So this may come as a shock to some of you, but until this weekend, I'd never actually watched a football game. I skipped all of them in high school, because they competed against new episodes of the X-Files (I am a huge nerd, I make no apologies.). I went to GSU before they had a football team. I have ignored this sport as much as is possible, given that I A) live in Georgia and B) married a Texan. All that changed yesterday when our friends in Seneca invited us to come up and watch the Clemson game. Despite my complete indifference to the sport, I'll take any excuse to hang out with friends on a beautiful fall day and eat delicious food.
So how does one "tailgate" exactly? I knew before going that it was some sort of picnic done out of the back of your car, preferably a truck. Well, my pickup died in June and I replaced it with a Prius. I guess that'll do. Our friends have a big SUV, so we wouldn't look completely ridiculous. We threw a couple lawn chairs in the back, packed a cooler with bratwursts, growlers from Ale Yeah! and sliced apples and baked a batch of pumpkin rye muffins for dessert. We met our friends at their house, where we picked up the rest of our tailgating party (and their food!)
A guy with a backyard smoker made a really nice pork shoulder. Don't ask about the rub, it's his secret recipe.
Someone else brought a batch of buffalo cauliflower, "because we need a vegetable".
We also picked up some chicken strips and cinnamon apples from Fatz, a local restaurant that's a tailgating tradition in Clemson/Seneca.
So we threw all our food, the coolers, the chairs, some tables and an awning in the back of both cars and headed off to the university to set up. We parked in a field called "Lot 13" and set up. First was a big orange awning, just like everyone else's.
We also set up tables and chairs and started setting out the food. Someone brought a portable grill and started cooking the brats. We'd brought games to play, but we were packed in so tight, there was no room for them. I took a walk around and saw others had set up big TVs with satellite dishes so they could watch other games. Other people had set up sound systems with speakers that dwarfed my car and were dancing. There were big grills and smokers set up. I saw an RV park where folks had clearly been there for awhile. It was really a big party.
We ate and drank for a few hours, then went to go watch the game. Not being a football fan, I can't tell you if it was a good game or not, but Clemson won, so there's that. After the game we went back to the cars and sat around eating leftovers until the crowd thinned enough we could navigate our cars back to the road.
So would I go to a football game again? Only if tailgating was involved. Sports are kinda boring to me, but food isn't.
Like my poorly lit iPhone pictures? I'm on Flickr now! You can see more of our tailgate party here! And you can like me on Facebook!