Sunday, September 29, 2013

Tailgating with Pork and Kroger - Game Day

We could not have asked for a more beautiful day for our tailgate.  Bright blue skies, mild temps, and the slightest of breezes graced the University of Tennessee campus for the game against Southern Alabama.

After a week of testing, my final menu was set.

On Friday, we went to Kroger and loaded up with everything for our tailgate, from the pork butts & tenderloins all the way down to the UT themed plates and cups. 

Alexis getting our bags of pre-made slaw veggies, a real time saver.

The plan was to do as much at home as possible, so Friday night I smoked the Boston roasts (pork butts) overnight and took them to the tailgate to shred.  

Other "prep ahead" things we did were
  • Cole slaw:  used pre-made veggies and made the dressing night before, mixed in the morning
  • Johnny cakes:  made batter night before, cooked in morning, took in a covered steam pan
  • Chipotle lime cream:  made night before and put in a squirt bottle
  • Sliders:  trimmed and seasoned the tenderloins night before, sliced the onions and took in a covered steam pan
  • Buns:  removed from package, sliced all 12 in half and put back in the package
A noon-thirty kick-off meant two things.  First, I had to get there early to set up before our tailgaters showed up hungry and ready to eat.  Second, I would be setting up by myself since Alexis had to take Trevor to his football game that morning.  

Calm before the storm.
Putting up the canopy by myself was humorous.  I had planned on asking someone for help but I was the first one in our lot or the two adjacent parking lots.  With two people, you just pull it open and it takes like 30 seconds.  But by yourself, if you pull one leg, the whole thing moves with you.  It took about 15 minutes and a similar number of swear words but I finally got the canopy up.  

All of the planning and prep paid off.  The only things I had to cook on site were the onions and pork tenderloins.  

Two tailgating safety tips:
  1. Beware of billowing tablecloths near hot grills.  I caught mine early enough that it only melted the ends a bit and didn't catch on fire.  
  2. Don't be an ash-hole.  Never try transporting a hot grill and don't just dump your grill in the parking lot.  Bring a metal can with an air-tight lid to haul off your grilling ashes safely.

Examples of #1 and #2 above.
Once the planning, shopping, and hard work are through, the fun and eating can begin!  We were tailgating with our older son, Brett, and his friends.

A tailgate tradition, cornhole games were found all over the place.  That makes me wonder.  When the American Cornhole Association has their championships, what do they play when tailgating before the tournament? 

We had a great spot just off "the strip" behind Tin Roof. 

The mini Redneck Tacos were Alexis' favorite.  


Brett chilling with Merle the Squirrel.

Alexis hugs Pearl the Squirrel
I couldn't be happier with how everything turned out for our Pork Smorgasbord.   We shared with several tailgate neighbors and received high praise from everyone.   The queso was a huge hit, with one guy telling me it was the best he has had.  I loved seeing people with piled high plates and people making 2-3 trips through the buffet, a great compliment.  
But my new found favorite is the pork tenderloin for tailgates.  I have enjoyed pork tenderloins for decades but this is my first time using them for a tailgate.  The reasons these became my favorite are:
  • Easy to prep ahead for a tailgate:  season and put up to four per gallon zip bag the night before
  • Easy to figure amounts needed:  I just get 1 tenderloin for every 3 people (every 4 if serving 2 meats)
  • Quick to grill:  even on a small grill, I can easily cook 3-4 tenderloins at a time in 25-30 minutes
  • Slice as needed:  once cooked, I put the whole tenderloins in a covered steam pan to keep warm.  I only sliced them as needed so it was warm and juicy every time that I served them.
It was a great day and the versatile cuts of tasty pork from Kroger helped elevate our tailgate.  I'm looking forward to our next one!  

Two Giveaway Reminders
Re-Pin to Win
Don't forget about the Tailgating with Pork and Kroger Re-Pin To Win contest.  You can win one of 4 Kroger $250 gift cards simply by re-pinning one of their delicious recipes on their Tailgating with Pork board.

Tailgating with Pork Giveaway
Leave a comment ON MY PREVIOUS POST to be entered to win this great tailgating kit from Kroger and the National Pork Board.

Whether tailgating at the big game or hosting a game day party at your home, let Kroger and pork make you the Tailgate MVP!