We’re just over 48 hours from the 2014 spring game and football fans in the bluegrass should all be about to burst at the seams. Quarterback competitions, wide-open offenses, vicious defenses and other storylines will probably gather most of the headlines for the next week or so, but I’m here today to talk about something equally s important.
Now many of you may be saying “I know full and damn well how to tailgate” and the truth is that many of you are right. However, some folks may not be sure exactly how to go about their pre-game party on Saturday, so I’m here to help guide you to a great time.
LOCATION IS EVERYTHING
The spring game’s first-come, first-served policy on parking at the stadium offers a unique opportunity for folks to get a prime spot without those pricey and difficult to obtain parking passes, So rather than posting up in your usual spot that may be miles from the stadium in some cases, you can potentially get one of those prime pieces of game day real estate at absolutely no cost for one of the most exciting spectacles of the offseason. The exact location for you might vary though. Some will prefer a spot with plenty of grass for tent set-ups and such, and others will prefer a spot with plenty of blacktop to set up their grill right at their vehicle. Neither is wrong or right, but remember that the closer to the stadium you get, the more neighbors you’re likely to have. If privacy is what you’re looking for and some extra leg room means something to you, focus on setting up in front of the stadium towards Nicholasville Rd/Limestone or behind the stadium towards the baseball diamonds. If you want a party with lots of other fans around, scope out a spot in the shadows of the stadium where the masses are likely to be located.
GRILLING FOR SUCCESS
If there’s one tool every tailgater needs, it’s a solid cooking device. Many will bring simple charcoal grills for easy transportation and set up, but cooking on a charcoal grill does take some skill and it can be more time consuming than other options. Propane grills tend to be easier to use but are often bigger and require more extravagant set-ups than other options. The smoker is always a winner at tailgates but this season brings a new obstacle. With tailgating opening up at 8:00 AM and the game kicking off at 3:00 PM, many traditional smokers won’t have an ideal amount of time to get that pork shoulder as tender as you’d want it and many smokers can be a pain to load and unload due to weight. While everyone loves fried food and few things can top fresh-out-the-basket French fries, skip the deep fryers due to no power outlets being available and the dangers of hot grease sitting right in the way of errant footballs being tossed. Whatever option you choose, all are likely to provide an awesome meal for your party with the right food choices and attention.
THE MEAT OF THE MATTER
We’re not in California here, so take your hippie soy burgers and feed them to your dog. Tailgating is about meat, and real meat that used to be alive, not ground up beans and vegetables processed into a burger-like substance. Your real issue will be deciding between the tailgating staples and something a little more interesting. Burgers and hot dogs have been at tailgates since the very beginning, and for good reason. They’re almost universally liked and preparation and transportation are as simple as it gets. A solid pulled pork option will rarely disappoint your crew and it really isn’t difficult to prepare. Grilled chicken and fish can be great options as well, but chicken does take a while longer to cook and fish can fall apart, so venture there only if you’re experienced with these options.