An Eye-Opening Tailgate

Susan says…

I am not a morning person.  I am especially morning-averse on weekend mornings when I feel I have a basic human right to sleep in.  During football season, I have to give up some of those sleepy mornings or Ron will leave me behind without a second thought.

It is a well-known fact that if you are going to tailgate with Ron, you must arrive at the tailgate site no less than 4 hours prior to kickoff.   So let’s calculate:  Mountaineer kickoff at noon minus 4 hours equals 8:00 minus three hours to get there equals FIVE A.M.???  Yessiree…I had to be in the car at 5 am.  If we were married it would be cause for divorce.

After I could accept the fact that I would indeed be in said car at the appointed ungodly hour of 5 am, the next predicament was what to take. I mean, really: what does one eat and drink at 8 am with the intention of becoming slightly tanked by noon?  Hmmmm……

Ron had a plan – he would showcase his freshly harvested hot pepper assortment with a variety of spicy tex-mex style dishes. 


His menu: tortilla roll-ups with various fillings, spicy sausage breakfast burritos, chips & salsa and spicy bloody marys.

I made the salsa fresco:

5 Roma tomatoes, finely diced
½ Vidalia onion, finely diced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, (you guessed it) finely diced
½ bunch of cilantro, chopped
The juice of 1 small lime
Salt & pepper, to taste

Simply combine all the ingredients and refrigerate overnight so the flavors can marry.

We made three different tortilla roll-ups: The first one had sour cream, fresh dill, smoked salmon and strips of mild sweet pepper.  The second flavor was pumpkin puree, sour cream, oregano, diced scallions, and finely diced habenero.  And finally, the third variety included black bean puree seasoned with garlic powder, oregano, gound coriander, thinly sliced tomatillos, and strips of medium-hot pepper.  You simply spread the tortillas with a thin layer of filling and refrigerate to “set” before slicing into bite-sized pieces.

Ron’s piece de resistance was spicy sausage breakfast burritos:

1 lb. ground pork
3 hot chili peppers, diced
(Make one a scotch bonnet if you’re super-manly like Ron)
1/2 onion, diced
1 can Ro-tel diced tomatoes with chiles
2 T Sriracha
1 T ground cumin
4 eggs
1/4 c milk

Heat a couple tablespoons of EVOO or canola oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and peppers.  Cook and stir until they begin to soften.  Add the ground pork and the cumin.  After pork has browned, add the Ro-tel and sriracha.  In a separate bowl, scramble the eggs and milk and then add to the skillet.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Heat a flour tortilla.  Fill the tortilla with some of the sausage filling, some shredded cheese, and any other topping that suits you. 

Makes enough filling for 8 large tortillas.


To drink, I brought my smoothie maker and a doohickey that you can plug the smoothie maker into and then plug the doohickey into the cigarette lighter of the car.  All this effort for my sugar-free frozen strawberry margaritas.  And I never got one.  Well, I got one on the rocks – but my doohickey was smoking and I blew a fuse in the car before any of the ice got crushed.  Darn.

Ron made Spicy Bloody Marys.  It’s like a regular bloody Mary but with a splash of habanero hot sauce added for good measure.  Ron went the extra mile and infused some vodka with hot chiles to use in this recipe.

Some tips for your next tailgate:

  • Use zip-top freezer bags instead of plastic containers. You will be able to fit more in the cooler if you use the bags.  Less space needed for food = more space avaliable for beer.
  • Make the filling for the breakfast burritos the night before – bring a camping grill and a pot to reheat it.
  • Heat your tortillas on the camping grill for about 15 seconds on each side before filling.
  • Consider stopping by your favorite Mexican restaurant to buy some of their homemade tortilla chips – I got a huge amount for $5 – and they gave me a large salsa, too.
  • Don’t try to use a smoothie maker with a 400W DC to AC converter plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter.
  • Remember to bring a garbage bag with you. We tie ours to the nearest fence post.
  • Baby wipes are very handy, even if you don’t have a baby – a must-have for your tailgate.

Even with the smoothie maker debacle, it was a successful day: a Mountaineer victory (albeit a bit ugly), yummy spicy food to wake us up, and spending time with friends.

3 responses to “An Eye-Opening Tailgate

  1. WE like screwdrivers for the a.m. tailgates. OJ gets a morning going well.

  2. Great post – I had a chuckle about the doohickey that you plugged into the car. After getting up that *ungodly* hour, a couple of margaritas should have been your reward – how unfair.

    The salsa sounds yummy! Sadly I’m foodie that enjoys eating out and writing about it, but not cooking. Sure wish I lived closer so Ron would cook for me 🙂

  3. I make that exact salsa all summer long when the tomatoes are at their peak. I always de-seed and de-juice the tomatoes before I chop them because once you add the salt, the juices flow even more.

    I usually get to eat a bite or two, then my husband takes the rest to work to share with his co-workers who love it and request more. His co-workers even drink the juice that’s left over.

    I made it for my in-laws too and since that first time, they’ve also made requests for more.

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