There's nothing like that feeling of anticipation as you drive to the stadium this time of year. Your pulse quickens; you know that no matter what happens, it will be a memorable experience, one that will stay with you a long time. You look forward to this day all week; thinking about it helps get you through the long dreary days at work. Maybe you're even one of those people who mark off the game days on your calendar as soon as the schedule is announced. It seems like it takes forever for the season to arrive . . .
And then. . . you're there. You drive into the stadium lot and get ready for the BIG EVENT.
The Tailgate Party. Oh, yes, a football contest follows later that day. But the main thing is the great food you're about to enjoy. The game itself presents the unpleasant prospect that your team might lose. But there are no losers in the tailgate party - unless the food and drinks run out. To make your tailgate party a successful one, consider some of these ideas:
1. Keep it simple. Recipes with too many ingredients, or those that require precision cooking techniques, don't work well at the stadium. You want to be able to socialize while you are cooking, not worry about whether the sauce you are making is up to Culinary Institute standards, or whether your ribs could place high in the national barbecue championships in Memphis.
2. Don't be afraid to attempt new dishes. The beginning tailgater might want to stick to the basics - hamburgers, hot dogs, steaks perhaps. But why not bring some exciting innovations to the stadium, just as your team's offensive coordinator is hopefully doing. There are many wonderful books on backyard grilling that can give you ideas on how to vary your menu.
3. Prepare as much ahead as you can. You can put the spice rubs or marinades on your meat dishes the night before. Then at the stadium just take the meat out of the cooler and get it on the grill. In general, longer marinating time results in more flavorful meat. In the morning before you leave, you can get most of the prep work done-cutting, seasoning, etc. Let's say you are making your patented pork chili dish. You can have all the ingredients ready and put in their own containers or plastic bags, so all you have to do when you get to the game is get the chili pot warm on the grill, pop open the containers and add the ingredients together.
Brian Hill is the author of several nonfiction books and the novel, “Over Time. " One of his favorite hobbies is Grilling right behind eating and gardening .