It may be the greatest loss in Super Bowl history.
Ever since Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans, which took place just five months after the 9/11 attacks and was designated a National Special Security Event by the Department of Homeland Security, football fans attending the big game have had their stadium tailgating options severely limited. No open flames. No charcoal grills. No use of propane or other gas tanks. No taking up multiple parking spaces to lay out a spread that could feed the 53-man rosters of both the Giants and Jets.
For some, it means no more fun and no more tradition on what has always been one of the biggest food days in the country — Super Bowl Sunday. And for those who take the day’s food just as seriously as the game, it means a whole lot more.
“You’re losing the smell of smoke in the air, you’re losing the visual power of seeing a big piece of meat cooking over an open flame,” says chef Bradford Thompson, whose tailgate parties prior to Giants games at MetLife Stadium have become legendary. “I think that’s a loss because as a chef, your visual, your smell… people start showing up that you don’t know, they come over… ‘What are you guys doing?’ They see smoke, they smell something different. So there’s an anticipation, sitting in the cold parking lot drinking a beer, waiting for the pork to be done or waiting for the steak to come off. The anticipation builds.
“Seeing people manipulate a fire, and turning the meat and seasoning it and waiting for it to rest and slicing it — there’s a lot of drama in that, and you lose that. And there is just the primal activity of eating a meal that’s cooked over a fire in a parking lot. It’s just a guy thing. It’s a communal thing. It feels different. You’re not at home eating a steak. You’re in a parking lot, eating with your fingers, sitting on a milk crate maybe. It’s just an experience that rounds out the day of eating and watching football. It’s part of the whole experience.”
Those days may be over but fans lucky enough to be going to Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium next Sunday can still enjoy a pregame filled with food and fun. When the NFL’s Super Bowl tailgating guidelines were reported last month, it was widely assumed that the activity was being banned altogether. Not so.
Ticket holders are still allowed to sit outside their cars and eat, as long as they do so within the boundaries of a single spot. Most importantly, cooking outside the stadium is still “fine,” according to league spokesperson Brian McCarthy, as long as it’s done without the use of the aforementioned banned items.
So how can one cook a traditional tailgate meal without the use of fire, charcoal or gas? The Daily News wanted to come up with a plan for those who may want to give it a shot, so we consulted with Thompson — who trained under renowned chef Daniel Boulud and now serves as, among other things, a chef consultant — as well as Roger Gonzalez, the camping and survival department head at Campmor, a massive outdoor equipment retailer in Paramus, N.J.
Provided by Bradford Thompson & 16F/D2 Big Blue Tailgatin’ Crew
One of Bradford Thompson’s tips is to make a soup to stay warm.
Before we get into the details, here are two of the biggest keys that both experts advised: Keep things simple and do as much work as possible before heading to the stadium.
Sounds like a game plan for a Super Bowl champion!
Gonzalez scratched his head a bit when told of the bans on fire, charcoal and gas. But he knew exactly where to turn when he found out that equipment that runs off electricity is perfectly fine.
Broil King Griddle – $ 100.99
Heading toward the back of the store, passing some pretty impressive gas and charcoal grills along the way, Gonzalez recommended the Coleman 40-quart Powerchill Hot/Cold Thermoelectric Cooler. Notice the word ‘hot’ in the name. While we’re guessing it’s most often used by football fans to keep certain beverages cold, it can also keep a pre-cooked meal hot.
It plugs into a traditional outlet so a simple, inexpensive 110-volt adapter allows it to be plugged into a car’s power source (some newer cars even have regular outlets built into them). Those less daring would be able to cook their tailgate meal at home and transport it to MetLife in this. It has five racks in it and can be stood up like a shelf or placed on its back like a tub.
“This would be something that you can put a few pans of food in, stack ‘em up in there,” Gonzalez says. “It’s not gonna cook something but if it’s hot it’ll keep it hot. So think of it kind of like the bag that the pizza guy uses, but on steroids because it can plug into your car. Cook your stuff at home, plug it in, let it get warmed up while you’re packing up your stuff, put your trays in there and it’s gonna maintain that temperature.”
Want to keep your pre-cooked food hot but don’t want to shell out about $ 130 for this? Gonzalez points out that while traditional coolers are most commonly used for that — cooling — they can also easily keep food warm. He says to fill one up with hot water to heat the inside and then poor the water out before putting your trays of food in. Then, keep the lid tightly sealed and let the heat coming off the hot food do the rest of the work. Another trick is to place a hot microwaveable heat pack on top of the food before closing the lid.
Hot/Cold Thermoelectric Cooler – $ 134.99
For the more adventurous tailgaters, Gonzalez and Thompson both highly recommend electric skillets and pancake griddles. Both can be used to either cook a meal from scratch or keep a meal warm, depending on the temperature setting. “You think more pancakes when you think that but that’s gonna be a nice, hot, flat surface,” says Gonzalez.
Croc pots — which we’ve made some pretty tasty pulled pork in — will also come in handy for this monumental event. One word of warning from Gonzalez when it comes to keeping these appliances powered up in the parking lot: “Things that have a heating element in them do draw a considerable amount of electricity.” So either keep the car running or start it up periodically to ease the burden on the battery.
SOUP & SPICE
The hot/cold cooler means you can make virtually any hot meal at home and transport it to the stadium. But those looking for something closer to the traditional game-day tailgating experience will want to cook on-site. Thompson has tons of experience here because not only is he a professional chef, but he’s also a loyal fan of the Giants who’s been partying in the parking lot since 1998.
Car Power Inverter – $ 18.78
He started out with some food industry buddies cooking — believe it or not — hot dogs on game days. Now he’s host of what has to be one of the most elaborate tailgate parties in the league, utilizing multiple grills, an open fire pit, a deep fryer, a generator, a wind shield and a shopping cart to make hot pretzels in.
“It’s insanity,” he admits.
Next week will have to be more tame than that but Thompson is confident a delicious meal can be made while following the NFL’s strict rules.
He is a big believer in starting it all off with some soup, which may in fact be the way to go for the NFL’s first cold-weather Super Bowl. When temperatures drop during the season, Thompson brings along some pump pot coffee dispensers filled with simple broths that can be poured into cups or bowls filled with pre-cooked vegetables or dumplings.
CrockPot – $ 39.99
“You can be creative with that,” Thompson says. “You can do minestrone, you can do Asian broth and dumplings. You can do tomato soup and make grill cheese on the griddle. I think soup is a necessity, to start everyone off with something warm or hot and it warms them up inside and gets everyone hungry.”
Here’s where things have to get scaled back a bit. While Thompson usually has large amounts of uncooked meats — beef, pork, chicken — delivered to his parties in a refrigerated truck, he recommends picking up a few bags of shredded barbecued meat to stuff inside quesadillas.
Mixed with some shredded cheese and pre-cooked vegetables, quesadillas fall in line with the meals that provide “carbohydrates and proteins and things that are dense and filling” that Thompson recommends for an outdoor occasion like this.
More expert advice from Thompson: Don’t be afraid to use a heavy hand when it comes to spices, including chilis. Adding more flavor is a way to compensate for a lack of heat.
Andrew Theodorakis/New York Daily News
Grilling at MetLife Stadium for the Super Bowl won’t be the same as for a regular-season game.
“Over-season a little bit and add spices to it and that will help your pallet warm up and it warms you up from the inside and it tastes better,” Thompson says. “Quesadillas are always very popular and you can be really creative with them. They cook nicely on those pancake griddles. A little bit of spray and you have cheese and meat and vegetables inside and you can make those all day long and serve them with guacamole and salsa and different dipping sauces and you can fill people up with them.”
The electric skillet will come in handy for heating up either barbecued chicken or pulled pork, says Thompson. The meat tends to caramelize in them, adding even more texture and bringing out the flavors.
An even simpler option is making a nice pulled pork the day before the game and bringing it to the stadium in a croc pot that can be plugged in. Warm up the buns on the griddle and serve it with some cold coleslaw.
“If you were able to do soup and a quesadilla and pulled pork, it’s a pretty good menu, and you supplement it with a chopped vegetable salad, hummus, guacamole, different stuff like that,” says Thompson, who founded Bellyfull Consulting and uses his culinary skills to help several charitable foundations.
Two other uses for the croc pot that Thompson recommends: Fill it with some rice and then throw some well-seasoned shrimp on the griddle before serving them together. Or, make chili ahead of time and use the croc pot to keep it hot.
Tailgating without the use of fire, charcoal or gas may sound kind of bland, but take it from a pro like Thompson — it doesn’t have to be.
“I’ve actually done a lot of catering off of pancake griddles and those plug-in skillets,” he says. “For a small group, you have to do some cooking ahead of time but it works fairly well. For a group of six to eight people, yes, you can do it.
“You’re not doing a whole shell steak or a baby pig or a roasted chicken,” Thompson says, “but it can be done.”
Super Bowl XLVIII is just around the corner, and so is the opportunity of indulging in the world’s most expensive tailgate experience in New York City. The luxurious Chatwal New York Hotel, which is conveniently located just steps away from Times Square, is wooing well-heeled Super Bowl fans with an over the top tailgate party indulgence. Though tailgate parties usually occur in the parking lots at stadiums, the folks at Chatwal have given a posh twist to the term by hosting a $3 million indoor celebration for the upcoming American football game.
This is an ideal opportunity for those who are looking forward for just another reason to celebrate with family and close friends, after splurging on the New Year bash. The person who dares to foot the $3 million bill will be offered a weekend stay at the hotel’s Barrymore Suite. Spread over the whole tenth floor, the 4,500 square feet suite includes four bedrooms and four and a half baths as well as a 1,000 feet outdoor terrace. At The Chatwal New York Hotel, the Director’s Suite and the Producer’s Suite are nothing short of pure luxury. Both contain a sitting room, dining room, kitchenette, and two full bathrooms, and the latter, a private roof deck. The hotel combines both the suites, turning them into the Barrymore Suite for those keen to have the entire Penthouse to themselves.
Well, this is one way to do it, go completely nuts on some people. Too much beer!
The Redscue Unit Squad is a group of Arizona Cardinals tailgaters that have been regularly attending games since 1988, with fulltime season tickets first being purchased in 1991 by two cousins and a friend. As the years have progressed and the tailgate group has grown, the need arose to either bring more vehicles to each game, or purchase a larger vehicle that can accommodate not only people, but also all the tailgating gear involved (tables, ice chests, chairs, canopies, tv, grill etc.).
The group of three has now grown to include some of our kids that attend games with us. But one thing has been a constant from the very beginning and the very reason this tailgate vehicle was born: THIS GROUP OF TAILGATERS WOULD NEVER BE DRIVEN HOME BY AN INTOXICATED DRIVER!!
Original tailgate vehicles included regular passenger vehicles, than progressed to our current Chevy Tahoe’s, Ford F-350’s and other select trucks/SUV’s. But with additional members, as well as more equipment, we needed to convert to the next step…..
This is where the Redscue Unit was born…….We realize we’re just reinventing the "ambulance tailgate vehicle" wheel that has been done throughout the United States for quite some time. But this is a wheel we really wanted to reinvent.
After a nationwide search of possible ambulance vehicles, one fell directly into our lap right here in Tempe, Arizona. The Founders took immediate delivery and began the brainstorming. Some items came immediately to the forefront, while others took some back and forth bantering if we should include it or not.
The vehicle was wrapped with a design that includes the following features:
- REDSCUE UNIT name. This was a play on words of fire terminology (rescue) and the addition of one of the prime colors (red) of the Arizona Cardinals.
- Fire type logo on door. TIME TO SEE RED was a slogan that was used many years ago by the Arizona Cardinals.
- EST 1920. The year the Football Club was established into what is now the National Football League (NFL).
- R88. Another play on words. As all fire stations are numbered, our “station” is “R” (for REDSCUE) and the “88” is for the year the Arizona Cardinals came to Arizona.
- The large Cardinal bird head on the rear top. The image that this entire truck revolves around.
- Ghost image of the State of Arizona flag on both sides. Must be seen (purposely) at the right angle or in good sunlight.
- Large Cardinal bird eyes staring towards the front.
- NEVER FORGET 40. A respectful tribute to Pat Tillman, longtime Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State player/student that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
- SPECIAL THANKS TO THE WIVES quote. Giving thanks to all their support.
- Full size ghost image large Cardinal bird head on the back.
- Ghost image field hash marks and field numbers on bottom of both sides.
- Rockford Fosgate sponsored state of the art sound system. This includes (4) 12” subwoofers with boxes, (4) interior marine speakers, (2) exterior marine speakers, and (3) premier amplifiers.
- Big screen TV with DirecTV and hook ups. Includes NFL Sunday Ticket.
- "Gurney Grill". A large 8 burner bbq grill.
- Customized interior upholstery in red/black color combination. Seats include custom “Cardinal” bird logo.
- Herculiner floor.
- Customized kegerator with taps inside and outside for both beer and soda.
- Custom bar area inside.
When did you get the rig?
Four of us - three brothers (Manny, Jaime, Sergio Figueroa) and a friend (Victor Romo) purchased this 1989 Ford Ambulance at the end of the 2011 Cardinals season. After months of searching for the perfect tailgate vehicle in several states, we stumbled upon this one on Craigslist, just down the street, in the City of Tempe, AZ.
What was it used for before you got it?
This vehicle was a former volunteer ambulance for a small town in Colorado. The previous owner (Tempe) bought it in Colorado and was going to use it for a business venture in Arizona, but decided to sell it.
How long did the restoration take?
The REDSCUE UNIT process was started immediately after purchasing the vehicle. It only took approx 9 months to complete the vehicle to its current phase (the upholstery was installed the Sat night just before the 2012 Season Opener!). There are still things that are being tweaked and added as time and money permits.
How many people tailgate with you?
The REDSCUE UNIT Squad consists of approx 15-20 regulars that tailgate every single game and assist with all game day tailgate purchases. In addition to these regulars, we also have a host of different folks that may tailgate select games throughout the season. We have had tailgate groups as large as 40-70. Our main sponsors (George Cairo Engineering, Demers Glass, Rockford Fosgate) also tailgate with us as our Special Guests - some come every game, some periodically.
What are your favorite features?
Pulling into the stadium, the entire parking lot knows when we arrive, as the stereo system, including speakers installed on the outside, is booming throughout. We also like to use the vehicle wrap canvas as a conversation piece to showcase what every little detail stands for. And of course, nothing beats having a brand new 8 burner grill we lovingly call the “Gurney Grill” (sold the old grill – too small for the amount of food we need to cook). Other cool features, away from the ambo, is we have our very own personalized logo t-shirts, hoodies and hats, as well as our very own facebook page (REDSCUE UNIT). Last, but not least, is tailgating with family and friends and knowing that this vehicle is ALWAYS driven by a designated driver.
What kind of plans do you have for the future?
First and foremost, we’re trying to secure more sponsors that may be able to assist us financially to complete the vehicle and help with expensive maintenance needs. A complete Air Conditioning overhaul is first in the works this off-season. We are currently working to add a bar/grill sponsorship that could be used as our tailgate headquarters during away games and the off-season. Also, a re-wrap may take place that will more boldly showcase the current details and brighten & enhance the red color palette to give it more “pop”. The rewrap will also include enlarging our sponsor logos. We also plan on upgrading to a much larger television and also modifying our battery power sources for our stereo system. Lastly, we would like to add a new siren and new emergency light bar.
How long have you been tailgating?
Generally between 17-22 years. Some are more recent additions, but most of us have been tenured for approx two decades. LASTLY, we want to give a BIG THANKS to ALL those involved in our build process including Dominic Dominguez (upholstery), Ricky Figueroa (stereo installation), Phil Moreno (truck caricature logo design), Ralph Vasquez (financial support). And especially a VERY SPECIAL THANKS to our MAIN SPONSORS (George Cairo Engineering, Demers Glass, Rockford Fosgate) that have supported us on our build from the very very beginning!
SECAUCUS, N.J. -- Forget about setting up those kegs or buffet tables in the parking lot before this season's Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium. There will be no tailgating, according to the game's committee CEO, Al Kelly.
"You will be allowed to have food in your car and have drink in your car," Kelly said. "And provided you're in the boundaries of a single parking space, you'll be able to eat or drink right next to your car. However, you're not going to be able to take out a lounge chair, you're not going to be able to take out a grill, and you're not going to be able to take up more than one parking space. And it'll all be watched very carefully."
What is the best cure for a hangover, or just a good old time? The bloody mary of course! But why stop with the status quo of maybe throwing a stick of celery in your drink?
Two words: BEEF STRAW!
Benny's Bloody Mary Beef Straws are a great American made product, and comes in packs of 5. As you can see, there is a hallowed out center to the beef stick, allowing easy drinking of your bloody mary.
The Benny's Bloody Mary Beef Straws can be had for $11.95 for two packs of 5 from their site http://bennysbloodymarybeefstraw.com.
You can check them out on Facebook as well: https://www.facebook.com/bennysbloodymarybeefstraw
There's a lot going on here. What a great commercial. Tyson, Holyfield, Rodman, Farve, etc.