What is Tailgating? Well ... tailgate.com describes it this way:

It's the last great American neighborhood - the tailgating neighborhood. Where no one locks their doors, everyone is happy to see you and all are together sharing fun, food and football!

It's families. It's fans. It's food. It's fun. It's the community social. It's pre-game, halftime, post-game and more. It changes the game into an event. It's the total game day experience!

For many football fans, a game is not a game unless a tailgate precedes it. It's one of the best weekend activities ... whether or not you have tickets to the big game!

I've learned a few things since Steve & I got into this national "sport". Like bring your food in zip-lock bags. This way you can just throw the bags out, instead of trying to clean a bunch of Tupperware containers. When you need a pan, invest in a tinfoil pan that can be thrown away afterwards instead of cleaned. Bring chairs and water, trash bags, paper towels, a good kitchen knife and a can opener. Wear team colors and fly team flags. Show a little team spirit!!

If you're new to this, don't worry about forgetting anything. I've made a simple check-off list of needed items. Just to get to that.

So whether you're a Tail-GATOR or a member of the Buccaneer Brew Crew (or follow your own team-of-choice), here's some things you're sure to love at your next tailgate event!

BBQ'd Ribs

Enough ribs to feed your crowd
Canned Coke (not diet)
Your favorite BBQ Sauce
Garlic, salt, pepper, onion powder

Place the ribs in a baking dish and pour Coke in with the ribs until they are covered. Add BBQ sauce and spices. Allow the ribs to marinate overnight.

Slow cook the ribs in the Coke in an oven at 200 degrees for at least 4 hours (up to 12 will make them very tender). Make sure you cover the ribs to avoid burning them.

Remove the ribs from the oven. Be careful, the meat may fall off the bone. You can refrigerate at this point if you're making the ribs for a next-day-tailgate.

Place your ribs on the grill. Brush with BBQ sauce. Sprinkle Old Bay or Cajun seasoning over the ribs if desired (or mix the spice with the sauce before brushing for the best effect).

Boneless BBQ Pork Chop Sandwiches

Several thick boneless Pork Chops
1 bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce
1 bottle WishBone Italian Dressing
Hoagie Rolls

The night before the game, take the pork chops and poke holes in them with a fork, then place them in a sealable pan. Pour in the Italian Dressing, the dressing should cover the chops. Let them sit in the dressing until you are ready to grill them, at least over night.

At the tailgate event , take out of the marinade, and place on the grill, they should only take about 2-3 min. per side. Next, LET THEM SIT FOR 10 MIN. away from the heat, but in a warm place. This is as important as cooking them, the juices must flow throughout the meat.

Finally smother in BBQ sauce, and place on your roll. They are UNREAL!

Buffalo-Style Chicken Tenders

1 lb. boneless chicken, cut into strips
1 stick butter, melted
1/2 c. Frank's Red Hot Sauce
2 T. grape jelly
1/4 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 c. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
Blue Cheese dressing

At home: Mix flour, salt, pepper, onion & garlic powders together. Rinse chicken strips and coat with the dry mix. Heat a small amount of oil in frying pan. Cook chicken through, but not overdone. Remove from oil & drain.

In bowl, combine melted butter, hot sauce, jelly, Worcestershire & Tabasco. Mix well. Add cooked chicken to sauce.

At the stadium: Reheat chicken on grill for 2-3 minutes, basting with the sauce. Serve with Blue Cheese dressing (or Ranch).

You can double or triple this recipe depending on the size and appetites of your crew.

Grilled Chopped Steak Burger

1-1/2 lbs. ground sirloin
1/4 c. onion, grated
1 T. roasted chile pepper, chopped
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 Tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. red Tabasco sauce

Prepare grill to medium-high heat. In a bowl, add the ground sirloin, onion, chili pepper, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, and Tabasco and mix. You do not want to over mix! It toughens the burger. Next, cut the prepared ground sirloin mixture into four sections. Press the sections into patties. You want them to be 3/4-inch thick evenly.

Broil steak in broiler 3 to 5-inches from heat, or grill over medium coals. Cook burgers 5 to 7 minutes per side or to desired doneness. When cooking, only turn one time.

For Tailgating: Mix the ingredients at home and wrap in plastic wrap. Then place in plastic container and cover. Put container in ice chest to keep cool. Cook on the grill just as you would do at home.

Grilled Lemon-Lime Chicken Breast

8 boneless chicken breast, skinless
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. lemon peel
1 tsp. lime peel
2 T. cilantro
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper

Rinse the chicken breast under cold water. Then pat dry with paper towels. Next, place the breasts in a non-reactive container (either plastic, glass, ceramic, or other non-metallic material). You may use a plastic zip lock bag also.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the vegetable oil, lemon juice, lime juice, lemon peel, lime peel, garlic, cilantro, salt, and pepper. Pour lemon-lime mixture into bowl or plastic bag. Cover or seal and place in a refrigerator. Marinade in refrigerator between 2 to 6 hours (the longer the better). You want to turn the chicken breast occasionally.

Prepare a medium-hot grill fire and well oiled.

Take the chicken out of marinade. Make sure you discard the marinade. Place the breast on the grill and cook 5 to 6 minutes on each side. You only want to turn once. Total cooking time is 10 minutes. You can test by cutting into the breast. You do not want any signs of pinkness.

For tailgaing, take breast out of marinade and place in a plastic bag. Place in ice chest. When the grill is ready, just take them out of the ice chest and grill.

Pam's Mom's Potato Salad

12 Potatoes
2 medium onions, diced
3 celery ribs, diced
2 eggs, uncooked
3 T. milk
1 tsp. prepared mustard
1/8 tsp. dry mustard
4 T. mayonnaise
1/2 c. sugar
1 T. heaping flour
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. salt
1 T. butter
1/2 c. vinegar
1/2 c. water
1/4 tsp. celery seed
2 hard boiled egg, sliced
1/8 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. parsley

Boil potatoes with skins on until tender. Remove from water and let potatoes cool. Peel and dice into 1/2 inch cubes. Place potatoes in large mixing bowl. Add onions and celery.

To prepare dressing, in a sauce pan, heat eggs, milk, prepared mustard, dry mustard and mayonnaise. Add the sugar, flour, pepper, butter, vinegar, water, and celery seed. Wisk until well mixed and thick, just warm.

Add dressing to the potatoes, onions and celery. Just lightly mix. Place in serving dish. Layer the hard boiled eggs over the top. Then garnish with the paprika and parsley.

For Tailgating: Make this a day or two ahead. Place in large plastic container and keep lid tight. Pack into the ice chest and open when you are ready to serve. Remember, this has mayonnaise, keep in cold ice chest until ready to eat.

Old Bay Potato Salad

2 lb. red potatoes
2 tsp. Old Bay seasoning
3 T. red wine vinegar
1 large, ripe tomato, cored, seeded and diced
3 T. olive oil
1 large dill pickle, finely chopped
1 c. finely chopped onion
2 to 3 T. chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
Ground black pepper to taste

Scrub the potatoes and put them in a medium saucepan. Cover with salted water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat slightly, then cook at an active simmer for about 20 minutes, until potatoes are just tender at the center (check by piercing with a paring knife.) Cool.

When potatoes are cool enough to handle, scrape off skins and cut potatoes into chunks. Transfer to a bowl and sprinkle with vinegar.

Gently heat olive oil in a medium skillet. Add onion and cook over low heat for 2 minutes. Stir in garlic and Old Bay; cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat.

Add remaining ingredients to potatoes. Scrape onions and oil over potato mixture; toss well, to mix. Transfer to a rigid plastic container and refrigerate until packing in your cooler.

Orange Chicken in a Crock Pot

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. paprika
1 c. chopped onions
1/2 c. chopped bell peppers
1/2 c. chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. orange juice
1 tsp. grated orange rind
2 T. honey
1 T. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger

Rinse chicken and place on a plate. Combine salt, cayenne pepper, chili powder and paprika and sprinkle over chicken. Set aside. Place onion, celery and garlic in the bottom of a Crock Pot.

Next, place chicken on top of that the mix. Mix orange juice, rind, honey, Worcestershire sauce and ginger. Pour this mixture over chicken. Cook for 6-8 hours on low.

Can be refrigerated and re-heated at the tailgate.

Serve over pasta, race or mashed potatoes.

Randy's Rib Rub

2 T. sugar
2 T. brown sugar
1 T. salt
1 T. garlic powder
2 T. chile powder
1 T. freshly cracked pepper
1 T. Cayenne pepper
4 T. Paprika

Mix all ingredient to form a powdered rub. Rub the mix on the ribs the night before.

At the tailgate, cook the ribs slowly over medium coals. Add your favorite BBQ sauce during last 10-20 minutes of cooking.

Smoked Sausages with Onions & Peppers

20 sweet Italian sausages
4 large onions, sliced
10 red, green and yellow bell peppers, sliced

Place sausages on rack in broiler pan and roast at 370 until all are nice and brown.

Meanwhile, roast peppers and onions by placing them in a large shallow pan and spraying them with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

When peppers and onions are done arrange 2/3rds of them in bottom of heavy shallow oven-proof dish with a cover; place sausages on top and lightly cover with remaining peppers and onions.

Tailgate Tip: Cover and leave dish in warm oven until ready to pack the hot chest.

Tailgate Potatoes #1

5 lbs. red potatoes
2 pkg. Lipton's Onion Soup mix
1 stick margarine or butter, cut into pats

Cut potatoes into cubes (skin on), about 1/2-inch squres. Put them in a 7x11-inch foil-lined baking tray. Sprinkle onion soup mix over top. Place pats of margarine over all. Cover with foil; bake at 400-degrees for 1 hour. Refrigerate if this is the day before the game.

To reheat at Tailgate: Place tray with potatoes on the grill for abou t15 minutes. Check and stir occasionally.

Tailgate Potatoes #2

6-8 potatoes
Parmesan cheese
1/4 c. olive oil
1 pkg. Lipton Onion Soup mix
Salt & Pepper

Cut potatoes into 3/4-inch cubes. Place in a ziplock bag; add oil. Shake them around to coat; then add the soup mix, cheese, salt & pepper to tate. Shake again to mix more.

For the oven: Pour into baking dish and bake at 325-degrees for about 45 minutes (you can reduce cooking time by microwaving 1/2 the time before baking).

For grilling: Microwave for about 20 minutes. Then at the tailgate, grill potatoes in a foil pouch over medium indirect heat for about 30 minutes, turning frequently.

Tailgate Slaw

1 head of cabbage, finely chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1/3 c. sugar
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 c. milk
1/2 c. mayonnaise
1/4 c. buttermilk
1-1/2 tsp. white vinegar
2 tps. lemon juice
1/2 tps. salt

Shred carrot. Chop cabbage into quarters; then shred with cheese grater.

In a different bowl, combine all other ingredients; beat until smooth. Pou mixture over cabbage & carrots; stir in, mixing real good. Refrigerate overnight (no less). Stir before serving. (This will be the BEST coleslaw you'll ever have!)

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