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Johnsonville – Make the Best of the Wurst Tailgate

Posted by Brandon On January - 31 - 2014

As much as we love them, sports tend to come with their frustrations.  Being a fan of some franchises that haven’t  seen championship glory in a few years, if at all, this is nothing new for me. However I can say with some amount of pride, that my Buffalo Bills did not finish dead last this year.  That unenviable distinction went to the Houston Texans.

Even though their team fell short of expectations, Texans fans were still rewarded for their loyalty when Johnsonville’s Big Taste Grill showed up at a local shopping mall for one last tailgate party.   If there was ever a silver lining to be had from such a miserable season, the arrival of a tractor trailer size grill loaded with premier sausage would definitely be it.  If that wasn’t enough donations were accepted for a local charity that specializes in helping people who have fallen on hard times.

Below you can see a couple of pictures from the event, and you can click here and here for some videos that the local news station produced.   After those be sure to check out a super easy recipe that I found on Johnsonville‘s page for a sandwich that should be right at home for whatever festivities you may be planning for this weekend’s big game.

 

Reuben Brat Hoagie

(Originally found at http://www.johnsonville.com/recipe/reuben-brat-hoagie.html)

What you need

  • 1 package (19 ounces) JOHNSONVILLE® Original Bratwurst
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1/3 cup Thousand Island salad dressing
  • 1/3 cup coarse ground mustard
  • 1 loaf (1 pound) French bread
  • 1 can (14 ounces) sauerkraut, drained
  • 12 slicesSwiss cheese, thinly sliced

Preparation

  • 1 Grill brats according to package directions. When cool enough to handle, cut into ¼-inch bias slices.
  • 2 In a skillet, sauté onion in butter until tender; set aside. In a small bowl, combine salad dressing and mustard.
  • 3 Slice French bread lengthwise and transfer to a baking sheet.
  • 4 Spread salad dressing mixture on the inside of bread. Layer bottom of bread with six slices of cheese, brats, onions, sauerkraut and cheese.
  • 5 Bake at 350°F for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Cut hoagie and serve hot.

Johnsonville Meatballs and Sausage Slices

Posted by Brandon On December - 10 - 2013

It’s been a little while since our last Johnsonville post, but I’m excited to share a review of a couple of their new products. I’ve long been a fan of precooked food when it comes to tailgating, because there are so many things that could go wrong with raw food. Luckily Johnsonville has added several new precooked offerings to their already stellar stable of products.

johnsonville-logo

Disclaimer: We were given samples of the Johnsonville Meatball and Sausage Slices free of charge. This in no way affected our evaluation of the product, nor did it affect the objectivity of this review.

One of my favorite things about testing these new products for Johnsonville is that when they’re released they always have a lot of recipes to try them in. The new meatballs and sausage slices were no different. However sometimes I like to put my own spin on things, which is precisely what I did with this review.

 

mild-italian-sausage-slicesThe first of the two products I tested was the “Mild Italian Sausage Slices.” As you might have guessed from the name, these are simply slices of italian sausage. While there are a few things you could do with these I decided to try them on a pizza. I found them super easy to use for this purpose, just grab them from the freezer and top the pie, and my results were quite nice. While I made this particular pizza in my home oven, it could easily be done on the grill. The sausage itself was surprisingly juicy considering it had been cooked, frozen, and then baked in the oven, all while maintaining a pleasant flavor.  If mild sausage isn’t your scene, they also offer a hot and spicy variety.

 

3-cheese-italian-style-meatballs

The next products I tried were the “Three Cheese Italian Style Meatballs.” For these I decided to make something on the grill, and the best thing that came to mind was a meatball sub. I didn’t follow any specific recipe for these, but they turned out great just the same.   Even after grilling them a little to add some additional flavor they were still plenty moist for being precooked. Now what you need to know about these is that they’re made from pork, which is probably different than what you would expect. As such they have an entirely different texture and taste than similar products made from beef. Not a negative to the product, more of an FYI. If “Three Cheese” isn’t your scene they also offer “Classic Italian” and “Homestyle” which I’m sure are equally as good.

Based on my findings, I’m going to deem the Johnsonville Meatball and Sausage Slices “Tailgate Approved.” I think they’d be a welcome addition to any tailgate menu and, even as we near the end of the football season, they would be equally welcome as part of your indoor gameday spread. These products are gluten free, and are made to the same quality standards that you would expect of a company like Johnsonville.

To learn more about the product you can visit the product page here.  I would also encourage all Johnsonville fans to check out their social media sites for the latest news, tips, and contests.  You can find their Twitter pages @JvilleGrilling  and @JvilleKitchens.  Their Facebook pages are here and here, and a personal favorite of mine is their Instagram page.

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.

Product Review – Johnsonville Mushroom and Swiss Grillers

Posted by Brandon On June - 16 - 2013

Last month I posted my review of Johnsonville’s Bacon and Cheddar Grillers.  In that post I mentioned that I had another flavor to sample, so that’s what today’s review will be about.  Even though the products are very similar, only the flavors differ, I decided to do a little extra for this review. So please read on for our review of Johnsonville’s Swiss Cheese and Mushroom Grillers.

JOHNSONVILLE SAUSAGE, LLC SWISS AND MUSHROOM

IMG_20130521_184924If you’ll think back to the previous “Grillers” article I spoke about how the flavors were inside of the burger, and that because of this you could add additional toppings that would not be practical otherwise. Well whenever I have a mushroom and swiss burger, I always add bacon.  So I decided to fry up some thick cut bacon to have with these burgers.  I’m also a fan of using BBQ sauce as a condiment on burgers of this type so I decided to do that as well.

The prep for these burgers was basically identical to the previous review with one addition.  I placed a cast iron skillet on my Weber Q100 while the grill was heating up.  After everything was hot I backed the heat IMG_20130521_190252down to about medium and started cooking everything.  I found that with the heat at this temp I was about to do about 2 batches of bacon in the time that it took to cook the frozen patties.  As with any ground meat product you want to make sure that you cook them long enough to reach a safe internal temperature. Since the box states that these need to go to 160°F I made sure to follow those directions.  ( I accidentally took these a little further than they needed to be but better safe than sorry.)

For serving purposes I made burgers by smearing some sesame seed buns with a little KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce, added 2 slices of the bacon to each, and then the patties. I also kept one pattie by itself so I could see what the product tasted like by itself.  The burgers were delicious, and on the plain pattie I could definitely taste the mushroom flavor, which was a pleasant surprise, and the swiss cheese was spread throughout.  All in all the Swiss Cheese and Mushroom Grillers are another quality offering from Johnsonville.

IMG_20130521_190949I would definitely declare these “Tailgate Approved.”  In fact I think I liked these even better than the bacon and cheddar version.   Johnsonville Swiss Cheese and Mushroom Grillers come in boxes of six patties, and should be available at your local supermarket.  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.

 

Product Review – Johnsonville Bacon and Cheddar Grillers

Posted by Brandon On May - 14 - 2013

Bacon…  Cheddar…  Those two words alone are usually enough to catch my ear when describing food.  Well the good folks over at Johnsonville decided to put both of them into their new Bacon and Cheddar Grillers.  So when they asked if I’d like to give them a try I answered with a resounding “Yes!”   The Bacon and Cheddar Grillers are half of the new burger patty line making their debut for this year’s grilling season.  The other half is a mushroom and swiss flavor, but I’ll be covering those in a later post.
JOHNSONVILLE SAUSAGE, LLC CHEDDAR CHEESE AND BACON
Now I’ve been known to cook bacon right at my tailgate site in a cast iron skillet.  While few things can beat the sound and smell of bacon frying away, virtually nothing can top the the joy of that first bite of salty pork goodness.  However the upside of doing this comes with some negatives.  First of all it’s more to pack.  Second, you have to figure out what to do with the grease.  And lastly, you may have to do some extra cleaning when you get home.  Is it worth the hassle?  Sure. On occasion it’s not a big deal.  Would I do it, or is it practical for every tailgate?  No, probably not.

Well what’s neat about this product is that instead of having to put bacon and cheddar on top of your burger, Johnsonville has put them in to the pattie for you.  For tailgaters this means that you won’t have to worry about preparing/packing those things separately, and there isn’t any more clean up than you would have with regular burgers.

To test these I decided I would use my Weber Q which is my go to tailgating grill.  Because I opted not to thaw the Grillers before use I set the burner to a medium low as not to burn the heck out of the outside while I waited for the inside to come up to temp. As soon as the Grillers hit the grate I could immediately smell that bacon aroma.  I also took the opportunity to look at the cheese which was quite visible throughout the meat.  After about 18 minutes over the heat, the directions called for well done, I pulled the patties.  You can see by the pic, these browned up pretty nice.
IMG_20130409_191100
For tasting purposes I decided to take a minimalist approach to toppings and such.  I just went with a little mayo and some black pepper on the bun.  The meat was very juicy and all of the flavors you would expect were there.  The texture of the meat was a little different than I expected, but that is most likely due to the fact that these are made of pork rather than beef.   Unfortunately all of the samples were eaten before having a chance to really experiment with various toppings.  I will say that since you’re getting a head start with the cheese and bacon inside the burger already, you could bring some other flavors to the mix without making the burger too big or unruly.

Since the Bacon and Cheddar Grillers bring real bacon and cheddar flavor to the party without the need for additional packing or prep I am deeming these as “Tailgate Approved.”  Bacon and Cheddar Grillers come in boxes of six patties, and should be available at your local supermarket.  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.

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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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