With the Cleveland Browns taking on the Baltimore Ravens tomorrow night, and week four of the NFL season nearly upon us, renowned sportscaster Rich Hollenberg, who has covered eight Super Bowls, joined us to chat about throwing the perfect tailgate party everyone is sure to love. From cooking up a delicious meal, to great drinks and the dreaded cleanup, Rich has everything you need to ensure your tailgate party is a hit, even if your team doesn’t come out with the win!
Candace Rose: What’s the secret to throwing a great tailgate party everyone is sure to love?
Rich Hollenberg: “Well, it’s really simple. You don’t have to go all out, you don’t have to spend a fortune, Candace. What you want to do is just be smart and keep it simple. So make sure you get to the tailgate section as early as possible, maybe give yourself three hours. Stake out a good spot, start firing up your grill then so it’s nice and hot when you’re ready to eat. Then you want to open up a bag of chips right away because everybody usually comes to a tailgate party on the hungry side. I like to use Tostito Brand tortilla chips. You can use the restaurant style or you can use any brand that you find in the supermarket from Tostito’s. They also have a salsa that’s a special tailgate edition salsa. It’s thick and chunky, and when you combine those two any time is a great time for a party. To take it up one more level, you might want to take that great salsa and add mango or some diced pineapple to it; put on a side of guac. and then everyone knows you’re not messing around, that you are a serious tailgater right from the get go.
You fired up your grill when you first got there, so I always like to go with traditional brats. Johsonville Brats are really full of flavor, and they’re really filling, that way you don’t have to spend a fortune on concessions outside the stadium. I like to keep it traditional with buns, and ketchup and mustard, but I also like to make what I call a Reuben Brat Hoagie. It takes all those great elements of a deli Reuben sandwich and combines it with a brat, so you have your sauerkraut, your Swiss cheese, your thousand island dressing, put it all on a roll with the sliced up grilled brats, and that is a sandwich that everyone will remember long after the game is over. And if you don’t like that idea you can certainly go to Johnsonville.com or visit their Facebook page and get a lot of other recipes.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any suggestions when it comes to drinks?
Rich Hollenberg: “I do and it’s something that might be a little bit surprising for people who check out your blog, Candace- everyone talks about beer when it comes to tailgating and that’s great, but I always like to give somebody an alternative to beer. This is it- it’s called Refresh by Turning Leaf, and you have three varietals. You have the Crisp White, Moscato, and Red Moscato. They’re slightly fizzy, they’re lightly refreshing and what you can do with them is almost endless. You can put them over ice, chilled; you can use it as the base for a new cocktail, which is really interesting and they only cost about $8 a bottle so it’s affordable and it fits right inside your tailgating budget.”
Candace Rose: What can we do to ensure cleanup is a breeze?
Rich Hollenberg: “It doesn’t get any easier than this, this might be the secret tip of all- don’t clean up. What you want to do is take all the leftovers that you have, because it’s always good to have more than not enough, Candace; take them all, pack them all in a cooler. Keep them in your car, and whether your team wins or loses, you come out to the parking lot, you don’t have to deal with traffic. You can either celebrate a win or cry over the loss, but you can do that drinking good drinks and eating good food.”
Candace Rose: Do you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share?
Rich Hollenberg: “Well, if you want to find out more about any of the things we talked about, there are certain websites for Tostitos, so you can go to Frito-Lay.com. You can also go to TurningLeaf.com for the Refresh that we talked about, and you can also go to Johnsonville.com or as I mentioned, go to their Facebook page and you can find lots of great brat recipes.