One of the earliest references to tailgating comes from the 1869 Rutgers-Princeton game, when picnics were served from a carriage at the â€˜tail endâ€™ of a horse. As pickups and other vehicles replaced horses around the football field, the term â€˜tailgatingâ€™ stuck.
It’s now a fall phenomenon, with some 70 million Americans expected to host or attend at least one of these ultimate parking lot parties this fall. Tailgate chefs set a bountiful table; some 42 percent spend more than $500 a year on tailgating foods. Nearly all â€“ 95 percent â€“ actually cook at the game, often starting at least three to four hours before kickoff.
Beef was cited as the favorite food for al fresco stadium dining by 62 percent of avid tailgaters in a recent survey by Grill Freedom Inc. and http://www.tailgating.com. Steak reigns as king, chosen by 34.4 percent of tailgaters, while burgers ranked second, preferred by 27.7 percent of parking lot grill masters, according to the survey.
â€˜You can’t beat the aroma of beef sizzling on the grill, combined with great fall weather and exuberant football fans,â€™ said Tara Hoelscher, Director of Channel Marketing for the Nebraska Beef Council. â€˜It’s just a feast for the senses all the way around.â€™
Tailgating Hints & Safety Tips
Are you tailgating this season? Perfect your game plan with these tailgater tips. (Courtesy of the Nebraska Beef Council.)
â‹… Even if the weather is cool, don’t skip any safe food handling steps.
â‹… Fill an insulated container with boiling water, let stand for a few minutes, then empty and put in hot food. Keep container closed so food stays at 140Â€F or above for several hours.
â‹… Put cold, perishable foods, like raw beef patties, in an insulated cooler packed with ice or frozen containers. Wrap raw meat securely so juices don’t drip and cross-contaminate other foods.
â‹… Make sure your tailgating gear includes an instant-read meat thermometer and disposable cloths, wet wipes or paper towels to clean hands, surfaces and utensils.
â‹… Serve seasoned or marinated beef to score big with hungry guests. Use plastic, reusable bags to spice up your meat the night before the game or even on the way to the stadium.
â‹… Heat-and-eat beef products make it easy to tackle and serve a savory beef dish, like a rich pot roast or beef tips in gravy. Mouthwatering, no-fuss meals can be ready in minutes by boiling cooking bags in a turkey fryer filled with water.