Throw The Perfect NFL Opening Day Tailgate BBQ

Get your tailgate on!Ladies… you knew it was on its way.  Your man has been talking about Brett Favre again.  He has been trying to get all those chores done you have been bugging him about since Spring.  He has been shining his **Insert favorite team name here** beer mug and brushing off the dust that has settled on his favorite “lucky” cap.

Football is here.  Like it or not.

Personally… I like it.  🙂  But I’m a dude.

If you are one of the lucky ones that gets to hit up the first game of the season and spend some time tailgating – then you can use these tips for your tailgating (that I am sure you will be doing).  If you are like the rest of us and are forced to watch the opening week on TV, then you can use these tips when your entertaining your friends with an Opening Day BBQ SPECTACULAR! haha  or something like that. 😉

So let us get into the BBQ goodness and we will break it into two sections…

The Opening Day Tailgate BBQ & The Opening Day Stay At Home BBQ, sound fair?  Let’s begin.

The Opening Day Tailgate BBQ

Your buds scored the top notch tickets to opening day… so your left to throw the perfect opening day tailgate bar-b-que for the team.  Holding up your end of the bargain might take a bit more effort than a few clicks of the mouse on Ticket – you got screwed on this deal. 

Oh well… might as well make the best of it.  At least when your looking around and the whole gang is pounding beers and tearin’ up some killer ribs – everyone will remember the tailgating just as much as the game.   Seriously, how many times does this come up…

“Dude, do you remember when we were at the game and Brett Favre threw that incomplete pass?”

And then think about how many times things like this come up…

“Oh man, I remember sitting out in the parking lot getting drunk before the game and Bill cooked these killer ribs that fell off the bone.  It was CLASSIC.”

Yup – so don’t screw it up… make it classic, not plastic.

So what are the ingredients to an awesome NFL Opening Day BBQ?  Well a few key things stick out as obvious… so we will touch on that first.

If you are tailgating, you have to take in account that whatever you are making… needs to be user-friendly.  What does that mean?  You should be able to eat it with your hands.  You don’t want to have forks & knives and all that crap to eat some good food, so you want to keep it simple.  Does that mean you can’t have awesome food… no way.

Also, you have to take in account how much time you are going to be there prior to kickoff – so honestly, if we are talking about an opening day tailgating affair… we are talking an all day event right?  Yup.  So if you have 8 hours or so… why not go all the way and smoke a brisket and some ribs… put a beer can chicken on… something a little more fancy than hamburgers & hot dogs.

If you don’t have much time, then by all means – hamburgers, hot dogs and a few other things will suffice – just use these tips to kick if up a few notches and everyone will be praising your tailgating skills by the time you all get cut off in the 3rd quarter. 

By keeping those couple of things in mind, we can now get to the good stuff.  The food.  We will break it up into two sections here, 4 hours or less, and 4 hours or more.  That way you can use these guidelines to help you out in your tailgating adventures.

4 Hours Or Less

So you dont’ have as much time as you would like, but 4 hours is enough time to get some good food and a good buzz going on, so don’t worry – you will still be the talk of the 2008/2009 NFL season.  You just have to decide what your friends like the best and roll with it.  Automatically you are forced to a more simple menu, but that isn’t a bad thing.  You can spend more time drinking and getting into fights with rival fans… not really.  Sorta.

Here are some quick options to consider for your tailgate gathering…

Beer Can Chicken – Chicken cooks fast, you can really do this in about 3 hours and come away with a good product.  Beer can chicken is pretty forgiving because it stays pretty juicy because of the beer that you have placed firmly up that chicken’s backside.  Not to mention the fact that people love when you incorporate beer with anything.  Beer can chicken is a simple and cost effective way to get some “WOW” out of your tailgating experience.  You can purchase small chickens for about 3-4 bucks and throw a couple on and have them ready in more than enough time to keep everyone happy.  No flipping, nothing to do really – just put them on and let them smoke/cook.  When you cut into that chicken and everyone is tearing them up… your efforts will be rewarded.  Easy-peasy.

Chicken Legs – I know… another chicken dish.  Dude, don’t freak out on me.  I am not the biggest chicken fan either, but these things are easy and hit home with forkless folks.  You can purchase a chicken leg holder (which I suggest) and make this effortless.  No flipping or turning like you always have to do with chicken to keep it from burning.  You just dangle these guys over the fire and they cook perfectly.  You can hit them with a rub prior to throwing them on the grill and they will be seasoned and ready to eat by the time the 3rd hour comes.  You can hit them with bbq sauce if your into that and make them stand out a bit more.  Either way, you will have an easy way to make an impact at your tailgate party.

Sausage/Brats – Have you ever met a guy/gal that didn’t like lips, eyeballs and buttholes?  haha – only kidding.  Kinda of.  Sausage is an easy food to cook and you can snack on them all freakin’ day while the other stuff is getting ready.  If you are one that likes to bathe the brats/sausage in beer (once again you can’t go wrong with adding beer to a dish when your tailgating) then by all mean, get to bathing.  Beer will add a nice flavor as they sit on the fire – then you can pull them out and give them that flame kiss right before they are eaten.  Awesome.  Just don’t forget…  never fork/stick your sausages, always use tongs.  Follow the man laws!

Burgers (of course) –  You can’t go wrong with some beef formed into patties and served on a bun.  Can you?  Of course you can.  If you just serve up your boring backyard “bbq” burgers… you will not be remembered for your skills but your lack of.  This is your chance to be a little creative.  Think about it, NFL Opening Day only comes once a year… shouldn’t these burgers be special to mark the occasion?  Yes… they should.  So make inside out burgers (bacon & cheese in the middle) or buy some onion buns, or jalapeno bread and some top notch cheese.  Do something besides slapping a burger patty on the grill and calling it a burger.  Boooo to your boring burgers.  Do more, it is the least you can do.

Grilled Shrimp are great for a tailgate party.Grilled Shrimp – Oh man… do you want to be the talk of the 2008/2009 NFL Football Season?  Make some grilled shrimp for the gang at your tailgating party.  They take hardly anytime, however the taste and appearance will have folks calling you Iron Chef Morimoto by the end of the day.  Fair warning:  when you start grilling shrimp you will suddenly have a lot more people gathered around your tailgate since there is now a flaming show of skills and the smell of garlicy/cilantro-y goodness billowing out of your area.  People will not stay away.  Make them bring beer at least.

Snacks – Ever heard of armadillo eggs?  Not the pregnant armadillo kind – but the bacon wrapped, cheese stuff jalapenos?  Those armadillo eggs.  They are easy and we so just happen to have a walk through on how to prepare armadillo eggsThese are a hit because they can be spicy, they can be ready in 10 minutes and you can eat them ALL FREAKIN’ DAY. 😉  And they make you drink more beer.  haha  They are the perfect snack while other food is prepared, they can be made the day before and just thrown on the grill as needed.  Perfect, to say the least.  Sausage is also a perfect snack as well, as mentioned above – if you just throw it on the grill you can bypass the beer bath and be eating them in 15 mins tops.  If you grilled some shrimp it can be used as a snack food as well, since it takes not time to prepare.  Oh… and the ultimate snack… cold beer.  😉

4 Hours of More

You showed up with plenty of time to talk trash to your opponents, get drunk as a skunk and actually bbq some meat while you wait for the first game of the NFL season.  Good for you.  You do nothing half ass, why start today?  So you have a lot more options, however you could be there long enough to eat a few times and skip out on that expensive stadium food.

Here are just a few choices you have with more than 4 hours on your hands…

Pork Ribs – The staple for any BBQ and of course, you can eat them with your hands.  Probably my favorite eating-with-my-hands-food, how about you?  We have a very detailed walk through on how to prepare the perfect bbq pork ribs and so you can check that out and be a professional in no time.  Being a champion rib master is something that people will talk about for years to come… another warning on this one though: If you do a good job, you will be doing this all the damn time, like it or not.  And since you are a rib pimp, you will love the fact that you have to… just so you can hear the praises after it is all said and done.  Ribs can take you about 4-6 hours or longer depending how much smoke you want to inject in these bad boys, so you should be good to go with an 8 hours tailgate shift.

Beef Brisket – Oh yeah, when you pull out a chunk of beef that looks the size of a your head – people pay attention.  This one will take you a good 6-8 hours, so be sure you have the time… you don’t want to screw this one up.  Brisket is like the grand-father of bbq and if you make a simple mistake on time, you will be remembered for how bad your food was, instead of how good it was.  Everyone has their own recipe for beef brisket, however mine is simple.  Take some rib rub (of your choice) and get it rubbed nice and thick.  Then cut up an onion and add a stick or two of butter.  Wrap the whole thing in foil and don’t look at it for at least 4 hours.  It will hiss and bubble and pop, but don’t look.  Then open it up and inject as much of the juice back into the brisket.  Then flip the guy over and let it cook again checking it every hour.  When you can basically pull it apart, your in good shape.  You can make burritos with it, so you don’t have to use your hands to eat it.  Remember – HANDS ONLY!

Beer Can Chicken – Of course you can still go with the beer can chicken, just make sure you put it on about 2-3 hours before your ready to eat.  If your doing a brisket or ribs, don’t put it on right away… duh.  Wait until you have about 3 hours left and then stick it on.  This also can go right into burritos with brisket.  Ok… let me tell you my secret.  I don’t tell a lot of secrets.

****Special Double Danger Secret ***

Barbeque all of the following: brisket, ribs, sausage (on the grill, no beer bath) & chicken (beer can).  After doing so and everything is coming off.  Take a little of everything.  Chop your brisket up with a big knife, do the same with some ribs – just take them off the bone first… of course.  Do the same with sausage & chicken as well.  After doing so, mix  them all together.  Add just a tiny bit of bbq sauce, not a lot – just enough to hold things together a bit.  Then crank out burritos for you and your pals until its all gone.  Talk about killer.  In fact, it is Double Danger’s Super Secret Killer BBQ Burrito.  Tell your friends.  You won’t be sorry.  If you don’t have all the ingredients, then use what you have.  You will not be let down.

Snacks – Sausage, Armadillo Eggs and Shrimp can all be done with this much time as well, just look above for what was said about all of that.  You can do anything listed above in the “4 Hours or Less” section – because you have LOTS of time.  Be sure to try the armadillo eggs, they are top notch.  And beer of course.  😉

Now that we have covered the lucky folks that will be attending the game and having an actual tailgate party, we can move on to the rest of us that have to watch the game on TV.  Booooooo.

The Opening Day Stay At Home BBQ 

If there is a positive to not being able to attend the game is the fact that you can go all out with your backyard bash, since you have all the time in the world.  You can polish your big screen, get your seating all perfect so that no one has to miss a play no matter where they are sitting and you can get the beer chilling a day in advance.  No one said just because you have to watch the game on TV it has to be boring.  You can make up for not being at the game with some AWESOME BBQ.

So let us first go over how the rules change compared to a tailgate bbq.  Obviously, utensils are back into play.  Of course eating with your hands is much more fun, but there will likely be women around and they frown when you are wiping your hands on your pant leg and end up elbow deep in a pile of ribs.  That is ok, some things still have to be hand-friendly – just now you can have a knife.  We all know how fun knives are right? 🙂

Also, time is no issue.  You have all freakin’ week to get ready… no time crunch at all.  If you wanted to do duck con feit or beef wellington, hell – get after it, you have time.  😉  Not that you would choose that for a bunch of drunken NFL-crazed idiots – but you get the point: Time is not an issue.

Let’s get to some menu options for your opening day stay at home bbq…

Pork Ribs – Easy, effective and across the board a favorite of NFL fans.  That is based on a poll I did with my friends of course,  all agreed they are kickass.  😉  Very scientific.  Use our perfect pork ribs recipe & walk through and have no worries that you will be the talk of the town when it comes to this year’s stay-at-home opening day bbq.  You probably want to have these on the fire for about 4-6 hours if you can, so make sure to allot for that in your schedule.

Steaks – Oh yeah, you have knives and forks – so steaks is a no brainer.  Don’t know how to cook a steak to perfection?  That is ok,  we have you covered.  If you are a fan of grilling – this is a pretty fast way to get some good grillin’ done.  Steak is a favorite, but can be a bit pricey in terms of meats.  Be sure to buy in bulk if you can, get your butcher to half your normal sized steaks if you can – people can always go back and get more, but give them too big of portions and they leave your money sitting on the plate!  Beer goes well with these badboys.

Grilled Shrimp – How about a little surf & turf?  Nothing compliments a steak better than some seafood, so how about some grilled shrimp to dress up that steak a bit?  Awesome.  These guys are easy and can be done in a matter of minutes – so these are a no-brainer in my book.  Also, if you have a bunch of snackers at the party, throw these on with some of your other snacks have keep people from picking at your bbq.

Chicken, Chicken & More Chicken – Chicken legs, beer can chicken or chicken breasts all can be done easily and quickly compared to your ribs & briskets – so why not put a few on for the lighter eaters in the group.  As mentioned before in this article, beer can chicken is easy and you can NAIL IT on your first try.  It stays WAY moist and people love when food is cooked with beer.  I dunno why.  Chicken legs, if you have a holder are soooo easy you will be adding them to all your menus.  If you do breasts just make sure you are flipping them from time to time keeping them from gettin’ burned.

Sausage/Brats – Another great snack food and they can be constantly put on and taken off to eat as needed.  We like to make sausage wraps with tortillas here in Texas, perhaps you could try the same with your crew of NFL drunks.  Try some exotic sausages with some different flavors for a change of pace.  Jalapeno sausage or cheese & jalapeno are all great ideas.  Either way, sit back and enjoy these MSG-laden links – they are well worth the short time they take to be grilled.

Hamburgers – You don’t have to have the same old boring burgers as you always do.  Remember you have time to make these excellent, so take advantage of it.  Boring burgers are a thing of the past.  Kick it up with some fresh jalapenos or a nice alvacado mayo to top them with.  Get some decent buns that set your burgers apart from your neighbors.  Try some bison or even some venison meat to change it up a little.  You can do patty melts or inside out burgers, just anything to break the monotany of the boring burger.

Sides – Since your NFL opening day bbq is at home, you have the option for side dishes.  If you were sitting on the back of a tailgate or in your accordian style chair… without utensils… sides (other than more meat) are really not an option.  But, we aren’t sitting at the game in the parking lot, so we don’t have to worry about it.  BBQ side dishes are easy.  How about armadillo eggs for snacks & sides?  Or maybe some sort of potato (we like to cut them up into small chunks, put oil & season them – then put them on the grill in foil and later top them with cheese, bacon and chives – mmmMMmm) or perhaps some grilled veggies to compliment that steak.  Now we are grillin’ eh?  Also, you can throw some peaches on the grill after everyone has eaten and have a badass little dessert compliments of the grill as well.  Add some ice cream and you have girly little treat that even the ladies will talk about for seasons to come.

Now you have options for both a Game Day Tailgate BBQ or a Game Day Backyard (Stay At Home) BBQ.  You have no excuses (other than laziness in general) to not have some friends over this weekend and murder out some bbq for everyone to enjoy.  Expect everyone to have a good time and expect everyone to want you to do it again and again this football season. 

Be sure to find the right beer by checking in over at Fantasy Football Goat to set your NFL Opening Day Celebration a drunken good time.  Beer is a vital part in a great opening day bbq, so don’t leave it out.  Corey does all the hard work for you by suggesting the best beer for a succesfull opening dayBeer suggestions?  SIGN ME UP.

Also, if you like what you read here and want to share with the masses, feel free to Digg it hereMixx it here.  Be sure to also subscribe to our RSS feed here at Double Danger for more barbeque tips.  If you have any other suggestions or anything to add >> leave us a comment already!  Thanks and have a killer opening day!

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