Prepping for Tailgating 2012 – Part Two: Getting to Grilling

By at July 2, 2012 | 10:49 AM | Print

Prepping for Tailgating 2012 – Part Two: Getting to Grilling

We’ve covered our tools. It’s time to discuss what to throw on the heat.

Most traditional tailgates involve a selection of a few meats. There are some obvious choices, but you should consider a multitude troughout the season to keep your friend and/or people you suck up to happy.







Tried and true, the hamburger finds itself at nearly all tailgates. You can use ground meat (a mix of 80/20 and 90/10 works well for me), however getting frozen patties from a place like Sam’s Club works in a pinch and are much easier to prep.

Whatever you decide, make sure you have the proper condiments on hand and fresh buns. Not ones you picked up at the discount bakery five days ago that could pass as hockey pucks.











Hot Dogs: Nebraska fans should be using Fairbury Hot Dogs. Period. I often pick up Wimmers, but keep things local. If you’re picking up brats or other types of linked sausages, make sure you have plenty. When word gets out that you have these, they disappear fast.














Fried Turkey: I’ve got to be honest. Cooking turkeys with a lot of people around scares me to all hell and then some, but I understand that it’s a favorite.

Safety should be your number one priority when frying a turkey. Why? Because a bird isn’t worth a lawsuit. Alton Brown helps give us the jist.

If you’re going to take the time to fry a turkey, please be aware that when you’re disposing of oil hotter than West Texas in July that there aren’t going to be many good places to put it in a tailgating atmosphere.

Take the time to find out where to dispose of this appropriately well in advance. Worst case scenario, you let the whole thing cool down, store it in the back of your vehicle and take care of it later.














Steaks: Only a skilled tailgatesman should attempt to tackle the steak in a pregame setting. Yes, grilling a ribeye to medium rare before the Minnesota game is a great way to kick off the day, but when there’s a swarm of people about, keeping conversations and cooking requests straight is a near-impossible task.

Hamburgers can cook well in seven to nine minutes, but a medium well steak can take 12-14 minutes if it’s cold outside.

If you decide to have a private pre-game party, you can’t go wrong with a medium rare filet. If you’re hosting more than five people, consider skipping the serious cow for another day.











Chicken Breasts: Another tough item for tailgating. It takes time for breasts to cook thoroughly, and if you don’t have the time, you may as well scrap these plans.

However, if you split the breasts to thin them down, you can get them off the grill in eight to ten minutes and they work well in sandwiches.












Chicken Wings: Wings are an issue of time, too. Trying to cook wings from raw on the grill can be pretty brutal due to the fat flaming up. I have found that if you take the time to par-cook  them in the oven before transport and crisp them up on the grill, it’s worthwhile.













Ribs: As with wings, you’ll need to par-cook the ribs either boiled or in the oven before heading out. They finish well with sauce on the grill, but then you have the issue of cutting them on-site. Very worthwhile when you have the time.

To flavor this big ol’ Meatfest, you’re going to need a solid dry seasoning as well as sauce that you can depend on time after time. For the seasoning, let’s go with a concoction that I use on almost anything.

I will go by parts, so you can use whatever measuring apparatus you wish. Tablespoon, cup, vat, it all works.

Two parts Lawry’s (it’s worthwhile), one part onion powder, one part garlic powder, one part Old Bay, one part Kosher Salt (yes, Kosher matters here) and one part black pepper.

Mix this in a airtight container and you’re good to go.

In terms of sauces, we’re going with one standby and a newcomer that will kick things up hardcore.

BBQ Sauce:  Cookies












Sweet, consistent and well made. If you followed my recipes from last football season, you shouldn’t be shocked by its appearance.

Wing/Alternate BBQ Sauce: Sparky’s Wing Sauce


















Husker Locker colleague James Stevensen turned me onto this stuff last fall, and I am very glad he did.

It has the tang you expect from a hot sauce, but it isn’t anywhere near hot. I don’t eat hot, spicy food and I love this stuff.

Why should you give it a try? It goes well on almost literally anything (haven’t tried it on ice cream or a car battery yet), and it’s made in Grand Island, Nebraska by a gentleman named Todd Morgan. You can normally find it in your local Hy-Vee or you can order it online.

We’ve got the main dishes down. Keep your eyes peeled for some savory sides up next.

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