Monday, November 5, 2012

Tailgating: Grill vs. Slow Cooker

From Wikipedia:

In the United States, a tailgate party is a social event held on and around the open tailgate of a vehicle. Tailgating often involves consuming alcoholic beverages and grilling food. Tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums and arenas, before and occasionally after games and concerts. People attending such a party are said to be tailgating. Many people participate even if their vehicles do not have tailgates.

Everyone tailgates differently. I wish, oh how I wish I had taken pictures of the many types of tailgate parties I saw at the Packer game yesterday when The Pack beat the Arizona Cardinals. Some people just sat in chairs at the back of their cars eating sub sandwiches and some people had multiple grills for a buffet feast. I've seen catered groups with fancy cocktails and wine to tiny grills with 20-something men drinking crappy beer. It varies by sport, location, and local cuisine. However, the basics are all there: parking lot, sporting event, food and fun.

Here are some fun links about tailgating food, tips and accessories (the magnetic beer koozie cracks me up):

Home Tailgating

Tailgate Warriors

American Tailgaters

When I tailgate for baseball games, I usually have a grill with some brats and burgers with chips and salsa or taco dip, some sort of dessert, and some sort of salad like potato, pasta or coleslaw. Generally, the weather is nicer so you can hang out for hours before (or after) the game with your fellow-fans. Oh, and don't forget to have some tasty beverages handy, too!
Tailgate picture from October 2010 - not much changes year-to-year.

We're at Lambeau Field!
(You can't tell that we've got a ton of layers of clothes on to keep us warm!)
Everyone in the stands had a piece of colored paper
to hold up to make a "Thank You Veterans" card stunt
during the Star Spangled Banner. I took this picture from
behind my red card.

When I go to a Packer game, which if you are from Wisconsin, then you know it's a big deal even if you're not a fan, I want warm, tasty comfort food that will stick to my insides and keep me warm through the whole game at Lambeau Field. It's not called "the Frozen Tundra" for nothing, folks!

If we go to an afternoon game (3 p.m. kickoff), then you're more likely to have time to start the grill and cook some brats or burgers. However, we went to a noon game, which means that we were there around 10:30 a.m. I don't know about you, but that's a little early to be eating brats for me. What to do? Breakfast casserole, bloody mary's and spiked coffee!

Unfortunately, since I make this slow cooker breakfast casserole as the very last thing before I went to bed, I was not thinking about taking pictures. I also spent most of the day learning how to caulk our bathtub so I was tired of scrubbing and just wanted to get cooking. It's so easy, you can do half asleep!

Anyway, you can go over to this website where there are pictures. I took Ott, A's recipe and only changed it by using crumbled Italian sausage in the layers for a little kick. Also, I did not saute the garlic and onions. I just put them in fresh.
Funny story: I found this recipe through, and I later found out that one of my co-workers is related to the blog author. Small world!
6-8 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2-1 pound of Italian sausage (as mild or hot as you like), browned
1-2 onions, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 green pepper, seeds removed and chopped
1 - 2 lb bag of frozen hash browns, I like using the string kind instead of the cubes
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, pepper jack would probably be good too
12 eggs
1 cup of milk
salt and pepper to taste

You might want hot sauce or ketchup available in case you have people who like condiments.

While you are browning the Italian sausage and/or cooking the bacon, take the time to chop up your veggies. It makes the assembly time much quicker! Depending on how fast you chop, you might also have time to crack the eggs in a big bowl and whisk in a cup of milk. Ott, A's recipe called for whole milk, but we just always use whatever we have in the fridge (skim, 1% or 2%).

Once you've got your bacon cooked and crumbled and the sausage is browned and all the fat is drained off of both, it is assembly time! Grease the inside of the slow cooker all the way TO THE TOP with butter or cooking spray. Layer 1/3 of the hash browns, cheese, onion, peppers, meat, salt and pepper in order and repeat. You will have three layers. This will fill up your slow cooker all the way to the top. Although, you think that you can't possibly fit in any more ingredients, you pour the egg mixture over the whole thing. It sinks right in!

Now turn the cooker to low and cook for 8-10 hours. Then go to bed since you're going to be up early to hit the road to see your beloved team (hopefully) squash the other team.

Serving suggestions: Enjoy with coffee (spiked or regular), a Bloody Mary (with all the fixings or not), some coffee cake and a heaping dose of friendly trash talk with tailgaters wearing the other team's colors.


  1. Yum! Now I have our weekend breakfast picked out! Thanks! :)

  2. It makes 6-8 servings, so you might be eating it all weekend long depending on how many people you'll be feeding. Hope you enjoy it and thanks for reading and commenting!

  3. I will love to cook my food via tailgate bbq grills! It's more flavorful and tasty!