College football and food have always been linked. A major event of the day is tailgating. There are different claims on how far back this tradition goes, but some say the Roman times while others claim tailgating began while spectators picnicked on a hill while watching the Civil War battle of Bull Run in 1861. What most agree to is that in 1869, before and after the Rutgers played Princeton, fans were tailgating enthusiastically!
If you are moving to Coastal Virginia, you will get to know your neighbors quickly this time of year by the buzz about college football…and tailgate parties. Whether you get invited or already have your tickets and parking passes for a lot at Old Dominion University, UVA, or Virginia Tech, you are going to have a great time.
So be prepared for the age-old venue of setting up camp near a football stadium and spending hours whether you stay for the whole game or not. Every school has its tailgating traditions, practices and approaches, but some stand out from the pack. If you are moving from the other Coast, you have probably enjoyed stuffed roasted peppers at the University of Southern California. If you graduated from the University of Mississippi, you probably expect fried chicken and barbecued ribs. If you are a Ravens fan, you know all about Maryland-style pit beef. Regardless of your experiences, and those of you homeowners who live for your tailgates at UVA, Virginia Tech or East Carolina, we would love to hear what you think are must-have tailgate recipes.
While every college, university or NFL facility has their specific rules for tailgating, here are a few tips to keep in mind!
1. Know what the hours are for being allowed in parking and other grounds for set up and be sure that the “setup and chef” team arrives early. When tailgating at East Carolina, the University only allows its tailgating lots to be open 6 hours prior to kick off. That may sound like a lot of time, but you have to plan to cook ahead for cooking that whole pig.
2. If you are bringing the grill, know the policies for cooking. At UVA, charcoal grills are not permitted, while propane grills are but must be less than five pounds. At ODU, grills are permitted in University surface lots and restricted areas of Kaufman Mall with certain elevation and gas grills are restricted to 10 gallon propane tanks.
3. Keep it simple but be thorough in your planning. Check the rules of the venue as to having alcohol and communicate with your guests. Plastic cups are probably a safe bet if alcohol is allowed. To reduce stress, bring foods that are ready to eat or take no more than 15 minutes at the most to cook.
4. Plan your entertainment. Play your favorite music, bring a generator for your TV, have a few games like beer pong or corn hole. Determine if any children will be at your site, and plan activities for them as well as sodas or lemonade! Be sure to introduce everyone as they pass by your site and if possible, invite them to join you.
5. If you are a guest and have been invited for a game and/or tailgate party, bring along a local microbrew to offer or an unusual snack if you have not been given something specific to bring.
Tell us your favorite place to tailgate, whether that is at a football game, steeple chase races, or right in your own neighborhood! We would love to hear of any tailgate recipes you have enjoyed.
And…we know in Coastal Virginia, you will always hit right with a crab dip at the next tailgate party. People love a variety of dips so it’s okay if someone else brings along one as well…
Makes: 10-12 servings
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise 2 tablespoons Old Bay 1 cup Sherry wine 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1 cup fresh jumbo lump crabmeat 1 loaf baguette
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blend cream cheese in a Cuisinart or mixer with all ingredients except the cheese, crabmeat and bread. Pour mixture into bowl and fold in crabmeat. Place in 6×10 aluminum pan and top with cheese. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 until golden brown and bubbling and serve with sliced baguette.
Note: Can be refrigerated and served baked next day and cooked on closed grill.