There is a briskness in the air, the leaves are starting to turn colors and football season has kicked off; it’s hard to believe it’s already fall. Although Colorado isn’t necessarily on the same level as the southern College Football scene, we can hold our own when it comes to firing up the grill on gameday. We were even able to convince the local breweries to sell microbrews in cans so we can drink our favorites on game day.
As a Colorado State University Alumni, one of the biggest games (and tailgates) of the year takes place in Denver when the CSU Rams meet the CU Buffs on neutral ground in Denver. No matter the outcome of the game (we did lose this year, not that I am bitter…) a good tailgate is the key to starting the game right.
Start with a Good Offense – Before Game Day
Decide what you’d like to serve and order your grilling meats from Pfaelzer Brothers at least one week before game day. I love a good hamburger, so for our tailgate I am using Pfaelzer Brothers’ Gourmet Ultimate Burgers.
The burgers will arrive in a secure sealed cooler, packed with dry ice to ensure everything stays frozen until you are ready to use. Each patty is individually wrapped so it’s easy to travel and pack on the day of the game. [EXTRA POINT: Need an extra cooler for game day? Reuse the shipping container!]
Make a plan of attack for parking. If attending a game at a major stadium, try to purchase a parking pass in advance so make sure that you have great access and aren’t fighting the crowds as you head in on game day. The closer you park, the more time you can spend on tailgating!
Create a shopping list of things you game pick up before the game. There’s no reason to be shopping the morning of the game, so grab utensils, paper plates, drinks and sides a few days in advance.
Load up the car with everything that doesn’t need to stay cold the night before so you can just fill up the cooler and get on the road early.
Defend Your End Zone – Game Day
Like football, tailgating can be competitive. Finding the perfect spot to park and ensuring you have enough room for the cars meeting you can be tricky. Start early in the day and spread out all your gameday gear, minimizing as the rows fill and others in the group join you.
Heat up the grill. I like using propane because it’s easy to make sure the fire is completely out before game time, but it’s not nearly as effective for keeping everyone warm when the fall temperatures drop unexpectedly. Whatever you choose, make sure the grill is up and running at least 2 hours before the kickoff is scheduled.
Start cooking. As fans start to fill in the lot make sure you are prepared with meat on the grill. This is where the individual packaging of the Ultimate Burgers really comes in handy. You can toss burgers on to cook as your group grows, and don’t have to worry about meat drying out or food getting cold.
Just slice open the package, season with a bit of salt and pepper, and place the patties right onto the fire. These burgers are high-quality meat (at least a 90/10 blend) so you won’t see any shrinkage as they cook.
Avoid Penalty Flags
Keep an eye on the grill. With all the chaos of game day it’s easy to get distracted, but you don’t want to overcook your meal. As a result of the high-quality meat, Pfaelzer Brothers Ultimate Burgers have a long cooking time, so you don’t really need to worry that much but don’t wander off or start a game of cornhole. For Medium cook 9-12 minutes per side or Well 12-14 minutes per side.
Remember your cheese. When the burgers are nearly done (less than 2 minutes remaining). Toss on cheese for anyone who wants it. This will allow the cheese to melt and add to the flavor of the burger.
Kick it Through the Uprights
Once your burgers are cooked to perfection toss them on a bun and doctor up with your favorite condiments. I love the basics: ketchup, mustard, lettuce and tomatoes.
As gametime ticks closer, start to clean up and cool off your grill. Pack up all the remaining meat and put in the cooler out of the sun. Fold up any tables and chairs and make sure any stray college students help you eat what’s already cooked as they walk into the stadium.
Enjoy the Game
No matter the outcome, there is nothing like rooting for your team at a college stadium. From the band playing the fight song to the mascot on the sidelines, I love the energy of college football and am excited that I was able to kick-off this fall with Football and Pfaelzer Brothers.
Disclaimer: This post was brought to you by Hickory Farms & Pfaelzer Brothers. All opinions, ideas and writing are my own. I was compensated and received a product samples as inspiration for this post.