You’ve got your list … I’ve got mine. They may not be the same but we can probably agree that having a list is the ignition switch for making sure your tailgate is complete and maybe even perfect. These lists don’t just get made on a whim. They are usually the result of many years of a trial and error approach to tailgating. But done right, I say the art of a “professional” tailgate is a beauty to behold.
How do you tell the pro from the amateur? Well, there are some staple crops that make a tailgate list a sure bet for creating a thing of beauty versus a dumping of things from the trunk. Most important to me are:
- You gotta have a great dip. How do you know that your dip is truly great? At some moment, you have three or more people at the dish with a chip in hand, waiting their turn. If you don’t, your dip ain’t great … period. The only exception to that is if you have tailgaters talking about how great that dip WAS … then your dip was great, you just didn’t bring enough!
- You gotta have enough chairs. If you want your tailgaters to stay with you through the tailgate, they gotta have chairs. Otherwise, you’re a waypoint on to the next thing down the parking lot. But you can’t bring enough chairs for everyone. So, the best tailgaters get the word out for their crew to bring their own chairs. It becomes the perfect answer to the question, “What can we bring?”.
- You gotta have the best rain protection around. Some of the best tailgates I’ve been at were folks hunkered under a well-constructed awning, tailgating away, watching those poor souls trying to make sitting in a car look enjoyable.
- You gotta have a location or a means for easy access to the “facilities”. If your tailgate is rockin’, people are gonna have to take pit stops. With a poorly located tailgate, the potty break is an opportunity for the professional tailgater to poach your “gaters”. Can’t have that. Keep your doggies in your corral. Know where the “facilities” are, get close, or bring one in your tailgatin’ vehicle (TigerTailgate has one on board!)
- You gotta have a great dip. Oh, did I mention that before? So what … it’s that important.
Now, you might have thought I would have given you a grocery list of what makes a perfect tailgate. It ain’t so. You can make anything work, as far as menus go. It just has to be supported by the fundamental must haves listed above.
And the last, most important thing that makes a tailgate perfect? That’s easy … you gotta have a passion for why you’re there. A tailgate is a celebration. The best celebrations are those that everyone is excited about the reason for being there. At TigetTailgate, that would be the Tigers! Wear your colors, your cute souvenirs – anything, but make sure everyone knows what you’re celebrating!
Now, I’m interested in your thoughts. What makes a tailgate perfect?
LINDA’s SAUSAGE CHEESE TAILGATE DIP
So, you gotta have a great dip, huh? Well the very best is Linda’s Sausage Cheese Tailgate Dip. Everyone falls in love and asks for the recipe. They request it be made for all events.
Just about everyone has some version of this dip. I’ve seen it made with:
- Sausage, hamburger, chili or taco meat
- Velveeta cheese or cream cheese (or both, as I do)
- Rotel Tomatoes or Salsa
- Veggies like cilantro, onions, peppers, and broccoli (if you even want to attempt to make your dip healthy)
But below is the very best version of the recipe. Our “great dip” recipe will definitely be served at the season opening TigerTailgate, Princeton @ Lehigh on September 15th, 2012.
Enjoy & Go Tigers!
LINDA’S SAUSAGE CHEESE PARTY DIP
- 1 pkg (16 oz) Jimmy Dean Regular Flavor Pork Sausage Roll
- 1 pkg (16 oz) Velveeta Cheese, cubed
- 1 sm pkg (4 oz) Cream Cheese, cubed
- 1 can (10 oz) RoTel Hot Diced Tomatoes & Habaneros
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh Cilantro
- Fritos and/or Tortilla Chips for serving
Brown the sausage in a skillet. Cut the Velveeta and cream cheese into cubes. Put cheese into Crock Pot’s ceramic insert and melt in microwave for 2 minutes. Add can of RoTel and browned sausage to the melted cheese and stir. Microwave another minute. Add the fresh cilantro and stir until well mixed and melted. Place ceramic insert back into the Lil’ Dipper Crock Pot and keep warm on low. Serve with Fritos. Makes 1 1/2 quarts.