Are You Ready for Some Football?
I love football and all things related to this glorious game. (To be clear, I’m talking about American football and not soccer-which is really just not the best forum for tailgating.) I love the fact that the weather has cooled down, that me and like-minded fans are routing for a common cause-our team annihilating the other team-and all of the wonderful foods I’ll get to eat. All in the name of football! So in honor of this great American pastime, Your Resident Gourmet’s Newsletter is focusing on how you can be the Ultimate Tailgater with a little Tailgating 101.
Whether it’s a collegiate or professional game you’re tailgating, you’ve got to represent your team by looking the part of the ultimate fan. What’s the definition of the ultimate fan? That depends on who you ask. It may mean face paint, body paint, crazy hair hats, beer helmets, and mascot outfits or the more subdued team jersey and matching colors. The ultimate fan, however, should NOT be confused with the Ultimate Tailgater. This is the person who arrives at least 3 hours before the start of the game in order to stake out the best spot to set up. The Ultimate Tailgater also has the best gear, drinks, and food.
Eat Like A Champion!
A successful tailgating party rests on the quality and quantity of the food and beverages served. The Ultimate Tailgater will also have some really cool gadgets to dazzle their guests and make the tailgating an experience to remember.
I love grilled chicken wings and Grilled Jerk Wings are one of my favorites. I always grill the entire uncut wing for a couple reasons. They are much easier to manage on the grill if they’re whole and I love to eat that crispy wing tip. Here is my Grilled Jerk Wing recipe and it is red hot-so have a cold drink nearby!
Grilled Jerk Wings
Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker
Yields 4-4 wing servings
1 small onion
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
4 large garlic cloves
3 Scotch bonnet chiles, seeds removed
¼ cup fresh lime juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sea salt
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
¾ teaspoon freshly grated ginger
½ teaspoon cinnamon
16 whole chicken wings
- Place onion, scallions, thyme, garlic, habaneros, lime juice, vegetable oil, salt, brown sugar, allspice, black pepper, and cinnamon in a food processor and puree until it resembles a smooth paste.
- Place chicken wings in a large Ziploc bag and coat with the marinade. You can save any unused marinade in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Just make sure it doesn’t come in contact with the raw chicken or anything (including your hands) that has touched the raw wings.
- Seal bag and refrigerate overnight to 24 hours.
- Remove chicken from the refrigerator and allow to temper for 20 minutes at room temperature.
- Place wings on the hottest side of the grill and cook until well browned on all sides, about 3-5 minutes. Move chicken to cooler side of the grill, cover with lid or an aluminum pan, and continue to cook until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes more.
- Remove from grill, allow to rest for 5 minutes and enjoy with a cold drink!
Recipe by Chef Jennifer Hill Booker
Yields 8-1cup servings
Here’s a quick Rum Punch recipe that cools you down without sacrificing the flavor of the Grilled Jerk Wings.
2 cups Caribbean rum, like Mount Gay Rum
1 cup light brown sugar
½ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 (1-liter) bottle club soda, chilled
Lemon or lime slices
- Stir together first 5 ingredients.
- Add club soda just before serving.
- Serve over crushed ice and garnish with sugarcane sticks or lemon and lime slices.
Looking for some fun tailgating gadgets to take to the game? The American Tailgater Association website (www.americantailgaterassociation.org) recommends some ‘must have gadgets’ for the 2012 Football Season.
The holster covers waists from size 26″ all the way up to 45″. The beer belt holds both 12- and 14-ounce containers. Whether you want to supply yourself or cart drinks to partygoers, the beer belt is any tailgate savior.
Whether it has been a lack of time, space or money has kept you from the tailgating experience, disposable grills have come a long way and have removed the barriers for taking part in this pre-game ritual. Starting at about $4, the safety and grilling capabilities are remarkable even on the most inexpensive disposable grills.
The Fork Thermometer
A fork thermometer is approximately $12 for a basic model. You stick it in your chicken or burgers or steaks and read the monitor. The recommended meat temperatures are printed on the storage pocket for quick reference so you always cook your meat to the recommended internal temperature to avoid food borne illness caused by eating undercooked meat and poultry.
This master tailgating list will make packing for the big game quick and easy. I suggest washing and repacking your tailgating essentials once the game is over. This way you’ll be all set for next week’s game!
Master Tailgating List:
- Game tickets
- Jerseys, face paint, car window paint, pom-poms, and Beer Belt
- Ice-filled coolers
- Food for snacking and grilling
- Cold or warm drinks (depending on the weather) and water
- Plates, cups, napkins, and silverware (disposable is convenient but reusable is cheaper and kinder to the environment)
- A radio, portable TV, or laptop for pregame updates
- Folding chairs
- Umbrellas, tarps, and waterproof gear
- Large blankets
- Hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, and TP
- Garbage bags
- Bug repellent
- Grill, charcoal, lighter fluid, spatula, digital meat thermometer, tongs, and extra water to cool coals