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Tailgating 101

With football season in full swing, there isn’t a better time to talk beer, burgers and your favorite team. I’ve been to too many tailgates over the years to count, and while they are a lot of fun, they can be a lot of work.  Here are some tips from me to you to help you have a successful tailgate.

• Make a list and check it twice. No need to re-invent the wheel every time you tailgate. Use this tailgate as an opportunity to make a checklist and laminate it so that can be used again in the future.

• Make a list and check it twice. No need to re-invent the wheel every time you tailgate. Use this tailgate as an opportunity to make a checklist and laminate it so that can be used again in the future.

• The 4P Principles. Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Take time to create a timeline, plan your menu, and make a preparation list of food that you’ll be bringing out to the tailgate. While I always recommend that anything on the smoker, grill, or propane burner be prepared before hand on-site, there are many recipes that you can prepare in your home and bring out to the big game.

• Food-safe latex gloves. This is one thing that I swear by. Whether you are stacking charcoal in your grill or handling fresh meat, it is always a great idea to keep your food safe and use gloves. Replace gloves as needed to maintain a clean environment. If you have trouble finding gloves, you can order online.

• Get there early and plan on staying late. You have invested a considerable amount of time by planning for your tailgating event, so make sure you take time to enjoy it! This will tip will also help you avoid traffic in and out of the game.

• Sanitize Bucket. Go to your neighborhood hardware store and get a 5 gallon bucket with lid.  Fill bucket with 4 gal of water and 2 caps of bleach.  Place some of your cotton clean up towels in the bucket and take out to your tailgate.  Use as needed to clean off work areas.

• Freeze your water bottles. If you’re tailgating in weather like we have down here in Texas freezing your water bottles serves a dual purpose.  They make great ice packs for keeping your food and beverages cool.  Take bottles out as needed and let the sunshine melt ice away.

• Large storage containers. It’s always good to be organized before and after the party.  I’m a believer in making sure everything you bring out to the tailgate has a home coming and going.  Large storage bins will take your tailgate to another level.

• Have your food ready early. Plan on having all of the food ready at least 2 hours before kick off.

• Music and playlists. Not much else sets the spirit of a tailgating party than have a carefully selected playlist playing on your outdoor speaker system. Take some time to put together your favorites.

• Always buy too much in the beverage and ice department. I picked up this advice from a good friend of mine and have never run into trouble with a tailgate by sticking to these two cardinal rules. Bring an extra cooler dedicated to clean ice, and use as needed.

• Paper and disposables are a must. Trash bags, paper towels, heavy duty zip locks, heavy duty foil and disposable foil pans for holding food off the grill are always helpful. Don’t forget the plates, insulated cups and utensils!

• Get to know your neighbors. You will always have more in common than you know. Tailgating is a sport in its own right! It’s always fun to team spirit, tailgating ideas, food and drinks with one another.

I hope my tailgating tips help you enjoy some great tailgating in your near future. I have included a few of my favorite tailgating recipes to enjoy on game day.

Levi’s Blue Ribbon Deviled Eggs (Makes 24 pieces)


12 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, sliced in half lengthwise (see recipe below)

¼ cup homemade mayonnaise (see recipe) or if store bought, I prefer Hellmann’s prepared mayonnaise

2 teaspoons French’s yellow mustard

¾ teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons white vinegar

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons sugar

2 Tablespoons finely diced chives (for garnish)

Directions: Place the egg whites on a platter and reserve. Carefully remove the yolks from the whites, placing the yolks in a bowl. Mash well with fork or run through a sieve.  Add mustard, mayonnaise, salt, vinegar and sugar. Mix with a whisk until smooth. Spoon or pipe the filling back into the egg whites.  Place in air tight container and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, lightly dust the smoked paprika over the eggs and sprinkle with chives. (Garnishing in advance will stain the eggs.)

Homemade Mayonnaise (Makes 1 cup)


1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 cup vegetable oil or other neutral flavored oil

2 large egg yolks

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

¾ teaspoon salt (to taste)

Directions: Whisk together yolks, lemon juice, salt and mustard in a medium bowl once mixed well use a measuring cup with a spout and drizzle in the oil in a thin steady stream whisking continuously until incorporated. Adjust salt and lemon juice if needed. Note: This can also be done in a food processor you may need to scrape the bowl and make sure all ingredients are thoroughly blended before adding oil through the feeder tube.

Goode’s Game Day Chili (Serves 12 – 16)


2 Tablespoons Bacon drippings

2 1/2 cup Yellow onion-Medium dice (1/2” pieces)

1 ½ teaspoons Fresh ground black pepper

1 ½ teaspoons whole Comino seeds that have been toasted and ground

2 teaspoons Salt

2 Tablespoons Garlic minced

1 quart Beef stock (low sodium)

3 Tablespoons Pure New Mexico Chile Powder (can find at HEB Central)

1 Tablespoons Pure Ancho Chile Powder (can find at HEB Central)

2 Tablespoons Fresh oregano chopped

½ teaspoon Fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons masa harina (Ma seca brand preferred, can find in ethnic section of grocery)

2 pounds Beef-top sirloin-coarse grind or hand cut

2 pounds Lean Pork butt- coarse grind or hand cut

Directions: Render bacon in pan and reserve drippings. Heat 2 Tablespoons of bacon drippings over medium high heat until pot is coated. Add your diced yellow onion and fry until the edges of the onion start to turn clear and soften, do not brown, add garlic and continue to cook for 2 minutes, until fragrant. Add pork and beef to the pot along with black pepper, salt and Comino cook until meat is browned. Mix in pure chili powders. Add beef stock and bring up to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any excess grease with ladle. Adjust salt to taste, add fresh lemon juice and fresh oregano and continue simmering for 10 more minutes.

It’s a Bloody Mary Morning…… Bloody Mary (Makes approximately 1-gallon)


4 to 24 ounce cans tomato juice

½ cup Worcestershire

½ cup soy sauce

2 cups orange juice

1 Tablespoon horseradish

1 Tablespoon kosher salt

1 Tablespoon black pepper

½ teaspoon ground cumin (toasted and ground is best if you’re able to)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoon celery salt

1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon cayenne

½ cup coca cola

Premium Vodka (see directions)

Garnish – pickled green beans, pickled okra, lemons and limes

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a 1-gallon container and mix very well. It’s best to let the flavors marry overnight if possible. Fill tall glass with ice and 2 ounces premium vodka of choice. Garnish with lemon and lime squeeze and a pickled green bean or okra. This works for game day well if it’s a noon or one o’ clock game. Plan on building a Bloody Mary bar having different flavored vodkas available with garnishes and let everyone build their own to their liking!


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