This past weekend marked the end of an important season in our house: Missouri Tiger football season. Let me preface this post by saying that this will not be a reflection on the actual performance on the field. I don’t think anyone wants to discuss that. It’s in the past now. Let’s move on. However, we are season ticket holders and did attend every home game. In our family, game days are much more than just the actual athletic event. They are an experience with as much emphasis put on tailgating as the game itself.
Patrick shares the same creed as the United States Postal Service when it comes to tailgating: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
Tailgating with P is not some event where you show up for an hour before the game and eat a charred Oscar Mayer wiener. It is a daylong event filled with several courses that are carefully planned and prepared prior to game day. This tailgate is not a sit on your rear bumper in a parking garage kind of tailgate. It is more like Lot K (that’s a good lot), forty people, three tents, two TVs with satellite feed, complete with a flagpole and partridge in a pear tree. It is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach.
Patrick prepared for each home game with as much excitement and anticipation as the actual players. We arrived at the tailgate typically around 9:00A, even for the 6:00P kickoffs. It wasn’t odd if I was the only girl among a dozen boys until around noon. We braved numerous rainy, unseasonably cold days. More often than not, I resembled a Chia Pet at the close of those days’ activities. Good thing I like sports, right?
We had a dedicated group of friends who participated in the tailgate. We rotated who brought the meat and signed up for various needs each week. Some weeks had themes based on opponent (ASU = southwestern theme), time of kickoff (11:00A = breakfast), or event (Homecoming). Yes, we are those people that have themed tailgates. Complete with Mizzou napkins, football shaped plates, and a black and gold tablecloth.
For our SEC debut against Georgia in Week 2, Patrick and I were responsible for supplying the meat. P had prepared four racks of ribs and two pork tenderloins, all rubbed with some sort of goodness. The night before, he methodically smoked the ribs at 250-degrees for several hours. He then doused the ribs in beer and wrapped them in foil to cook for the remaining hour. P then heated up ribs the next day once we arrived at the lot. And after spending $80 on the supplies and investing at least five hours of his time, the tailgate masses devoured the meat before P even had a chance to plate it. He only ate one, tiny rib. I now understand why hot dogs and basic ground beef hamburgers are standard fare on football weekends. There is a slim chance we ever bring premium meat to a tailgate again.
Most weeks Patrick quarterbacked our efforts, selecting the recipes with my input, if you can call it that, and preparing the majority of the food. Anything that has the word “dip” or “muffin” next to it in the list below was my doing.
However, for the final home game of the season, Patrick threw me a curve ball and put me in charge of selection and preparation of our contribution. He was going to “Deer Camp” the Friday night before with a group of his Fraternity brothers and I was driving to Columbia separately on Saturday morning. Long story short, I forgot I had to bring something until the morning of the game. Please don’t think for a second that I was going to attempt making something on my own. I’d already made the only substantial recipes I’m comfortable with and we had a strict no repeat policy. Thankfully, Hy-Vee is right off the highway when you take the Stadium Drive exit in Columbia. Much to my dismay, it seemed several other people had the same idea and the only pre-made dips left were a seven-layer and guacamole that had a sell by date of the next day. Both came in small, square plastic containers with a sombrero-wearing cartoon logo on the lid. There was also a two-for-one special on Family Size Tostitos chips. Sounded like a great deal to me, so I purchased the dips and chips. At least I was providing more than one option. I met Patrick at the tailgate and placed the pathetic dips on the display table. Judgment from P instantly ensued, Of course it was in that loving, aren’t you cute for trying, type of way. Regardless of my cuteness, I now have at least a two-game suspension from selection privileges for next season.
And truthfully, that is fine with me. I’m much happier watching him cook and enjoying the delicious outcome. Even more so when we use disposable dishes and my clean up duties consist of walking to the trashcan ten feet away from our tent.
The Tailgate Menu
Southeastern Louisiana – 9/01/12, @ 6:00P
Grilled bacon-wrapped, cream cheese-stuffed peppers
Georgia – 9/08/12, @ 6:45P
Arizona State – 09/15/12, @ 6:00P
Southwestern egg roles
Vanderbilt – 10/06/12, @ 6:00P
Crab Rangoon dip
Pumpkin cheesecake bars
Alabama – 10/13/12, @ 2:30P
Sausage stars (Wonton wrappers with sausage, cheese, ranch dressing, diced red green peppers, white onion, and minced mushrooms)
Kentucky – 10/27/12, @ 11:00A
Pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
Syracuse – 11/17/12, @ 6:00P