Opinion

Tasty ideas for the tailgating menu | Lovin' from the Oven

OK. So the Seattle Mariners aren’t exactly selling out Safeco Field, while the Seahawks are still months away from returning to action. As Seattle sports fans, what are we to do?

Well, there’s not much we can do. But there is one thing that will pass the time a whole lot quicker (and better) than moaning about the M’s latest loss: the tailgate.

While it may not lead to a winning combo on the field, it’ll give you a great excuse to get out in the sunshine, catch a little ball and even better, enjoy some great food with friends. That’s what tailgating is really all about.

So pick up a pony of your favorite brew from Silver City (or even a keg of root beer if you’re tailgating with young ’uns), pack up the coolers and grill, bring some extra chairs and some team garb and set your sights for the ultimate pregame, game and postgame party!

Here’s some flavorful grillables to add to any tailgate party that will have fans feasting faster than the M’s can drop another homestand!

Wings are always a good place to start.

Detroit-style Hot Honey Wings

If Seahawks fans can get over the Detroit connection (the site of the Hawks’ Super Bowl loss in 2005), then a tasty sweet-and-spicy consolation awaits.

First, get your grill ready, starting up your coals (I prefer charcoal but you can use gas just as well) and oiling the grates. Wash about two pounds of chicken wings (discarding the tips) and pat them dry with a paper towel. Next, season the meat with a teaspoon of cayenne pepper (or more!) and add salt and pepper to your tastes. Next, cook the wings fully for about 20 to 30 minutes, until the juices begin to run clear. While they’re cooking, brush them liberally with a half cup of honey.

Melt down a half cup of butter and pour it into a large bowl, mixing in another half cup of honey and the same amount of your favorite hot sauce. Once the wings are done on the grill, start coating them in the sauce. You can either serve these tasty treats drippin’ or return them to the grill for about another minute to cook off the excess drippage.

Baby Back Ribs

Just like the song says, I love my baby back, baby back, baby back ... . You get the picture.

For three pounds of baby back pork ribs, you’ll want to start with the spice rub. Combine a tablespoon each of ground cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt and pepper to your tastes. I like to herb it up a little too. Mix these all together well.

After you remove as much of the membrane as possible from the ribs, slather as much of the spice rub as you want over both sides of the rack. I like to use most of it, since you’ll be saucing them later too.

Again, lightly oil the grate, laying the ribs on the top rack with a low-heated amount of coal. Let these slow cook for an hour, keeping the lid shut tight. After that hour, brush on your favorite store-bought or homemade barbecue sauce and grill it all for another five minutes. Now all that’s left is cutting ’em up and eating!

Burgers are another fixture on the grill for tailgaters everywhere, so try these stuffed burgers to keep the fanatics going!

Stuffed Burgers

This recipe will make enough for six people, so scale accordingly.

In a large mixing bowl, combine three pounds of ground beef, salt and pepper to your tastes, about four tablespoons of barbecue sauce and a teaspoon of garlic powder (sometimes I like to mince up some fresh garlic; the choice is yours). Mix these all together and portion the results into 12 roughly quarter-pound patties.

Next, cook about a half-pound of bacon on high heat until its browned all over, cutting the finished bacon into 1/4-inch pieces. Next, pan fry a medium-sized chopped white onion in the bacon drippings until they just begin to brown. Mix the finished onions and bacon pieces together, setting them aside.

Next, with the grill ready to go, top six of the 12 patties with the bacon-onion mixture, covering each with your favorite shredded cheese. Top that combo with the remaining patties and pinch the edges together, sealing the onions, bacon and cheese inside.

Grill these bad boys until they’re cooked through, serving them with all your favorite condiments and toppers. These will fill up even the largest of tailgating tummies!

If the trip across the water might be too much, consider tailgating with the Kitsap BlueJackets, West Sound Saints or any number of local summer ball teams still going. Just make sure you check out rules and regulations to each place and use common sense (i.e. no beer at the schools, etc.).

Ultimately, just remember, the fun in tailgating for your team isn’t just related to the team itself.

Sure it helps if the Mariners win, but even following another inevitable loss, these recipes and the rest of your tailgating smorgasbord are sure to take the sting out.

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