It's Time To Tailgate! Get Ready For The Bulls!

Did you see me Saturday? What about my tailgating spread? Well believe it, ESPN came by my party and results are in… WE dominated the Dawg competition on the entertaining field. I hope you took my advice last week and made your tailgating experience a memorable one. I told you presentation was important and see how it paid off! Meredith's spread on national TV. I not only entertained die-hard Gamecocks ...

... I even had a few Bulldawgs swilling down "Cocky Cosmos". This drink was a hit! Some are saying it is now a tailgating tradition.

Now this week we are up against South Florida. Who are they? Do they know how to tailgate? I guess we will see this Saturday evening leading up to the battle between our Gamecocks and the Bulls. Without a doubt, the Bulls have already heard about the whippin' we put on the Dawgs when we dominated them in the tailgating competition! They better be ready on the field as well as off the field to compete against us in the party arena. I foresee success for the Gamecocks with both match-ups.

Are you struggling this week to pull the tailgating spread together? Are you tempted to do the unthinkable, a bucket of chicken and biscuits? Although the party should always take precedence over any other obligations, there are instances when you need assistance because time is limited. I have your Tailgating on the Go solution…. Belly's Southern Pride Bar-B-Q of Lexington. Tom and Gloria Shealy cook-up the best ribs this Gamecock Gourmet has ever tasted. The smokey flavor coupled with a choice of mustard, vinegar or ketchup based sauces are spectacular! Now that the pressure is off to find a delectable Main Event, you can spend your time giving the party a personal flair with a side dish. How about my "Lip-Smacking" Cornbread Salad? This Mercer family favorite is always a hit. To add to the presentation of your table, ensure that a large glass pedestal styled dish is utilized. The layered effect and color contrast of the corn, green and red bell peppers, cheddar cheese and red onions is a "home run" according to the Rooster!

To round out the on the Go menu, replace your desert item with a COCKtini. This decadent treat is simple, yet gives an elegant appearance to your down-home tailgating theme.

If you chose to celebrate the victory over the Bulls early or wait until after we beat them, a glass of red wine will complement the Southern carte du jour. My pick of the week is Red Truck, bottled by Cline Cellars of Sonoma California. This intermingling of reds (or as I like to say, Garnets) entices the palette. And if you are looking for a Cocky-spirited wine, I begrudgingly recommend the French Le Coq Rouge 2002. This easy on the purse wine is actually very enjoyable, as difficult as it is for me to admit the French do anything well, and adds to the landscape of the tailgate table or beverage station. The bottle's label is simplistic yet bold with a Rooster crowing as if just defeating its prey. Now doesn't that sound like our Gamecocks when they cream the Bulls?

Have you made your centerpiece selection? Last week I suggested garnet mums. Why not invest in a centerpiece that can be used more than once. Becky Peake of Elgin is truly an artisan. She designed a lovely arrangement for me sporting a rooster right in the center. Her use of dried garnet and midnight fronds give an allusion of Gamecock feathers. Rooster has already tried to make this arrangement part of his collection, but I am keeping it in my secured Gamecock Room. If it is MIA, we'll all know who the responsible party is!

Good luck this weekend with making your tailgating plans, as I am certain it will be lovely! If you have entertaining ideas or recipes, please email them to me at I would love to incorporate your tailgating traditions in future articles.

"Lip-Smacking" Cornbread Salad
1 box of Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix
1 4 oz can of green chilis
2 cans of pinto beans, drained
2 cans of shoe peg corn, drained
2 bell peppers chopped, one green and one red
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 double pack of dry ranch dressing
8 oz sour cream
1 cup of mayonnaise (I only use Hellmann's)
2 ½ cups of sharp cheddar cheese, grated

Prepare and bake corn muffin/cornbread mix as directed adding green chilis to the mixture. Allow cornbread to cool and set aside. Combine ranch dressing, sour cream and mayonnaise until blended. Place in refrigerator. Once cornbread has cooled, crumble ½ and place in the bottom of your container. Layer ingredients in the following order:
  • · Beans
  • · Onions
  • · Corn
  • · Peppers
  • · Cheese (ensure ½ cups is reserved for garnish)
  • · Ranch dressing mixture
  • · Crumbled Cornbread
Repeat again topping off with ranch dressing mixture and garnishing with cheese. Place in refrigerator until ready to serve.

2 ½ oz. vanilla flavored vodka, chilled
1 oz. white crème de cacao

Coat rim of martini glass with chocolate syrup. Place vodka and liqueur in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain. Delicious!

And here is what last week's layout looked like for the Georgia game. We were on ESPN! Notice the descriptions above illustrated below:

Meredith Mercer's Tailgating

Meredith Mercer's Layout

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