Mercer: First Game Tailgate Ideas

Meredith Mercer is back with some opening day ideas for Gamecock tailgaters ...

Hope everyone had a great summer and gearing up for a great football and tailgating season. I plan to make several tailgating stops Thursday afternoon before landing at my final destination, the GamecockNation Tailgate Party. What a great time we will all have and I hope you have been planning and remembering my tips from last season. I have a new feature, Meredith's Tailgating Checklist. I am all about organization and having lists, so I had to create a template to ensure you all are provided with the proper tools to do you job: pull off the best tailgating extravaganza ever.

When planning your tailgating feast, do not focus all of your energy on the food, table and centerpiece. I know…I can't believe I am saying this either...make sure tailgating entertainment is not forgotten. It is paramount to success on the big day and can only make your affaire a hit. From Russ Perry's Gamecock Nation Game Day Radio show (WVOC-AM 56) to the TV sports broadcasts, make sure your guest are receiving all the pre-game information that you know they desire. So don't forget the radio and/or TV and satellite dish. I promise your guest will love you for this.

Are you struggling with your menu for Thursday? Most serious tailgaters I consulted have plans to arrive around lunch time to start the day's event. That includes me as well. I would recommend two menus: early afternoon munchies and a late afternoon meal. Through the Barbie in the back of your SUV and whip up a tasty grilled entree. I am recommending "Game Day Beer Chicken". This easy recipe requires little preparation resulting in a delicious entrée your guest will adore.

Game Day Chicken

  1. 1 whole chicken
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil (basil infused olive oil is excellent)
  3. Your favorite poultry season to taste (I like lemon pepper or garlic pepper)
  4. 1 (12 fluid ounce) can beer
1. Preheat gas grill to medium heat (325 degrees F - 350 degrees F). Remove giblets from chicken cavity. Rinse chicken inside and out and pat dry. Rub surface of chicken with basil infused olive oil. Rub cavity with 1 tablespoon seasoning. Sprinkle remaining seasoning evenly over surface of chicken. Step 1 can be done at home so the bird can be transported to your tailgating location for cooking.
2. Remove about 2 ounces beer and poke 2 holes in top of can. Hold chicken upright (legs pointing down) and insert opened beer can into cavity. Stand chicken in upright position in center of grill. Position legs to best support chicken; (like a tripod). Close grill lid.
3. Grill chicken 55 minutes or until internal temperature of breast reaches 170 degrees F. and thigh is 180 degrees F. Remove chicken from can before serving.

* If using a charcoal grill, use indirect medium heat.

This summer my son and I attend the Lexington County Peach Festival in Gilbert, SC. This festival is a family tradition for us every 4th of July and a great family fun. Along with plenty of area peaches, folks were sharing recipes. I received a recipe on the back of one of the political candidate's information sheets and it is a home run. Karen Floyd, candidate for State Superintendent of Education, shared the Floyd Family Peach Salsa recipe. This compliments the grilled chicken above:

Floyd Family Peach Salsa

  1. 2 large peaches peeled and chopped (Can find local late varieties in the Lexington and Edgefield County areas)
  2. 2 Cups of diced tomatoes
  3. ¼ Cup finely chopped red peppers
  4. 1 Small Vidalia onion finely chopped
  5. 1 Jalapeno pepper seeded and finely chopped
  6. 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
  7. 1 Tablespoon of chopped parsley
  8. ¼ Teaspoon of salt
Mix the above ingredients and serve with Tortilla chips. Excellent, easy and can be made ahead of time!

On a recent trip to the Oregon wine country, I sampled the most divine Pinot Noir's. Thursday's Pic of the Week is influenced by that experience. The Rex Hill Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley is superb. I have confirmed there are plans to carry this wine with one of the local beverage retailers in the Columbia area.

Absolut Cock Drop

Are you looking for a special drink to kick off the season? What about my "Absolut® Cock Drop". This refreshing lemony beverage is thirst-quenching on a hot day and is definitely a "Chick drink". Watch out girls, it is potent so ensure you limit your consumption. As always, the school colors are reflected in this cocktail of the day! I am so thankful for grenadine!

  1. 1 ½ oz Absolut® Citron Vodka
  2. 1 Teaspoon sugar
  3. ¼ Lemon
  4. Splash of Grenadine
Slice the 1/4 lemon into two separate wedges. Place in a cocktail shaker half-filled with ice cubes. Pour the Absolut® Citron into the shaker, and add one teaspoon of sugar and a splash of grenadine for color. Shake vigorously. Strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon twist, and serve.

Now for the finale…if beer is the beverage of choice, I must recommend Yueungling Lager. I was happy to discover it also comes in a light variety too for the calorie conscious Gamecock. Yueungling is produced by America's Oldest Brewery in Pottsville, PA.

If you would like for me to visit your tailgate party, I would love to snap a picture of your spread and share it with the entire GamecockNation.

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