Mailbag: Cole’d Takes – Food & Tailgating

Cole’d Takes – Food & Tailgating  // @colewagoner

Here at Matter of Quack, we’ve talked football, we’ve talked recruiting, we’ve talked coaching, and we’ve talked many things related to football in any capacity. One thing has been missing: tailgating, and specifically the food that goes with it. There is literally no one on this staff who is more qualified to food shame you than me. ((Editors Note: Fact, go check Cole’s IG))  You are probably seriously sacrificing the level of food at your tailgate, and that’s unacceptable. If your team is going to go 6-6, at least eat good food while you pretend to have hope. I reached out to my twitter followers and asked for some questions to help them step up their game day grub. Most of the questions revolved around my hatred for crock pots (seriously, cook like an adult, stop using a crock pot and buy a sous vide WHICH IS NOTHING LIKE A CROCK POT) but we did manage to get a few questions that were worth answering, and 27 others that weren’t, and you should all be ashamed of yourselves. 

Fire away…

Jon from Eugene, OR: “What’s the best food pairing for hourly shotgun parties?”

We’re going to need a little backstory here: At some point in the distant past, the Team 83 (RIP) tailgate and @jedsparty’s tailgate developed a Shotgun Party. Meet somewhere communal, stand in a circle, and shotgun a beer. It’s a lot of beer in a short amount of time, and Aussies are not allowed to participate anymore, which may require another post altogether. 

Anyways, every drink, even a Coors Light, needs some vittles. The issue at hand is progressive inebriation, so my first requirement is easy to eat. We don’t need anything spilling out onto your 13 year old Brady Leaf jersey. Second issue at hand is something to soak up that beer, and maybe let you enjoy the game in 8 hours. 

My solution? Meat. Pies. The great thing about this is you can cook them at home up to 3-4 days before the game and toss them onto any grill/smoker and warm them up in a few minutes, and the combo of possibilities are endless. Get some frozen puff pastry (seriously, nobody makes this from scratch, not even me or Thomas Keller) from the store and roll out into 6 inch x 6 inch squares. From here, fill with your favorite flavor combos of meat and veggies. My favorite would be to sauté up some beef, mushrooms, and onion in red wine and spoon a heap in the middle. Flatten out, fold the pastry in a triangle and seal edges with a fork. Bake at 425 until the puff pastry is golden. We went from Coors Light to red wine reductions. This question is answered.

Seth from Portland, OR: Beef Wellington. To be made at the tailgate, of course.

Seth did not ask me a question as much as he challenged me. “To be made at the tailgate” does not mean ENTIRELY at the tailgate, in my opinion. So, here we go. I will bow to my good friend and someone who follows me on twitter, Mr. Gordon Ramsey, the King of Wellington.

I will modify this recipe in the above link to fit my master plan, which requires most of the prep and pre-cooking at home! First, we season, sear for a couple minutes, and then cook the filet at 125F in your sous vide (because you should have one at this point and if you need one I can actually get you a good deal on an Anova, so slide into my DM’s) for 2 hours. There, the tenderloin is done and perfectly cooked, which is like 95% of the work involved in a Wellington.  Next, do step 3 in the linked recipe. After that, do step 4, 5, and 6. It’s not hard, I promise. Now, you have a perfectly cooked beef Wellington, wrapped in duxelles, ham/prosciutto, and raw puff pastry. Put this in the fridge until game day, and then transfer to a cooler for transport. At the game, you are going to toss this entire contraption on the grill/smoker for about 20 minutes of indirect heat at ~400F. This will get the outside golden brown, and since we used the magic of sous vide, the inside will remain perfectly cooked and get warm enough to eat. You make this for your tailgate, and the pain of Luke Falk throwing for 600 yards will disappear faster than Mark Helfrich in a close game.

And Finally…

Darren from Muscle Shoals, AL: Cheese Straws!

Before I moved south, I had never heard of a cheese straw. It’s basically an acceptable way to eat handfuls of cheese and still look classy, which is Southern as hell. Why have chips or pretzels, when you can eat cheese? A little effort goes a long way, and there might be a cute southern girl or guy at the neighboring tailgate who totally digs your cheese game. This recipe is stupid easy too: 4 cups shredded cheddar, 2 cups flour, 1/2 cup of softened butter, one 1 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Mix cheese and butter until softened, and add flour and salt. Mix until a dough forms. Roll out about 1/4” thick, and slice into logs/straws. Arrange on parchment covered baking sheet and bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes until done. Serve these with your finest Korbel mimosas and Win the Day!

Got foodie questions you want answered, hit Cole up at @colewagoner


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