No, I don't mean Christmas. I mean that it's football season. A time for tailgates, cookouts, too many beers, good friends, and the agony or ecstasy that accompanies each game. I live in SEC country (for those of you who don't do college football, SEC = Southeastern Conference), where football Saturdays are a religion. I'm lucky to have a group of friends who are champion tailgaters, whether they are tailgating in a parking lot or at someone's house.
For the first game of the season, my fabulous friends decided to get things started in style. We all headed over to Z & H's house with assorted cases of beer and food products. Z spent all day grilling chicken and ribs. We had salads and potatoes and veggies and baked beans and dessert. And, to start the day, we made pancakes and sausage. Plus we had three TVs set up, cornhole, flip cup, and tents to keep the heat at bay. Throw in the 14 hours we spent devouring the first Saturday of college football, and you had some very happy campers.
Since that first weekend, no one's schedules have really meshed well enough to recreate that scene. There's still been some pretty good food involved though, most notably the lovely dishes that G and L made for us this past weekend when we watched the game at their house. Kickoff was at 12:21, so of course, we had to show up early enough to watch ESPN College Gameday before our game. G decided to make beignets for the occasion. I woke up late, and so didn't get to their house in time to get one hot out of the fryer, but even slightly cold, they were amazing. I'm putting in a request that we do beignets again soon.
Just in time for the game, we had this plate of deliciousness (please note the Gamecock plate):
What is that, you ask? That would be a large portion of bacon wrapped, beer boiled brats. Say that 5 times fast. Clearly if you're not a pork eater, these aren't for you. But for the rest of us, these were utterly amazing. To be totally honest, bacon wrapped anything is pretty amazing, but I could eat these non-stop. What made these so special? Each tooth-picked goodness was rubbed down with a combination of brown sugar and cayenne pepper. It was an outstanding combination of sweet and spicy and it was filling. For a nice variation, we spread some jalapeno pimento cheese on a few of them, and wow. The flavor of the cheese just melted away, leaving the sweet and spicy taste of the pork. I'm pretty much going to insist that these are served at every group function from now until the end of time. Well done, G & L. Well done.