Commentary by Joe Drozda and Bob Bley
Fall is the season when the variation in temperatures needs to be considered by tailgaters. You can freeze and, a few hours later, risk sunburn. All in the same day.
On a recent morning – just before dawn – the temperature was in the 30s, but by afternoon it had risen into the high 70s. Staying comfortable and enjoying being outdoors with temperature swings of 40 degrees is a challenge for tailgaters.
Knowing the kickoff time for the game is key. To tailgate before a game that starts at noon, expect brisk morning air that will feel even colder if the wind is blowing. By afternoon, especially if your stadium seats are in the sun, you’ll be sweating and in need of sunscreen.
For a night game, the pregame tailgating happens in the heat of the day where short sleeves will be appropriate. After sundown it can get downright cold.
So what’s a fan supposed to do?
Think of steps you can take to lessen the effects of nature. If it’s a cold morning, try to place yourself in the sun. To help escape the wind, park your vehicle as a windscreen up-wind from your gathering. Use your grill as a heat source or in more extreme conditions. We’ve even seen fans use portable wood-burning fire pots.
Clothing choice is another key factor for your comfort during the entire day. Your mother always said that you should wear layers, and she was right. By layering, a tailgater can put on and take off items as needed.
A lightweight, waterproof windbreaker works great as an outside shell for protection from rain and wind, as well as retaining body heat. “Sub-layer” with shirts and sweaters as conditions dictate, keeping flexibility in mind.
For food calories and internal body heat, try this tailgaters’ favorite that can be eaten standing by the fire or sitting in the shade: Chicken Sloppy Joe’s – Buffalo Style.
Buffalo chicken sandwich
Ingredients (makes eight sandwiches):
2 tablespoons cooking oil
2 pounds ground chicken
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Sea salt and ground black pepper
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon French’s Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup chicken stock
1 8 –ounce package bleu cheese
dill pickle slices
Heat a large skillet with oil over medium-high heat. Add ground chicken and break it up, stirring with a wooden spoon or spatula. Cook about six minutes. Add celery, onions, and garlic; season with salt and black pepper and simmer eight more minutes. In a separate bowl combine vinegar, sugar, Worcestershire, hot sauce, tomato sauce and stock. Pour into the pan and stir until well mixed. Simmer until the mixture thickens and can be spooned onto buns. Top with bleu cheese and pickles if desired.