ASU Game Days – Part II

This is the second of a three-part article on what a group of Sun Devil fans do on a typical game day. This article focuses on tailgating, and food suggestions to make your pre-game experience an enjoyable and tasty one.

Tailgating is a time-honored tradition at many universities. Nothing gets you ready for a big game like spending a few hours eating, drinking, and throwing the football around near the stadium. Whenever possible, we like to partake in this tradition. Unfortunately, it has not really caught on at ASU yet. Hopefully this article will help motivate more ASU fans to break out the grill in the parking lot on Saturdays.

We like to have a theme for our festivities to make it a little more interesting - maybe a Cajun Tailgate or a Thanksgiving Tailgate. It all depends on the time of year and our opponent. If there is no opportunity for a themed event, we will do the basic All-American Tailgate which usually consists of burgers, brats, hotdogs and chicken, along with side dishes and of course our favorite adult beverages.

The tailgate preparations usually begin the night before. After work on Friday, my roommate and I decide what we need for tomorrow's party. After the shopping list is finalized, it's off to the store to pick up the necessary supplies. Once everything is purchased, it's time to prepare the food so we can just throw it in the car in the morning. The burger patties are made and seasoned. The chicken is seasoned or put into a marinade, depending on our mood. We love spice, so they are usually marinated in a good Louisiana hot sauce. Of course one cannot forget the brats; if they are going to taste good, they must be boiled in beer before they are grilled, my favorite kind of beer for this is Corona. Prep doesn't take too long for the "All-American Tailgate," so the night is usually an easy one. After prepping the food, we pack it into containers to be hauled to the parking lot in the morning.

Saturday starts early. ESPN's Gameday is on and we always watch it! We make side bets on whether or not they will even mention our game, and usually the person who bets "NO" is the winner. That whole thing about east coast bias is unfortunately true and the media there can't deny it. Anyways, after Gameday is over it's time to pack-up the SUV with all the essentials; food, drink, ASU paraphernalia, football, tables, chairs, grill, charcoal, and of course a copy of the ASU fight song on CD. I would suggest buying the biggest cooler you can find because that seems to always be the weak point of a tailgate - not enough cold storage space. If the game is an early game, say 12:30, we will be out in lot 59 way before Gameday even begins probably around 7am. A 4:30 kickoff also requires being there by 7am. Arriving by 9am for night games is usually fine. The parking attends usually come up to see what we are about, but they usually let us be. If the tailgate starts this early in the morning, there are certain adult beverages needed to start it off correctly. A beer at 7:00am doesn't particularly appeal to me, but a Mimosa (champagne and orange juice) certainly does! Nothing is wrong with a good brat in the morning, though!

After the car is unpacked and the first beverage of the day is consumed, it's time to set up the grill and table and begin to cook. Once the charcoal is ready to go, on go the chicken, burgers, brats and hotdogs. This is a simple tailgate with simple food, so I won't bore you with the cooking details. Basically just cook everything until you won't get sick from eating it (unless you are going to give it to a UofA fan).

By now the party is in full swing. A little sports radio on the car stereo or even better yet, a little 80's heavy metal - we prefer Poison or Guns and Roses. Unfortunately, we are usually the only ones in the lot for quite awhile. Tailgating has not really caught on extensively at ASU. It's not until about an hour before the game that there are actually people all around. That has its advantages, though. We have more room to toss the pigskin without worrying about hitting anyone (and after a few beverages, it can be a worry!).

We usually like to walk into the stadium early; maybe 45 minutes before the kickoff, so basically we drink, eat, and hang out with our friends until then. As that time approaches, we have to start packing everything up. Cleanup is quick because most of the food and drink is usually gone. We take the trash to the trashcan and everything else is thrown into the SUV, locked up, and off to a Devils' victory we go!

Here are some potential tailgate themes and the food that goes with them. For many of the more authentic themes, you will be required to prepare the food before getting out to the parking lot and just warming it on the grill once you get there. My suggestion is to use the disposable aluminum baking trays available at every grocery store. They are easy to cart around, fit on a standard grill nicely, and you just throw them away when you are done with them.

Cajun Tailgate (prepare food before and warm on grill, except chicken breasts):

- Catfish nuggets

- Jambalaya

- Cajun chicken breasts (begin marinating night before)

- Hurricanes

Thanksgiving Tailgate (prepare food before and warm on turkey fryer flame, except the turkey, of course):

- Fried turkey (bring the turkey fryer to the parking lot – leave time to cool!)

- Mashed potatoes

- Green beans

- Stuffing

All-American Tailgate (everything prepared at the tailgate, except pre-boil brats in beer):

- Hot dogs

- Brats

- Chicken breasts (marinate before, if desired)

- Hamburgers

- Steaks

- Potato/pasta salad

- Chips & dips

- Macrobrew

I'm not sure why more people don't tailgate at ASU games, especially late in the season when the weather is beautiful. There are plenty of great spots within easy walking distance to the stadium and it really adds to the atmosphere of the college football experience. I hope you have enjoyed a quick look into our "Tailgating World" and hope to see you all out at the games….EARLY!!!!! GO DEVILS!!! GO GOLD!!!

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