Perfect pre-game party need not hurt your wallet


By Joe Drozda and Bob Bley

Richard Brookhiser, an American journalist, biographer and historian, and a senior editor at the National Review, once wrote an interesting historical-fiction piece in Forbes magazine describing the inauguration of tailgating.

According to Brookhiser, it all began at the 1904 Harvard-Yale football game, so tailgating has actually been going on for more than a century.

If you believe that with age comes wisdom, then there must have been some lessons learned during the last “five score and eleven years.”

Here are a few examples we have observed that should improve your tailgating experience by saving space and money, in addition to simplifying your game day preparation routine:

  • Don’t pay for things that you can make for free. A plastic juice or milk bottle can be washed, filled almost full with clean water and frozen in your freezer. Why pay for ice when you can make your own?
  • Re-use containers that are disposable. A gallon ice cream tub makes a perfect disposable chili container that can be thrown away on site after the game. Remember that chili will stain your Tupperware.
  • If you need a fire for warmth or cooking, use burnable packaging. Cardboard boxes, paper bags and newspapers make good kindling for a fire or to light charcoal without that smelly lighter fluid. Note that used paper plates also can be burned.

Remember that tailgating is meant to be a relaxing social experience. Use your brain here to schedule your departure to the game ahead of traffic, and the return home after most traffic has cleared.

By arriving early you won’t need to rush your set-up and most importantly, you’ll have more time for enjoying friends.

With good friends you’ll need good food. Chili is always a favorite! Try this recipe that won a cook-off contest several years ago at the Indiana State Fair.



Ingredients (makes four quarts): 

2 Tsp. Salt

1 1/2 Tsp. White Pepper

2 Tbs. Mexican Oregano (Leaf Style)

2 Tbs. Cumin

2 Tsp. Cilantro

8 Tbs. Chili Powder

46 oz. V8 Juice (Light & Tangy)

2 14-1/2 oz. Cans Diced Tomatoes w/ Green Chilies

1 1/4 oz. Wyler’s Instant Beef Bullion Crystals (Low Sodium)

1 Tsp. Crushed Garlic

1 Lg. Vidalia Onion

1 Lg. Red Onion

1 lb. Coarse Ground Chuck

1/2 lb. Cubed Pork Tenderloin

2 Full 1/2″-thick Round Steaks

12 Oz. Beer (Your Choice of Brand)

1/4 Cup Cooking Oil


Trim the round steak of all fat and slice the meat into ½” strips. Then – laying several strips at a time side-by-side – cut the strips across to form ½” bite-size cubes. Using half the cooking oil in a heavy skillet, brown all the meat – the ground chuck, pork, and beef cubes. When browned, remove the meat from the skillet and place into your favorite chili pot, leaving as much of the oil as possible in the skillet.

Now use the remaining oil to brown the chopped onion, then adding the crushed garlic. Remove the mixture and place into the chili pot and then combine the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil and continue to boil uncovered until chili has thickened to your desired consistency. You may wish to add the following optional ingredients: ½ cup of your favorite BBQ sauce, a Hersey bar (no almonds), and few dashes of Tabasco.


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