Is it Football season yet? It might be a few months away, but this past weekend it sure felt like it. I threw my own “tailgate”.
This was more of a mock tailgate. We were in a parking lot, but instead of outside of a stadium, I was outside my apartment building. Everyone in attendance was an alumni of a different school, but we all wore red and blue. Then there was the food. The food was everything and more that you would want to see at a tailgate. The menu and cooking techniques embodied what I saw while on the road tailgating last fall. The only difference with this food was that I was filming and shooting the entire process. This was a great opportunity to get friends together and enjoy a nice great weather, but more importantly, I was filming a video to include in my tailgating book proposal. So here is what my tailgate had. All the foods you see will be in the book and were inspired by what I saw on the road last fall.
First a little photo tip. I tried to pick as shady a location as I could, but there was still some direct sunlight that I couldn’t avoid. Here is what the scene looked like in direct sun.
To diffuse the entire table, I was going to need a large diffusion source. This is when it helps to have friends around.
There were plenty of cocktails and drinks like Orangeade and Raspberry Lemonade. Above might look like regular lemons, but they are actually citrus shaped jello shots!
They also came in orange flavor!
On the grill there were Pimento Cheese Sliders. I was shooting video the majority of the time, so I forgot to take stills of the grilled oysters and mini funnel cake that were also there. But the star of the tailgate was the crawfish boil!
When shopping for ingredients, I went to Clean Catch to get the live oysters and I saw that they had live crawfish in. A few years ago, I went to a crawfish boil in Austin, TX, and had a blast! I had fun at my fist crawfish boil, so why not bring them to my tailgate!. Crawfish season is usually from late February to the end of June, so they weren’t at any fall tailgates, but the seafood boil was a very popular tailgating tradition. With a seafood boil you can use whatever shellfish you like.
I saw crabs at LSU
A combination of crabs and shrimp in Jacksonville..
and more shrimp at Auburn..
With the variety of seafood that you can use, crawfish are a fine substitute.
When cooking them, you want to make sure that they are alive. If some have died in transit, then do not add them to the pot.
Your boil will have potatoes, corn, sausage and your seafood of choice. I will include a recipe at the bottom, but when everything is done you just spread it out on the table and start eating.
Serve with some cocktail or hot sauce. The seafood “boil” is great for tailgating or any large outdoor party. You can easily feed a large group of people.
Standing around a table, and picking apart your shell fish is a both a meal and an experience for your guests.
Here is the seafood boil recipe. There will be some additional steps with live seafood and you can scale teh ingredioents up or down based on your group’s taste, but this is a good outline to go from. I used 1 1/2 lbs crawfish as my seafood.
3 gallons water (will vary depending on your container, you want your pot to be about half full)
6 lemons halved
1 1/4 cup crab boil seasoning ( like Bay seasoning )
3 lbs cleaned new red potatoes
2 lbs hot smoked sausage (cut into 1 1/2 inch segments)
10 ears of corn cut into ( cut into thirds)
Seafood of your choice
I suggest cooking this in a large steel pot that has a strainer basket over a single propane burner. The basket will allow for the contents of the boil to be removed safely and easily. CAUTION when using a propane burner take care that this is set up on level ground away from where children may be playing. When water is hot or flame is on, make sure competent adult is watching the
pot to prevent someone from accidentally knocking it over. The key to a successful boil is to make sure you cook each ingredient in order and for the right amount of time. SO PAY ATTENTION TO the order you add things. DO NOT just put everything in at once. The potatoes will take the longest to cook so you want to start with them.
Insert the strainer basket into your metal pot. Fill pot half way with water, add seasoning and lemons. You don’t want to over fill, this will cause your water to spill over when adding your ingredients. You can test the exact amount of water you need by putting all of your potatoes, corn, and sausage into the basket and then filling with water before cooking, but generally filling the container about 1/2 t0 2/3 of the way full works.
Bring to a boil. Add potatoes. Cook for 10-15 minutes minutes. Add sausage. Cook for 5 more minutes. Add corn and stir. Cook for 5 more minutes. If you have a large enough pot, you can add your seafood and cook it for 1-5 minutes until done. Cooking time will depend on what type of seafood you use.
If you don’t have room for your seafood, another option is to cook the potatoes, sausage, and corn as described above, remove from pot, and then cook the seafood separately. I have seen it done both ways and the decision is yours.
To serve make sure you have a long plastic lined table. Removes strainer basket with boil contents from the pot and drain excess water back into pot. Spread the drained boil contents evenly over the plastic surface. Have plenty of lemon slices, salt, pepper, and hot sauce for your guests.
Here is a Crawfish Boil recipe that explains the additional steps necessary when using live crawfish.
One day I will share with you the video content from this “tailgate” so you cans see the additional foods that we had.
It has been almost 6 months since I finished my 3 month tailgating tour, so it was a lot of fun to be at one again. Even though there was not actual football to go and watch, having everyone dressed up surrounded outside with great food it felt just like a tailgate. After this weekend, I plan on doing a few more of these “mock” tailgates this spring and summer. This weekend reminded me of how much fun outdoor eating and entertaining is! It leaves me with one question, Is it football season yet?