Avid tailgater and creator of the “Tailgate Empire” slogan, Nick Herger joins BCLionsDen.ca as our tailgate correspondent. After each home game Nick will be blogging about that game’s menu and other tailgating tips and pastimes. Nick is a great cook and always takes things up another level at our tailgate parties!
And the Empire Strikes Back for its final season on the PNE grounds. The “Tailgate Empire” that is.
It was a great season in the parking lot, if not on the playing surface of Empire Field in 2010. The tailgating was awesome! It started with a whimper in a pre-season game in which the future of tailgating in East Van was in doubt, but after some lobbying and some persistence it ended with a bang! A true West Coast tailgating atmosphere was born and the Canadian football experience for the people of BC was enhanced.
With that said, we would like to welcome you to the “Tailgate Empire”, a new feature here on BCLionsDen.ca. We are going to blog about the tailgating experience for fans of the BC Lions in 2011 and beyond. Menus and tailgating tips will be found here as well as “Tailgate Etiquette”. It is very important that tailgate etiquette is followed by all tailgaters as a few bad apples can ruin this tradition for the masses.
- Pack it in. Pack it out. – There may be garbage cans available to you, but don’t assume this will be the case. Be prepared to take your garbage with you.
- Respect thy neighbor. – Be sure to keep the tailgating experience positive for everyone involved. From fellow tailgaters to security personnel.
- Drink from a cup.- Alcoholic beverages are not allowed by the PNE and are not encouraged by The Tailgate Empire, but if one was to be consumed it should be consumed from a cup and not a can or bottle.
- Get a safe ride home. – We want you to come and enjoy yourselves, but we really want to see you back at the next game. Plan a safe ride home from the tailgate and game.
Now that that important info is out of the way, let’s get to the tailgating!! For the preseason game we stopped by a true East Van gem. The Columbus Meat Market “Macelleria Italiana” is just a few blocks from Empire Field and has some of the finest meats you will ever grill. We love a place where you order the size of a steak by how many fingers you wave in the air. We ordered 4 Rib Steaks, 1 ½ fingers thick. If that doesn’t give you the meat sweats, nothing will!
Our Menu for the preseason game was a good one. Bone in Rib Steaks, steamed potatoes w/ onions and garlic, corn on the cob and seasonal veggies were all on hand at Empire Field.
When we cook steaks on a grill we want the grill to be “Nuclear Hot!” Get the grill as hot as you can and place your seasoned meat on it. We do this to sear the juices into the meat. Cook for about 2-3 minutes and then flip it over. We then turn the grill down to about medium or possibly a little less. Cook for about 2-3 minutes again and give the meat a 1/4 turn. This will give you a nice grill mark for presentation. Cook for another 2-3 minutes and flip the steak over again to achieve grill marks on both sides. 2-3 minutes on that side and you will be done. Be sure to let your meat stand on a plate covered with foil for at least 5 minutes before you cut into it. This will allow all the juices settle down inside the steak instead of flowing out onto your plate.
To pull off a great meal in a parking lot, you need to do some of the work ahead of time. We bet you can’t remember how many times your steak was done, but you were waiting for your potatoes to fully cook before you could eat. To avoid this, we always pre-steam or bake our potatoes fully or to about 80% and then just use the grill to re-heat or cook the last 20%. Many methods would work, but we like putting our partially cooked ‘toes in either a foil tray or just by making a foil pack with aluminum foil. A little butter and some sliced onions along with some minced garlic inside the foil pack and the ‘toes are good to go.
As your mom probably told you, veggies are the most important, and sometimes the most satisfying part of your meal. For the pre-season game against the Riders we used a couple of different methods for veggie preparation. For the corn on the cob, we just peel the husk and remove as much of the corn hair as possible and then fold the leaves back into place and fire them back on the bbq. Give them about 20-25 minutes of indirect heat and they’ll cook nicely. We also prepared some bell peppers and mushrooms. We sliced the bell peppers, washed the ‘shrooms and put them in a foil pack. Add the seasoning of your choice and cook along side the corn on indirect heat for about 20-25 minutes. We sliced our zucchini into long ½” zucchini steaks and grilled them for about 3 minutes per side. A little salt and pepper and they are ready to eat.
A great meal it was. This was the first of six meals that we will enjoy at Empire Field in 2011. Next up are the Calgary Stampeders. Red meat anyone? I’m thinking beef ribs. Check back next time to see how we did.