As much as we love the hustle and bustle of a busy Saturday when the shop is packed with bodies, the drive-thru line is overflowing onto Charlotte Ave, and we sell almost every single sausage that we’ve got in the case, there is always something beautiful about the calm after the storm: Sundays.
On Sundays every single staff member at Porter Road Butcher has the day off from work (we’re closed) and therefore has the freedom to do whatever their heart so desires. Whether that includes gardening and yard work with a significant other, or spending the afternoon drinking beer and eating fried food with some buddies we all hold Sundays as sacred.
But during this time of year when fantasy football alerts sound their tune on our iPhones more frequently than that of a text from a needy girlfriend, and when ESPN highlights consistently take precedence over NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams and the latest on our nation’s Ebola crisis, you can rest assured that almost all of our staff is spending their Sunday in a similar fashion: eating game food, drinking cold beer, and most importantly watching football.
Some might call it a tailgate. Others would scoff at the lax usage of such a sacred southern tradition. But we’re a motley crew that isn’t 100% southern born and bred, so we will therefore do whatever the heck we want when it comes to “tailgating.”
Southerners have very strict guidelines as to what a football tailgate should or shouldn’t look like, but our rules for this classic American pastime are much more lenient and the parameters are far wider. In fact, our rules barely even exist.
We only require three things: 1) good food, 2) good beer (or in Stewart’s case, any beer) and 3) football. Obviously.
No matter how you so choose to tailgate, the following five PRB tailgating foods will have you full and focused for the big game when the Titans face off against the Texans at LP Field this Sunday.
Porter Road Butcher’s Favorite Tailgating Fare:
My favorite part about making these deliciously crispy wings is that they have to spend an entire hour in the oven to reach my preferred level of crispiness. So seeing as I have a TV in my kitchen, I just stay in there and watch football for a whole hour, even though my beautiful wife thinks I’m busy cooking a bunch of fancy food. I mean, I would like to say I enjoy being outside in the sun tailgating before a football game, but in reality I like tailgating in my house best. I watch the Titans on my TV and I stream the St. Louis Rams from my computer—Sunday is a day to be in my underwear. I don’t want to have to put on pants.
James’s Crispy Hot Wings
Total time 70 minutes
32 double wings from PRB (you’ll want to call and order that ahead)
Salt & pepper
For Hot Sauce:
½ c. butter, melted
½ c. Sriracha (or hot sauce of choice)
½ c. PRB yellow mustard
½ c. honey
For James’s Magical Creamy Herb Sauce
4 egg yolks
1 Tbs. mustard
4 cloves garlic
Plenty of your favorite herbs from the backyard
2 cups grapeseed oil
- Preheat oven to 4250 F.
- Spread wings on a couple of baking sheets and season liberally with freshly ground salt and pepper. Bake for an hour, or until very “craspy.”
- Meanwhile, whisk together butter, Sriracha, yellow mustard, and honey in a large bowl. Set aside.
- In a magic bullet, process together egg yolks, mustard, garlic, and herbs. Once combined, add grapeseed oil and pulse to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Once wings are out of the oven, working in batches of roughly 8 wings at a time, add wings to hot sauce bowl and toss wings until covered. Repeat process until all wings have been sauced.
- Dip saucy and spicy wing in James’s Magical Creamy Herb Sauce and enjoy.
Well, I guess I don’t really know what I’d make for a tailgate because I like don’t really go to tailgates nor have I ever been to a tailgate…but I think if I were to do something along those lines I would probably just have a tailgating party at my house, to celebrate it being my first tailgate. Plus then I would be able to use my entire kitchen instead of one of those tiny grills or whatever it is that people at use at real tailgates. I’d prolly do Budweiser-poached bratwursts and then throw ‘em on the grill until they got a little crispy, throw it in a hot dog bun, and top ‘er off with caramelized onion, some Betty Jo’s Hot Chow-Chow, and maybe a little PRB yella mustard, if I was feelin’ crazy.
Stewart’s Beer Brats
Serves 8 (this is obviously not a huge party)
Total time: 45 minutes
8 PRB bratwursts
8 hoagie rolls or hot dog buns, toasted
2 onions, sliced
4 12 oz. cans Budweiser
1 jar Betty Jo’s Hot Chow-Chow
1 jar PRB yellow mustard
- Combine beer and onions in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add bratwurst and submerge in beer.
- Reduce heat to medium and cook for another 10-12 minutes, or until bratwurst is firm to the touch.
- Remove bratwursts from beer mixture and set aside.
- Reduce heat to low and continue cooking the onions until most of the liquid is cooked out.
- Add boiled bratwurst to a preheated grill over medium-high heat and cook, turning once, about 5-10 minutes or until craspy.
- Nestle bratwurst inside a toasted bun, top with beer-braised onions, Betty Jo’s Hot Chow-Chow, and PRB yella mustard, if desired.
I like my brats with too much sauerkraut. If there’s not too much sauerkraut, then there’s not enough sauerkraut. When I was a kid growing up my dad was a huge fan of the stuff and ate it all the time; I always thought it was disgusting and smelled horrible. But when I was in junior high and was developing more of an adult palate, I finally tried it and realized that it is the best thing in the entire world and since then I’ve loved it. So if I’m the one bringing the food for a tailgate, it’s definitely going to be sauerkraut and brats. Because bratwursts are the ideal vehicle for sauerkraut, and I always want to eat that, and since tailgating is pretty mini-grill-friendly as far as cooking things goes, bratwursts just make sense.
Alex’s Homemade Kraut n’ Brats
Total time: at least 1 week
8 hot dog buns
1 pound green cabbage, shredded
1 Tbs. salt
1 empty and sanitized quart-sized Mason Jar
- Sanitize a large bowl. With clean hands, mix shredded cabbage with salt, using hands to combine fully. Agitate the cabbage very thoroughly, squeezing and pressing with hands in order to release water.
- Once mixed thoroughly and agitated, and once the water level is covering the cabbage, put cabbage-water mixture into sanitized mason jar and seal so it’s air tight.
- Allow it to sit at room temperature for 1 week and then taste. If it tastes good, great! If not, let it sit for longer until it reaches your desired tartness.
- Once it’s game day, bring along your kraut—all of it, if you’re tailgating with Alex. We know he’ll want a lot.
- Fire up your grill and bring it to about medium heat. Throw the brats on and cook for roughly 5 minutes a side, or until firm to the touch. Then crank up the heat and allow the sausages to get a little char on the outside, about 1 minute.
- Remove from grill, add brat to a toasted bun, top with loads of kraut, and enjoy.
Ribs. Duh. Pork ribs. I use a dry BBQ rub, like the one we sell here at the shop. I like that better than a sauce because it gives better texture…and also cause I created it. But yeah, I think ribs are the best tailgating food because you don’t have to use a fork or a plate to eat them. Just your hands. And a napkin. I season the ribs with BBQ rub before I cook them, and then the spices get all caramelized on the outside of the ribs and it’s delicious and crispy, and then I usually sprinkle a little extra on there once they’re done. The best thing about ribs is that you can even do them the night before, so when you get to your parking spot of choice, all you’ve got to do is reheat them on the grill.
Chris’s Dry-Rubbed Barbecue Pork Ribs
Total time: 6 hours
3 racks o’ pork ribs (from us, obviously)
1 jar PRB Dry BBQ Rub
1 c. apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 250o F. Season both sides of ribs liberally with BBQ seasoning, and rub into the ribs.
- Roast ribs for 5 hours, or until crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
- If you have a smoker, you can smoke the ribs for 6 hours at 225o F.
- When it’s tailgate time on game day, fire up your grill and throw the ribs on there for another hour, just to get them re-warmed and re-crispy.
- Remove ribs from the grill. Brush them with apple cider vinegar and then sprinkle them with a fresh dusting of BBQ rub.
- Slice and enjoy.
I mean I like watching football, but I’m pretty sure I haven’t been to an actual tailgate in about ten years. If I did happen to go though, I’d make barbecue—I mean, I make it every Saturday for the Gambling Stick—so yeah, I’d probably make barbecue for a tailgate, since that’s my favorite.
Not allowed. Say something different.
What?? Okay, let me think. Second choice is a PRB shortrib dog topped with baked beans and slaw. They’re definitely messy, and probably not good for “real tailgating” where you don’t have a table, but they’re kind of a guy food so I guess that also makes them tailgating food, right?
Russo’s Tennessee Bean n’ Slaw Dogs
Total time 10 hours
10 shortrib hot dogs from PRB
10 hot dog buns
For the Beans:
1 lb. dried navy beans
1 lb. onion, large dice
2 quarts chicken or pork stock
1/2 c. ketchup
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. PRB Dry BBQ Rub
1/2 lb. bacon lardons
For the Slaw:
1 head cabbage
1 ½ c. mayonnaise
2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs. honey
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 bunch scallions, sliced small
Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 2000 F.
- Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add bacon lardons and sauté until crispy. Set aside.
- Add navy beans, onion, stock, ketchup, cider vinegar, honey, PRB dry BBQ rub, and bacon lardons to a large bowl. Stir to mix together. Pour into either a heavy bottomed Dutch oven with a lid or a casserole dish with aluminum foil wrapped tight over the top to cover.
- Bake in the oven overnight, for 8-10 hours, or until the beans are tender.
- Shred head of cabbage and transfer to a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, cider vinegar, honey, mustard powder, and scallions. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour dressing over cabbage and toss to coat. Set aside.
- Cook the hot dogs using whatever method you prefer: the grill, cast-iron skillet, or even (shhh don’t tell us) the microwave.
- Put cooked dog inside a toasted hot dog bun and top with baked beans and finally coleslaw. Find a napkin and enjoy.