Editor's note: Today's topic for the EA Sports "Where I Come From" series is tailgating traditions. Now, I briefly considered writing something of my own, but that would have been a sham. Instead, I turned to Rock M's own Secretary of the Tailgate, The Beef, who submitted everything below. Thanks, Beef!
It is time to talk about something near and dear to my heart, almost now as much as watching Mizzou in Memorial Stadium. Tailgating. The all-new and sure-to-be fantastic RMN football preview guide will have some thoughts and memories of mine on a specific tailgate, but this will allow me to share some other tips and things I think are cool about tailgating on top of whatever appears in the preview mag. Before I go any further, I need to stop and give all credit for the tailgate I am about to describe to my wife. Quite simply, her license plate does not say TLG8QN for nothing.
Ask yourself these questions. Can you have a football game without a tailgate? My answer is sure, as tailgating is really only something I have come into since my graduation. However, the other question is whether or not you can have a tailgate without a football game? And my answer to that is, once again, absolutely. For me, on a Saturday, the two are entirely different experiences which just happen to go better together.
For us, the key to a good tailgating is planning. With limited space for transportation of materials, as well as limited time and resources in some cases, planning makes all the difference. Menu planning often starts before the season starts, as the discussion revolves around tried-and-true menu winners, as well as new possibilities discovered or dreamed of in the offseason. But menu planning can help with the number of trips to the store on the weekdays in between, especially when facing down three to four straight tailgates to start the season. Plan those out and you can accomplish the purchasing in fewer trips.
I realize this next topic will cause some split between our readers, and that is OK. If you choose to use charcoal for your tailgating grills, then what I am about to talk about may not pertain quite as much. As for our tailgate, propane is used. We splurged a couple of years back and purchased a lovely and large tailgate/camping grill. For propane, we used to use the small, camping-sized propane tanks. However, we ran into issues of the tanks running out of gas on some of the longer tailgates. Turns out it was VERY much worth the money to purchase the adapter which allows you to hook up a normal-sized tank. Even better, this coming year we will unveil the propane splitter. One tank can now be split off three different ways, which is great for us because we have a propane-powered grill, skillet and Crockpot, along with the possible addition of a propane heater at a date to be named later (though not soon enough in my wife's opinion).
With the exception of the Edward Jones Dome and Arrowhead, there is only one other stadium which I have tailgated with my own setup, and that was the Holy Grail of Tailgating, The Grove at Ole Miss. It lives up to the hype in a million ways and if you are at all serious about tailgating, here is a word of advice. Find an out-of-conference game at Ole Miss to attend, as long as it is not Memphis. Go out and buy the shirt of the team Ole Miss is playing and wear it the day of the tailgate. If you can, keep up the story about your being an alumnus of Sanford or Elon or whomever it is the Rebels are playing. You will never be treated better in your entire life. We were treated as royalty at Ole Miss from the minute we stepped foot in The Grove at about 5:30 a.m. and our Mizzou shirts were our invitation. Read up and follow the rules down there (and the rules are a little unique to tailgating), but it is a bucket list item to be sure.
And now...for a surprise. My world-famous Bloody Mary recipe with one caveat. This takes YEARS to perfect. But it is pretty good usually the first time out. And if you have never seen or experienced these Bloody Marys before, some background. The recipe is not so much for the actual mixing of the drink, but how to cure and alter your own vodka FOR the drink. I will still tell you how I mix mine, but that will certainly be subject to taste. Also know it takes at least two days to make these.
Required Materials: One plastic container with a screw-top lid (with large opening) and a spout. These can be purchased at Wal-Mart for a few bucks. It should be big enough to hold at least 3.5 liters of alcohol.
- 2 1.75 liters "handles" of vodka...as cheap as you prefer. Please note. Impressing your friends with Grey Goose or Absolute is just dumb.
- 4 green bell peppers
- 2 red bell peppers
- 1 orange bell pepper
- 1 yellow bell pepper (if orange and yellow peppers are not available, I say buy one more red and call it a day)
- 2 medium white onions
- 2 stalks of green onions
- 1 large bulb of garlic
- 12-18 hot peppers (These can be of different kinds. I usually use some Anaheim, some Serrano and some jalapeno. If habanero are available, these can be used, but you will not want to use 12-18 of just those)
- Quarter the bell peppers. Remove all the seeds. Cut each quarter into 4-6 decent size pieces
- Quarter the white onions. Peel the layers off one at a time and add. The bigger pieces are more important than the smaller ones
- Chop green onions into decent-sized pieces (smaller ones can potentially clog the spout)
- Free the garlic and cut each piece into half or thirds
- For the hot peppers, cut the top off and slice the pepper the long way down the side. Clear all the seeds and just leave as one piece
- Place all the veggies into your container. Pour both your bottles over top. The amount of liquid should cover all the vegetable (but not by much to start)
- Let sit for 48 hours. The vodka will turn a little yellow or a little green
- Vodka is probably safe to keep over the veggies for three weeks or so, but as the contents of the container diminish, veggies will start to bleach. Vodka can be poured off from container and kept (we keep ours in refrigerator)
- Pour off desired amount of vodka. Note on "desired" amount of vodka - The vegetable serve as something of a filter (which is why you should not attempt to eat them), and they remove much of that harsh, hard alcohol flavor. Therefore, you can safely choose to make a drink with more alcohol than you might normally.
- V-8 until there is a little room left in the glass.
- Couple dashes of Worcestershire sauce
- Couple dashes of Tabasco sauce
- Small amount of white horseradish
- A bit of celery salt
- Stir with a large dill pickle spear