I’m happy to announce that I finally experienced my first tailgating. Yesterday was a gorgeous day filled with great food, friends, family and fun. Really, why did it take me this long?!?
My brother-in-law has season tickets and tailgates every weekend. Since he goes with a group of his 20 something friends, their coolers are normally stocked with beer instead of food. But he came up with the great idea to host a clam bake. It was just the excuse I needed to finally take the plunge.
With a forecast of 50° I layered up, threw an extra jacket and hat in the car and was ready to go. We picked up some donuts, coffee and snacks and were on our way. Destination: The Pit.
It sounds kind of ominous doesn’t it? I always hear about the crazy tailgating that goes on so I was curious to find out for myself. We set up by the railroad tracks and had a great view of the stadium and the city. It was fun watching the trains and Rapid go by and I think the conductors got a kick out of seeing all the action as they drove past. *Pro Tip: Buy an extra parking space if you have a big group. That way you can spread out and have room for equipment, tables, etc.*
I never cooked a clam bake so I thought it would be really hard to do in a parking lot. But it turned out to be super easy and delicious! We filled up
the steamer at home so set up at the Pit was really simple. My brother-in-
law got the bakes from Heinen’s – they were only $15 per person and were great quality. We each got 1⁄2 of a chicken, a dozen clams, an ear of corn, coleslaw, a giant sweet potato, a roll, butter, and a fancy place setting that included a giant napkin. What a feast!
Here’s how to do a tailgating clambake like a pro:
- Prep and Pack: Do your prep work at home. (Clean the potatoes, shuck the corn, etc.) Don’t forget real butter and a small aluminum disposable pan to melt it in for the clams, BBQ sauce for the chicken, salt & pepper, hot dogs, buns and any other seasonings/condiments you’ll need.
- Steam: Pre-fill the steamer at home. Don’t forget to add the water before you leave or be sure to bring it with you.
- Accessories: You’ll need tongs, BBQ mop, grill scraper,foil etc.
- Grill: After the chicken is cooked, slather on some BBQ sauce and grill it. It’s worth the extra effort, plus you can make some hot dogs for appetizers while you’re waiting for the clambake to cook.
- Clean up: Don’t forget garbage bags, paper towels and most importantly, baby wipes. Those are perfect for cleaning up sticky hands, wiping off the table, as a TP substitute and so on.
I absolutely loved tailgating! Everyone was super friendly and having a great time but we didn’t see anything too crazy. And the Browns even did their part and brought home a win.
I loved walking around and seeing everyone’s food, how they were set up, what they were wearing and all the crazy decorated vehicles.
The Browns Drumline even made an appearance. This was my first tailgating experience, but certainly not my last! I’m a wimp so I’ll need to act fast to go again this season.
What’s your favorite place to tailgate? And what kind of feasts do you make?