted by Jerry On August - 27 - 2013Comments Off

Keg head tailgater

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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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