Remember to KISS

Kabobs are a great addition to a tailgate. (Submitted photo)

Kabobs are a great addition to a tailgate. (Submitted photo)

Commentary by Joe Drozda and Bob Bley

Surely everyone in our modern and enlightened audience knows the acronym KISS for Keep It Simple Stupid! But this isn’t a new saying and probably goes back 50 years. It is often attributed to Kelly Johnson, an aircraft engineer. In 1960 the U.S. Navy adopted his KISS principle to keep engineers from over-complicating aircraft engineering manuals.  According to Pit and Quarry, the stone industry’s design and engineering magazine, the term became widely used in America by 1970. So what’s this got to do with us tailgaters?

As enlightened tailgaters, we need to remember that tailgating is a social event, where good, tasty food and drinks are served. It is a social event to relax and enjoy conversation and congenial spirits. Tailgating is not an opportunity to overdo cooking and grilling. When you see a tow-behind grill/smoker and a man feeding upwards to two dozen guests you are seeing a person that spent too much money and too much effort to accomplish something that any homemaker knows is not that hard.

When planning your tailgating menu think of using items that take very little time to prepare and grill, but still taste like food from that huge grill setup.  Here are a few rules that we are repeating to allow for more tailgating fun.

  • Use extremely tasty pre-cooked foods that don’t taste like pre-cooked.
  • When not using pre-cooked meats, use cuts that are simple to fix.
  • Prepare everything possible at home in your sterile kitchen.

Here is an easy way to make great sandwiches that will amaze onlookers and satisfy all guests!

Tailgate kabobs


1 green bell pepper cut into 1-inch chunks

1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch chunks

1 yellow bell pepper cut into 1-inch chunks

One large sweet onion cut into 1-inch chunks

1 1/2 Ib. bag Johnsonville Pre-Cooked Meatballs

1 1/2 Ib. bag Johnsonville Pre-cooked Italian Sausage Slices

11 oz. pack of Johnsonville Uncooked Kabobs (4 flavors to choose from)

12 French bread sub buns from the bakery


Skewer each kabob individually as pictured. Or KISS and make up individual skewers of meatballs, sausage slices and veggie chunks. Pack these into a seal-and-serve container and refrigerate overnight. On game day put the skewered items in your food cooler for transport to the tailgate. Also add the package of chicken kabobs, unopened, to the cooler.

Pack the sub buns in a paper bag with other items that don’t need to be in a cooler.

As guests arrive, place kabobs and other skewered items onto your hot grill. Drizzle olive oil onto the veggies first. Everything will be ready in about 12 to 15 minutes.  Using a pot holder remove the skewers and strip them onto four separate paper plates. Keep the meatballs on one plate, the sausages on another, and the chicken on a third plate and the veggies on their own plate. Each guest can fix his or her own sub from the four plates.  Serve with your favorite mustard or other appropriate sauces preferred by the guests, like pizza sauce or even a teriyaki sauce.

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