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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.

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


• 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


• 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.

Sam’s Cole Slaw

Posted by Larry On May - 13 - 2013


  • 4 cups finely shredded WHITE cabbage
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


Combine all ingredients and marinate in refrigerator overnight. Drain off excess liquid before serving.

Original recipe by The BBQ Grail can be found HERE.

Larry Gaian is the founder of The BBQ Grail. Follow him on Twitter @BBQGrail.

Tailgating Recipes: Jaymee’s Authentic Eats

Posted by Dave On December - 29 - 2011

It’s amazing the information that is floating out there on Twitter. (Pssst… Shameless plug. Feel free to follow us on Twitter: @TailgatingIdeas) Earlier this evening we got a mention from Jaymee Sire on Twitter (go ahead and follow her too: @JaymeeSireCSN) alerting us to check out her blog on food with a special emphasis on tailgating recipes. Did we mention that Jaymee is a sports reporter/anchor for Comcast Sports Network Bay Area and is rather easy on the eyes?

So let’s reiterate some things here. Attractive young lady who knows sports and gets paid to talk about them on TV who loves to cook and shares tailgating recipes. Seriously? Did someone just read the “wants” list of any single tailgater’s online dating profile and create this gal in their basement like in the movie Weird Science?

Stuffed Bacon Cheese Burger

After taking a look at Jaymee’s recipes we could not help ourselves but to share one of them in particular with you all and encourage you check out her other tailgating recipes. The one that caught our eye was the I/O bacon cheeseburgers. Here is her recipe (with permission of course)

What you will need:

  • Ground 80/20 chuck or sirloin (figure 1/4 to 1/3 pound per burger)
  • Seasoning salt (click here for an easy, homemade recipe)
  • Pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce (about a tablespoon per four burgers)
  • Cooked, crumbled bacon (about a slice per burger)
  • Sliced or crumbled white cheddar cheese (about a 1/2 pound per four burgers)
  • Hamburger buns
  • Burger condiments/toppings

In a bowl, season ground beef with pepper and your favorite seasoning salt (or just regular salt if you don’t have any). Sprinkle with about a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce per pound of meat. Mix together using your hands (don’t over mix).

Separate meat into twice as many patties as you plan to make. (i.e. if you are making four hamburgers, make eight patties). On half of them, pile with cheese and cooked, crumbled bacon.

Cover filled patty with a plain patty and press together at the edges to seal. If taking to a tailgate, put the patties in a large tupperware container or a large aluminum pan for easy transport.

Grill burgers over medium heat, about 5-6 minutes per side, or until cooked through and cheese is melted inside. Serve with whole wheat hamburger buns and your favorite burger toppings and enjoy the delicious surprise awaiting you in the middle!

Simple yet delicious and how can you beat a good old fashioned burger at a tailgate party? Thanks Jaymee for letting us share your recipe and we would encourage all of our readers to check out Jaymee’s tailgating recipes page called Authentic Eats.

Burger Pocket Press

And He Bricked It

Posted by Chris On June - 29 - 2011

When someone says the word “brick” what is the first thing that comes to your mind?  If you said a 4th quarter LeBron James jump shot you are close, but not quite right.  Instead when I say “brick” I now think of BBQ chicken.  That’s right, a dirty old brick equals some damn tasty chicken.

A few weekends back I was introduced to barbecuing with a brick.  After a quick learn and a practice cook at the house I took the grill and brick to my recent Phillies tailgate.  The result was a chicken cooked to perfection and a lot of curious eyes and comments from my fellow tailgaters.

Below is the recipe and instructions that I followed…

  • One 3 pound chicken.  Make sure that the backbone of the chicken is removed.
  • 1/2 a lemon juiced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

The evening before your tailgate (or BBQ) you have to prep the chicken.  Combine / mix all of the ingredients (minus the chicken).  Place the chicken breast side up on a cookie sheet.  Flatten the chicken by folding the wing tips under and arranging the thighs next to the breasts of the chicken.  Lastly, slash the breast twice and leg and thighs once about 1/2-inch deep.  Rub your ingredients over the chicken.  Cover the chicken and refrigerate over night (about 6-8 hours).

Now time to grab your brick.  But because bricks are obviously dirty, you have to cover it in aluminum foil.

Place your chicken on the grill with the breast side facing up.  Place the covered brick on top of the chicken.  Keep the brick on the chicken for about 10-15 minutes or until the chicken is browned.  Remove the brick and flip the chicken over and cook for an additional 20-25 minutes.  Remove the chicken from the grill and let it stand for about 10 minutes before carving and serving.

Sure you could pretty much use anything that is heavy for this cooking method (i.e., like the more conventional cast-iron skillet) but it is so, so much cooler to BBQ with a brick.  Ain’t nobody going be messing with your tailgate if you cook with a brick!  But again, you have to cover the brick… don’t just go dumpster diving!





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.