Check each week for our tailgating column.


Early Morning Fun

By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley
Games for college and Pro football used to always start at 1 or 2PM local time.  It was great to get to the stadium around noon and enjoy a snack and a drink in the parking lot.  Then after the game we always enjoyed a roadie which was a snack and/or drink before the drive home.  Today, however some games in the Central, Mountain and Pacific Time zones get to start games at 11 and the Eastern Time zone games often start at Noon.  So now serious tailgate hosts have to consider preparing a breakfast for their tailgaters.  Annually we offer a new breakfast casserole recipe and talk about how to cook eggs, sausages and breakfast burritos. Then we plan Bloody Mary and Mimosa drinks.  That’s all well and good, but what about those that are serious beer drinkers.  These days, with the craft beer boom, it’s time to think of serving something that really pleases those beer aficionados.
Here is a great breakfast recipe that will keep your guests talking for a while. It’s for thin beer pancakes that taste savory.  The mix should be prepared the night before and tested by the chef.  This is to determine if there is a need for more beer.

Beer Pancakes
2 cups pancake mix
2 bottles of beer
Buttery Spray
One pint sour cream
            Make these savory pancakes like crepes by thinning them out more than the recipe on the box of all-in-one pancake mix.  In a large plastic bottle funnel in 2 cups of mix and then add 1 1/2 bottles of beer.  Mix these ingredients together with a long wooden spoon handle or other rod until they are smooth. You can actually shake the bottle after this for final blending.  The night before, make one pancake like a crepe by rocking, in a nonstick pan, to keep it thin.  Then decide if you need a little more beer. Drink the remainder of the beer as a reward.
On game day, set up your tailgate with a griddle on your stove or grill.  Heat the griddle to where a drop or two of water will dance and bubble on it.  Then pour the mix so as to keep the pancakes thin.  Cook one side until it bubbles then flip the cakes and cook till done.
Plate the cakes with a large serving of butter, and a scoop of sour cream.  Serve with beer or coffee.

Don’t Get Hot Under the Collar

By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley
Due to longer football seasons, it seems those early season games are always in really hot weather, even in the northern states.  So keeping cool, for tailgaters, when temperatures reach record highs, isn't just about comfort.  Dangerously high temperatures can result in heat-related illnesses ranging from heat cramps to heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.  The following tips can help you keep cool at a hot weather tailgate party:

Here is a great sandwich that is tops for hot weather tailgate parties.

Chicken Salad
4 Chicken breasts
1 Red bell pepper diced
¼ Cup diced purple onion
1 Small diced Granny Smith apple
1 Small can of crushed pineapple (drained well)
¼ Cup pecan pieces
Grill or cook 4 chicken breasts.  Shred/cut and mix with 1 small red pepper, ¼  cup purple onion, 1 small can of crushed pineapple (drained well), Granny Smith apple and pecan pieces.  Add in olives and or grapes if you like and then mix-in mayo to your liking.
Serve with Swiss cheese on your favorite bread.

Wasted Space

By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley
Is your tailgate vehicle so large that space is never an issue? Does it have room to seat a whole family, all the grills and coolers, tables, chairs, tents and flagpoles necessary to have the ultimate tailgate party? We mean the kind of party that’s admired by all who pass by?  If your answer is, “No”, then don’t feel like the Lone Ranger.  Almost nobody does due to limited space in today’s tailgating lots.
In the early years, tailgating parking was very casual and most stadium lots were not even measured into spaces.  Colleges like the Air Force Academy described their parking surfaces as “native grasses”.  What this really meant was that it was unpaved. Parking and hence tailgating was mostly first come first serve. People tended to spread out more. But things seem to always evolve around money.
The quest for the all mighty dollar has had an affect even on tailgating spaces.  The lots closest to the stadium generally require a huge in the thousands for one parking space.  These spaces are measured and lined off to barely fit a Compact Utility vehicle (CUV) with so little space between parkers that people have to be careful when opening doors so as to not dent the neighboring vehicle. Public, pay-as-you-go, lots are generally much greater distances from the stadium and require a hike to get to the game.
These days, limited space requires serious tailgaters to take space saving measures to pack all the necessary equipment, food and drink so that all the guests are happy and comfortable.  Here are some tips for packing one’s tailgate vehicle:

When thinking about one’s menu, it’s important that we not forget an easily packed desert that can satisfy that sweet tooth of our guests.  The top tailgate desert is a bar that the tailgater can enjoy while standing and without a fork.  Click here for a recipe for No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars. Pack in a square container in your food cooler.

No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Bars

Was it something I ate?

By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley
A late-night roiling stomach is cause for frenzied reflection. After wondering if you’re getting sick, your thoughts will likely wander to your most recent meal, prompting that anxiety-inducing question: “Was it something I ate?” We don’t want our tailgaters to become part of the group estimated by the Food Safety Analytics Collaboration to be part of the 48 million people who get foodborne illnesses in the United States each year.
The Department of Agriculture considers the following “high priority”: E. Coli 0157, Salmonella, Campylobacter, and Listeria. These “nasties” (bacteria) are among the most common and most severe types that cause foodborne illness, but, as the FDA wrote in a press release, “targeted interventions can have a significant impact in reducing them.”
Targeted intervention is what we all need to do to keep our food safe. These are our rules that stand the test of time and are worth repeating:

Click here for a great recipe that can be kept “food safe” for your tailgate this season, even in the warm weather. 

Italian Pasta Salad

Getting Ready for the Season

By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley
Once again we must prepare for another tailgate season. In our preparation we must remember a “famous” quote. This one is from Wally “Famous” Amos of chocolate chip cookie fame. “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” He used these words of wisdom in some of his 10 his self-help books. His idea was to change things that didn’t work. So you ask, “How does this apply to my tailgating experience?”

Think back over the last few years of tailgating.  Were there things that didn’t go the way you’d hoped?  Were you too cold? Were you too hot?  Did you get wet in the rain? Did you have the right seats for your guests?  Did you have enough serving or cooking surface? This list can go on and on depending on your ability to reflect. Again you say, “So how does this apply to my tailgating experience?”

One needs to plan some improvements to insure improvement of his or her tailgating experience. Things you’ll need to buy are on sale this time of year because, after Labor Day, the camping season virtually shuts down as school starts and temperatures cool. So check the ads in the tabloids and on line.  If you type an item like “coolers on sale” into a search engine, you’ll get listings of different coolers from different sources and you’ll see the prices.  In Google I got more than 10 pages of listings and some were 70% 0ff.
Here’s a recipe for one of the most popular items at a warm weather tailgate party, the Deviled Egg.
Caviar Deviled Eggs



Laugh Out Loud

Ball State's dancing tour of campus.

Ohio State's great flash mob at the Student Union

Yale's pranking of Harvard getting them to spell out "We Suck" at the game

Holy Cross Dancing Crusader.