Every fall, I look forward to my favorite sport. Fans in burnt orange and white gather in droves, excitement fills the air, and beer is the ideal breakfast. That’s right, it’s tailgate time! Now, you might ask: tailgate, a sport…really? Yes, yes it is. Especially when you bring together a team of foodies, sports junkies, musicians, home brewers, and a techie or two.
Over the years, our tailgate has evolved from a few people huddled around a BBQ pit to an organized event with planned menus, live music, and our own social network. The catalyst to this type of planning was, of course, food. Our tailgate started out as a “bring what you want, we have a grill” free-for-all. Inevitably, we would end up with a copious amount of meat products and beer, and not much else. After one too many Saturday afternoons ending with a fight over the last tortilla – the loser dejectedly eating fajitas with his or her fingers – we’d had enough.
These days we are a well oiled machine. Last year’s tailgate season menu included a margarita machine, homemade chili, kegs from NXNW, spicy hot wings, mimosas, smoky ribs, Bailey’s & coffee, and various pastas, salads, and baked goods. We even created our own team koozie. (see our logo below)
The 2009 football season began a couple of weeks ago, but the planning started mid-summer. One of our tech minded teammates set up a social networking site where we can discuss menus, talk trash, and post photos. And occasionally discuss the actual football games. This has become the virtual home of our community, where we keep in touch on non-home game weeks. Visit us here: http://uthookem.ning.com
The menu for the first tailgate was pretty standard: various meats on a grill. The day started off with mimosas and breakfast tacos for the early birds and proceeded to beer, fajitas, hot wings, rum & coke, pasta salad, and longhorn shaped cookies. By game time, we had grilled everything from veggie burgers to pork ribs, consumed enough beer to quench the thirst of a small country, and had sung almost every Beatles song at the top of our lungs. I’d say our first tailgate was a big success!
As we look forward to the rest of the season, my thoughts are on homemade chili & cornbread, chicken & waffles, and some surprise appearances from local musicians. We will, of course, post photos and recipes.