(September 1, 2008 – TMRZoo.com) I can’t believe how quickly this summer flew by. Maybe it was the lack of good weather that made it seem so short. I have already had a Sam Adams Oktoberfest and a Michelob Marzen this year. The leaves here in New Hampshire are already threatening to change. My wife was talking to me today about closing the pool. It is time, it is football season.
Like me I bet you have been seeing the “Tailgate at home” type of ads that are starting to flood the airwaves. Do people really plan on ordering Domino’s or Pizza Hut for the big game? The KFC tailgate commercials really kill me, yeah when I think American Football I think cole slaw.
When you tailgate in a parking lot you need foods that you can stand up and eat, samiches, dogs, corn on the cob, wings. Tailgating at home is no different. You want easy foods that you can eat quickly and hold in one hand. If you throw a good football party not everyone is going to get a seat. Therefore the one handed food is essential. If you need me to tell you what is in the other hand you are a moron.
Your tailgating should be done in two stages it doesn’t matter if it is home or away. Good tailgating starts with a brat and eggs samich. Great tailgating is when that samich is washed down with a Bloody Mary.
A great Brat and egg samich isn’t that hard to make on the road. Grill your brats as you normally would. As the brats are cooking heat a skillet on the BBQ grill add a little cooking oil and start frying your eggs. While the eggs are cooking butterfly (or split) the bratwurst and add a slice of cheese. Combine all of the ingredients on a fresh roll and breakfast is almost served.
You still need a Bloody Mary and the best way to get this done is using Dogfish Head Blue Hen Vodka. Yes Dogfish Head the brewer of some of the coolest and funkiest beers on the planet make sprits. I use Blue Hen for my Bloody Marys (and ice cold shots) because it is crisper and smoother than other vodkas I have tried.
If you are on the road in a parking lot you can premix the following recipe and bring it in a plastic jug. Don’t forget the celery stick just because you are in a parking lot that is no reason to be a philistine.
Remember I said a celery stick not a pickle. For some reason in the southwest they think pickles go in Bloody Marys. That is so wrong on so many levels. Pickles go with corned beef sandwiches not Bloody Marys. So here is how you make your Bloody Mary
Pour 1 1/2 oz. of Dogfish Head Blue Hen Vodka in glass filled with ice.
Top the glass off with V8 juice
A dash ground black pepper
A dash Tabasco
A dash of Kosher salt
2-3 dashes of Worcestershire sauce (Lea & Perrin’s is the best)
Give the drink a vigorous shake and garnish with:
1 tsp. horseradish dumped on top
A lime or lemon wedge
And of course a celery stalk.
So you have you Samich and your Bloody Mary, Now is time to kick back for a bit. Typically the next thing on the grill for me is some Mojo chicken. Goya foods makes a chipotle marinade that is almost perfect. Two days before the game add a bunch of chicken legs to a plastic bag and fill the bag with Goya Mojo Chiplote marinade and two tablespoons of garlic.
Once the bratwurst come off the grill start putting the chicken legs on the grill, do not put the chicken directly over the flame. Keep your coals to one side of the grill. The night before the game place some hickory or oak chips tin a plastic bag with a bit of water. Add the wood chips to the fire and shut the lid only opening the grill when the smoke dies down to add more chips.
If you have timed this correctly, the chicken should be a rich brown and sizzling just as you are starting to get hungry again. You should also be ready to make the transition from vodka to beer.
With spicy smoked meat you are going to want a hoppy beer. Why rock the boat I suggest you stick with Dogfish Head. Dogfish Head 90 is more than hoppy enough to stand up to the chipotle and has a huge malt backbone that will bring out the sweetness in the chicken. At 9% ABV Dogfish Head 90 also will keep you warm during those games later in the season.
For those of you that are not sure if a 9% ABV beer is the right choice after a vodka soaked morning Dogfish Head 60 will also pair wonderfully with the chicken.
So if you are tailgating at a NFL Stadium, in your backyard or even a studio apartment in Manhattan remember real football deserves real food and real beer. We only get to do this 19 times a year. There is no reason not to do it right.