I recently attended the Rose Bowl to get some tailgating tips and recipes from the pros.
Before the game, the Rose Bowl parking lot was transformed into an awesome tailgate party, where football fans were busy playing tailgating games and grilling up some great food. On the hunt for tailgating ideas, I found that the most essential equipment is a portable tailgate grill, table and canopy. A big screen TV, generator and rocking stereo system is also a plus.
At this USC college tailgate, burgers, steak and carne asada ruled, but we also found some bacon-wrapped hot dogs in the mix, cooked up with some grilled onions and peppers on a foil-wrapped sheet pan. Of course, with this great party vibe we met plenty of generous fans who were willing to offer us a bite and share some great football tailgating tips.
One group was making carne asada tacos on a Comal, which is a street taco grill. They use it for all sorts of tailgating recipes, from chorizo and egg burritos for breakfast to carne asada. They also fill it with oil to make fried chicken or fish.
The secret to this great carne asada recipe was a steak marinade made from Sunny Delight, Lawry’s seasoning salt, onions, cilantro and fresh orange slices. The key is to let it sit. You can’t just mix it up and cook it right away. Let it marinate overnight!
Most of these die-hard fans arrived 4-5 hours early to get their spots on the lawn!
Our final stop brought us to a fun couple who were cooking up some delicious rib-eye steaks, hot Italian sausage, and pork chops. This couple said the best barbecuing is done with wood, and they prefer grape wood.
Here are some tailgating tips I learned from the game:
• Keep it simple
• Marinate your meat the day before.
• Arrive at the event 5 hours early to set up and get a spot.
• Use grape wood for the best flavor
• Use disposable containers
• Pack napkins and utensils the day before
• Bring lots of ice and bottled water
• Make a checklist of cooking items
My personal favorite tailgating recipe is a beef tri tip recipe, which I marinate the day before in a Ziplock bag filled with olive oil and spices. When you’re ready for the game, just throw the tri tip steak in the ice chest with your supplies and you’re good to go!