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GearHaiku #164 Tailgating Tips From Chef Michael Symon


game day with a grill

chef Michael Symon dishes...

a top shelf tailgate

A great tailgate effort can be just important as the game. But at this point in the season, your grilling game might be struggling to wow the fans. So we grabbed a few mimutes with James Beard Foundation Award-winning, celebrity chef Michael Symon to get his thoughts on how to make a tailgate...tail-great.

Chef Symon has partnered with Knob Creek to create amazing Bourbon-enhanced tailgating recipes. Here are some of chef Symon's tips that should find their way into your game day routine.

GearHaiku: Chef Symon can you give us a crowd favorite, go-to tailgating recipe?

Michael Symon: One of my go-to tailgating dishes is my Knob Creek Rye Pork Meatballs on Skewers*. They’re made with Knob Creek Rye, fresh herbs and spices, and then grilled to perfection. Topped with a squeeze of lime juice, this is a classic tailgate recipe served with a twist and pakced with big, full flavor of Knob Creek Bourbon. I’ve never known anyone who didn't enjoy them.

* Video and recipe below

GH: On game day, in the parking lot (or at home) what's a common mistake made by "weekend warrior" tailgaters behind the grill? And how can the errors be avoided or fixed?

MS: I think failure to prep meat beforehand is a mistake common to even the most dedicated tailgaters. Marinating meat overnight allows it to fully absorb those delicious flavors and maintain them even while cooking on the grill. I like to marinate meats overnight, but no more than 8 hours, so they get nice and tender and full of great flavor. One of my favorite marinades is quick and easy to make. Just take some Knob Creek Bourbon, and little vinegar for acid, a little honey for sweetness and mix in some fresh herbs and spices, and maybe a hint of citrus, and let the meat marinate in that overnight.

GH: Your classic burgers and dogs are tailgating staples on the grill. What are a few simple things someone could do to add new life into these favorites on game day?

MS: For me, it's all about the marinades and sauces. You'd be amazed what a few ingredients can do to completely change the flavors of even your most classic recipes. I am a big fan of cooking bratwurst on the grill- they're easy to cook and are a favorite of my hometown Cleveland. One of my favorite ways to cook bratwursts on the grill to poach them in some Knob Creek Bourbon, with jalapenos and fresh garlic and onion, and then finish them on the grill. These flavors combine to make a wonderful sauce that highlights the big, full flavor of the bourbon and pairs deliciously with the rich flavors of the bratwurst. I also like to dress up burgers with some caramelized onions that I cook with some butter and Knob Creek Bourbon.

GH: Could you tell GearHaiku some of your favorite non-food, items that will really enhance a game day meal cooked and enjoyed outdoors?

MS: I think you need a little something for everyone. I preset my iPod so that the pace and tempo of the music changes to keep the party going. I also love setting up the game Cornhole because it's a game that everyone can play. Just some things to keep it fun for everyone- whether you follow football or not.


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