Grilled Haute Dog Bar

According to the National Hotdog and Sausage Council (yes, there is truly a National Hotdog and Sausage Council), from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 818 hotdogs are consumed every second in the United States of America. Yes. 818. Every. Second!

Do the math. That’s one collective nation of hotdog-loving Americans feverously devouring 6.8555 billion hotdogs in span of less than 100 days. Yes, Billion! As in, 6,855,500,000.00!

Now, I’ve attended countless barbeques in my day witnessing first-hand the good, great, ugly and shamefully embarrassing of grilled franks, wieners and red hot link presentations. With Labor Day quickly approaching and the unofficial end of hotdog season lumbering around third base and barreling into home, the juncture has arrived to both tune up your dog game and throw down one last hotdog hurrah – sending this summer off in grandest of fashions.

Read onward as I leave behind the ketchup and mustard, share two of my very favorite Haute Dog recipes, and five grill master best practices – ensuring your place is once again reaffirmed in the pantheon of, “Backyard Barbeque Legends.”

  1. First and foremost, make best friends with your local butcher! Purchasing quality meats in natural casings, without the unnecessary additives, fillers, and preservatives is first step to consistent, phenomenal results – every time – and, ensuring your friends continue to accept your barbeque invitations!
  1. Always start with the end in mind. The objective of grilling hot dogs is to moderately brown and carbonize the exterior, slowly elevate the internal temperature to 170F, and ensure the delicate natural casing is not ruptured during the grilling process – delivering the perfect “snap” when bitten into – juicy and full of flavor to the very last bite!
  1. 2-zone Grilling Method: The professional cooking method to controlling direct & indirect heat application on the grate surface.


1-burner grill – grill direct heat over the single burner, while leverage the elevated warming shelf, lined with tin foil, to remove the meat from immediate contact with the grill grates.
2-burner grill – heat the right side to medium-high and leave the left side off.
3-burner grill – heat the far right side to hot, the middle to low-medium and the left side off.
4-burner grill – heat the two right zones to medium-high and leave the two left zones off.


Ignite the charcoal in a chimney starter. When coals are glowing red, dump coals onto the grill floor. Rake coals, pushing ⅔ to one side of the grill, slanting the remaining coals to the opposite side of the grill, establishing high-piled 1 hot zone and 1 cooler zone. For every hour of cooking, add a half-stack of coals.

  1. Slow and steady wins the race! Lay the dogs parallel over the indirect heat grill grates, resting between the grates, not across them. Rotate one ¼ turn every 2-3 minutes until browned on all sides. Then, move the dogs to direct heat charring the exterior, rotating ¼ turn every 60 seconds, ensuring that the casing does not rupture. Allow to rest 3-5 minutes before stuffing in a lightly toasted bun to serve.
  1. Leave the ketchup in the refrigerator. Haute dog bars are all about big, bold flavors, bright colors, thinking outside the box, putting a fresh twist on an old classic, having fun and giving your guests the option to mix and match their favorite ingredients. Your only limitation is your sense of creativity!


The Wrigleyville


  • All-beef hot dogs
  • Poppy seed hot dog buns, lightly toasted over the grill
  • Sweet onions, finely diced
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Kosher pickle spear
  • Neon-green pickle relish
  • Sport peppers
  • Yellow mustard
  • Celery salt, to taste


  1. Prepare the grill to medium-high, using the 2-zone grilling method. Lay the dogs parallel over the indirect heat grill grates, resting between the grates, not across them.
  2. Rotate one ¼ turn every 2-3 minutes until browned on all sides. Then, move the dogs to direct heat charring the exterior, rotating ¼ turn every 60 seconds, ensuring that the casing does not rupture.
  3. Allow to rest 3-5 minutes before stuffing and dressing the dog in a lightly toasted bun to serve.
Bayou Surf and Turf Haute Dog


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Shallots, finely diced
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups Gulf Coast shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 cup scallops, trimmed and rinsed
  • 2 cups lump crab meat
  • ¼ cup Cajun or Creole seasoning
  • 1 level teaspoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup white table wine
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
  • Angus beef hotdogs
  • French rolls, sliced, lightly buttered and toasted over the grill
  • Parsley, finely chopped, to garnish


  1. Prepare the grill to medium-high, using the 2-zone grilling method.
  2. In a cast iron sauté pan warm butter and oil over direct heat. Sauté shallots and garlic until beginning to caramelize.
  3. Add shrimp and scallops, cooking until shrimp tails just begin to curl. Toss in crab and seasonings.
  4. Pour in wine. Stir intermittently until wine is reduced. Remove from heat, season to taste and set aside.
  5. Lay the dogs parallel over the indirect heat grill grates, resting between the grates, not across them.
  6. Rotate one ¼ turn every 2-3 minutes until browned on all sides. Then, move the dogs to direct heat charring the exterior, rotating ¼ turn every 60 seconds, ensuring that the casing does not rupture.
  7. Allow to rest 3-5 minutes before stuffing in a sliced and lightly toasted French roll and dressing to the nine’s. Garnish with parsley to serve.
Gold Coast Grand Coney Chili Dog


    For the chili:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4-6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 large can petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 3 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon each dried oregano and thyme
  • 16oz can chili beans, drained
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn
  • For the haute dog:
  • 2 golden Yukon potatoes, cut lengthwise into steak fries
  • Garlic powder, a pinch of sugar, Kosher salt and fresh ground peppercorn, to taste
  • All-beef Kosher Hotdogs, in the casing
  • Traditional hotdog buns, toasted over the grill
  • Red onion, diced
  • Cheddar cheese, shredded


  1. Prepare the grill to medium-high, using the 2-zone grilling method.
  2. In a cast iron Dutch oven warm oil over direct heat. Sauté onion and garlic. Add beef and brown. Drain of excess grease.
  3. Move the pot over indirect heat grill grates, add all remaining ingredients except beans, stir to combine, cover the lid and simmer for 1 hour. Add beans and cook uncovered for final 10 -15 minutes until desired consistency achieved.
  4. Remove from heat. Extract bay leaf. Season to taste and set aside.
  5. Meanwhile, toss potatoes fries in olive oil, garlic powder, sugar, salt and pepper. Grill over direct heat grill grates, turning every 2-3 minutes until crisp, well-charred and cooked through. Set aside.
  6. At the same time, lay the dogs parallel over the indirect heat grill grates, resting between the grates, not across them. Rotate one ¼ turn every 2-3 minutes until browned on all sides. Then, move the dogs to direct heat charring the exterior, rotating ¼ turn every 60 seconds, ensuring that the casing does not rupture. Remove from the grill and allow to rest 3-5 minutes.
  7. Load the bun with the perfectly grill dog. Dress with grilled steak fries, chili, onion and shredded cheese. Serve!

Surf and Turf Haute Dog

Use Your Grill To Season Your Food

Every ingredient has a flavor. My favorite part of cooking is learning to understand which flavors are complementary and how different combinations affect the final taste of a dish. With so many combinations, I’m a total advocate of only using recipes for inspiration and making each one your own. Each meal can be a completely new experience.

With most cooking techniques, all you need to worry about is the flavor of the ingredients. The spices, the meats, the vegetables and fruits — everything can be cooked together in pots or on a baking sheet and the flavor remains the same. A grill, however, is completely different. The grill should not only be treated like a heat source, but as an actual ingredient with its own flavor profile. And even within the grilling world, the flavor of each type of grill varies wildly.


Gas grills are stable and dependable, but don’t impart much of a unique flavor. The high heat and direct metal contact with the grates create char and caramelization, which can cause residual smokiness, but any naturally occurring smoke will be mild. If you’d like to get more smoke out of your gas grilling, try creating your own smoke box with a cooling rack and foil tray.


Charcoal grills require significantly more attention than a gas grill, but the flavor of a charcoal grill makes it worthwhile for many. The heat is more intense than with most gas grills and the smokiness is more concentrated. Using lump charcoal, as opposed to briquettes, is even better and releases smoke that smells of the wood it was made from.

Wood Fired

Wood-fired grills are primal, both in function and flavor. Each type of wood you burn releases smoke unique to itself. Hickory is deep and rich. Apple is lighter and sweet. Choose your wood the same way you’d choose any other ingredient. Keep in mind that if a fruit would pair well with a meat (apples and pork come to mind), smoke from its wood mostly likely will, too.

Once you understand the impact your specific grill has on the food you cook on it, you’ll find it easier to produce consistently great grilled food. If using a gas grill or even charcoal, try adding different types of wood chips to see what impact it has. You may be surprised at the culinary doors that open up to you.

Apple-Smoked Brats with Apple Butter and Sauerkraut



    For the brats
  • 6 bratwurst sausages, uncooked
  • 2 cups apple juice
  • 2 large handfuls applewood chips
  • Fixings
  • 6 brat buns
  • Apple butter
  • Spicy brown mustard
  • Sauerkraut


    Soak the bratwurst
  1. Put bratwurst in a ziplock bag, add the apple juice, remove as much excess air as possible and seal the bag. Let sit for 3-5 hours.
  2. Smoke the bratwurst
  3. Preheat grill on medium-high heat.
  4. Fill the bottom of a foil tray with a single layer of applewood chips and cover the tray with a metal cooking rack.
  5. Place the foil tray on the grill and add the bratwurst to the cooling rack so as the wood chips release their smoke it will envelope the brats.
  6. Close the grill lid and allow the brats to cook for 25 minutes. DO NOT OPEN THE LID!
  7. Assemble the brats
  8. Dress each bun with apple butter and mustard. Add a brat to each and top with sauerkraut.


Blowtorch Ribs

It’s tailgating time so bust out the blowtorch! What? You read that right. You want to be the king of the parking lot pitmasters? Bust out the blowtorch the next time you grill up a mess of ribs. Let me show you how.

Blowtorch Ribs Ingredients:

  • 1 slab of baby back ribs, membrane removed
  • 1 quart apple juice (cider is even better)
  • ¼ cup salt
  • Your favorite rub
  • 2 heaping tablespoons peach preserves
  • 1 heaping tablespoon hot pepper jelly
  • 1.5 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

Brine the ribs overnight by placing the rack of baby backs in a resealable plastic bag along with the apple juice and salt. Slosh the liquid around to dissolve the salt and place in the fridge for 2-12 hours.

Before heading to the game, remove the ribs from the brine, pat them dry with paper towels and then coat with your favorite rub and store in plastic bags for the trip to the stadium.

Also, mix up the preserves, pepper jelly and Worcestershire and store in a plastic container with a lid.

At the stadium, spark up your travel grill, in this case a Char-Broil® 500X. Put coals and smoke wood on one side and the ribs, sliced in half in a rib rack, on the other side. Target temp inside the grill is 300 degrees:

Blowtorch Ribs - 13 of 16

Close the lid and play some bags or toss the football around. At 30 minutes, take a peek and add any smoke wood or fuel as needed. Here’s what mine looked like after 30 minutes:

Blowtorch Ribs - 14 of 16

After an hour, my ribs are darkening up nicely and forming a nice crust:

Blowtorch Ribs - 15 of 16

The ribs look pretty good, but the bones are not peeking out enough:

Blowtorch Ribs - 16 of 16

Pro Tip ~ Don’t watch the clock when grilling ribs. Watch the bones. When they peek out about half an inch, they’re done.

At around two hours at 300 degrees the bones will be peeking out enough and we know that the ribs are just about done.

Take that glaze and pour it into a Pyrex measuring cup and place over the heat on the grill to melt all the gelatins. Make sure to remove the cup from the grill with a towel or protective glove as it will be very hot. Then spoon the saucy glaze over the meat side of the ribs:

Now bust out the blowtorch! The trick here is to only let the tip of the flame hit the glaze. Also, move the flame back and forth slowly so it bubbles the glaze rather than scorching it:

Blowtorch Ribs - 7 of 16

The goal is to bubble the glaze and cook it down to make it gooey and thick. So roll the torch over the glaze for 2-3 minutes for each half slab. Let the ribs cool and the glaze set for a couple minutes before slicing and serving:

But how are ribs smoked on such a small grill? Perfect ribs are tender with a crisp, clean bite that pulls free from the bone without the meat falling off the bone. In other words, it looks like this:

Blowtorch Ribs - 12 of 16

If you are specifically looking for fall-off-the-bone ribs, after 90 minutes wrap the ribs in foil with a few ounces of beer and put back on the grill for about an hour. When they come out of the foil, they will fall off the bone. Hit them with the glaze and then the blowtorch.

Make sure to pack extra paper towels. These bad boys can be messy:

Blowtorch Ribs - 1 of 16


A Griller’s Guide to Tailgating

It’s one thing to grill at home. You have the comfort of your own kitchen just a few feet away. Grilling for a tailgate is a lot more complex. You’re essentially on a camping trip. A camping trip to a parking lot. You need to pack and prepare wisely. With these easy tips you’ll have a low stress tailgate and a good game plan for all the action that’s going to happen before the real game.

Food Preparation / Menu
The key to making a tailgate low stress is to pick a menu that is easy to pull off in a parking lot. That means it’s smarter to do most of the preparation at home. If you are stuffing cheeseburgers, stuff them at home. If anything needs to be wrapped in bacon, go ahead and do that at home. If you have a large side dish such as macaroni and cheese, prepare it at home and reheat it at the tailgate.

Not only will preparing your food at home give you more time to focus on grilling and serving your guests but it also allows the flavors to penetrate. If you have a burger with a dry rub on it, traveling to the tailgate allows the salt from the rub to penetrate into the meat a bit more. The same goes for chicken wings in a marinade, for example. Putting wings in a marinade the night before allows the flavors to penetrate.

A bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed hot dog is great tailgate fare.
A bacon-wrapped cheese-stuffed hot dog is great tailgate fare.

Packing and Preparation
Preparing the meal is only half the battle when it comes to tailgating. You need to recreate all the comforts of home but in a parking lot. And you need to be able to fit it all in your car or truck. First you need a checklist of essential items.

• You need a lighter, newspaper, charcoal and a charcoal chimney to get your grill going. For serving you’ll need plates, napkins, forks and some condiments.
• People also like to sit down so pack some chairs and bring some games to play and a radio for the pre-game show.
• Bring a cooler big enough to stock beer, sodas and water.
• Trash bags are critical because you’ll accumulate a lot of mess and no one wants to walk far away to throw it out.
• When transporting a grill, such as the Char-Broil® Kettleman™ charcoal grill, it’s smart to sit it on a trash bag and also cover the top with a trash bag. The small ash tin can also be contained in a trash bag to avoid spilling any leftover ash. So when you are packing the grill, be mindful of how the grill is positioned in the car and make sure that it is covered with some trash bags.

Parking Spot Selection
When you pull into the parking lot you will have some options, especially if you get there early enough. Think about where you want to be. Is rain in the forecast? If so, look for cover from a tree or a bridge. Where is the Port-a-Potty? Trust me, you don’t want to be right next to it. What are your potential neighbors like? Are they blasting music that you can’t stand? If you don’t like cigarette smoke, then look out for people smoking and don’t park next to them.

Last, look for a public trash can and a hot coal disposal drum. Usually parking lots will have red painted charcoal disposal drums for getting rid of hot coals.

Cooking and Shutdown
The first thing to do when you arrive at the tailgate is to light the Kettleman™ grill. Ball up some newspaper and put it underneath a full charcoal chimney and light the paper. After about 10 minutes the coals can be dumped on one side of the grill.

It’s always smart to cook with an indirect and direct area of heat. The area of the grill with no charcoal will still cook your food but not as quickly as the area directly over the charcoal. Having an indirect area allows you to safely store food in case you start to burn something. If the heat is too high, move the food to the less intense indirect area of the grill.

As soon as the food is off the grill, close all of the vents and let the fire go out. Use oven mitts or heavy duty grill gloves to remove the ash pan and carry it over to the hot charcoal drum and dump out the coals. Do this as soon as possible so the grill has adequate time to cool before loading into the truck or car. I like to do this about one hour prior to game time. This give you about 25 minutes to cool the grill, a few more minutes to pack everything up and then enough time to find your seats.

Tailgate BBQ Pork Tacos

Here in California we love Mexican food every day of the year, which is not surprising given the rich history of our state. Mexican favorites are often served at football game tailgate parties, Super Bowl parties and whenever friends get together. But you don’t have to be from California to enjoy burritos, enchiladas and tacos. They are filling, delicious and so easy to make all year long.

This month I cooked a small pork roast on my Char-Broil 3-Burner grill, adding a smoky goodness to the meat and enhancing the tacos I made with it. Coating the meat with a simple dry rub (homemade or store-bought) makes a huge difference.

Tailgate Pork Tacos


I went to the store looking for pork tenderloins but came home with a sirloin roast instead. The two cuts are similar to a beef filet vs. a rib-eye steak. The filet is incredibly tender but doesn’t have much taste while the rib-eye is a bit chewier but full of beef flavor. I prefer the rib-eye any day.

The increased chewiness may be interpreted as toughness, but by brining the pork roast (which is the best way to help retain moisture), you can slightly tenderize the meat, improving the texture. The salt in the brine is pulled into the roast by the process of osmosis, starting to break down the proteins, loosening the strands and helping to trap in the juices as it cooks.

Tailgate Pork Tacos


Because of the extremely low fat content, pork has a tendency to dry out when cooked. In addition to tenderizing, brining will help keep any cut of pork moister, protecting it during the cooking process. Even one hour in the brine will help.

Another thing that will help is the technology behind the TRU-Infrared grills from Char-Broil. The non-convection heating helps reduce evaporation and keeps foods moister.

Many of the cuts of pork available in grocery stores are enhanced (I use that term loosely) with injections or are pre-marinated. The purpose of these enhancements is to hide lower quality products from confined animal feeding operations. This changes the texture and flavor of the meat, and in many cases, adds a hidden source of gluten.


Tailgate Pork Tacos
Toppings for the BBQ Pork Tacos


Before World War II, most pigs were raised on family farms and allowed to forage naturally outdoors. This exercise and the fat they put on naturally to survive cold winters created juicy, flavorful and tender meat, pink hued and well marbled. Those of us above a certain age will remember how much better pork tasted when we were young.

For the best flavor and to support humane treatment, buy heirloom breeds such as Berkshire, Duroc or Red Wattle. Heritage breeds are typically raised in a natural environment with the ability to root in search of food in much the same way as their ancestors did. If you do not have a butcher near you, many great options are available for purchase online.

Whenever I see heritage pork on a restaurant menu, I always order it. With every bite I am transported back to the flavors of my childhood.


Tailgate Pork Tacos

With today’s recipe, you can have a delightful dinner on the table with very little fuss. While the meat is brining, you can make the dry rub, cut up the toppings and get everything ready. Then set up a buffet where everyone can add exactly what they want to their tacos without you having to be a short-order cook.

BBQ Pork Tacos


Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 3 hours

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

Serving Size: -

Calories per serving: -

Fat per serving: -

Brined and rubbed pork makes an excellent stuffing for authentic Mexican tacos.


    Simple Brine (per pound of meat)
  • 6 cups cold water
  • 4 tablespoons granulated cane sugar
  • 6 tablespoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt, 4 tablespoons Morton’s kosher salt or 3 tablespoons table salt
  • 3 tablespoons complementary dried herbs or seasonings, optional
  • All Purpose BBQ Dry Rub (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup paprika
  • 2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, such as Ancho powder, or a store brand
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper, optional (leave out for mild rub)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher or fine sea salt, preferably Diamond Crystal brand
  • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper (cut this back if needed for milder rub)
  • BBQ Pork
  • 2 pork tenderloins (not marinated or enhanced) or 1 pork sirloin roast (about 2 to 3 pounds)
  • Olive or vegetable oil
  • Dry rub (from above)
  • 8 to 12 corn tortillas (gluten-free if needed)
  • Taco Toppings, optional
  • Grated cheese
  • Chopped fresh tomatoes
  • Finely sliced green onions
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Taco sauce or salsa, if desired


  1. Prepare the Brine: In a non-reactive container or large resealable plastic bag, combine the ingredients. If you want you can add any of the seasonings that will be used in the final preparation to add flavor. Stir until the sugar and salt are completely dissolved in the water. The recipe is for 1 pound of meat. For larger cuts scale the recipe up accordingly. You shouldn’t need to make more than 2 gallons of brine.
  2. Add your pork to the brine, seal the container, and place in the refrigerator. If the liquid doesn’t completely cover the meat, turn it occasionally as it rests. Brine the meat for 1 to 8 hours.
  3. Make the Dry Rub: In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients. Stir with a fork until evenly blended. Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry area. Double or triple the blend and have it on hand whenever you need a rub. You can add other seasonings and herbs to it to customize it for each recipe. I keep a large jar in my cupboard and can get a meal pulled together quickly.
  4. Remove the pork from the brine and thoroughly pat it dry with paper towels. Coat the roast with a heavy layer of the dry rub, patting it onto all surfaces. Set the roast on the counter for about 45 minutes to come to room temperature and draw in the flavor of the rub.
  5. Cook the Pork: Preheat your Char-Broil TRU Infrared gas grill on high for 15 minutes. Scrub the grates clean and rub with a paper towel drizzled with oil. Brush the pork roast lightly with the oil and set on the center of the grill. Lower the center burner to low and the side burners to medium low. Close the cover and cook for 15 minutes. Turn the roast over and cook for another 10 to 20 minutes or until it reaches 140 degrees in the center.
  6. Remove from the grill, place on a clean baking sheet, tent loosely with foil and set aside to rest for at least 20 minutes.
  7. Cut the pork into thin slices and stack several of them together. Cut the stacks into 1/2-inch cubes. Place in a bowl and pour accumulated juices from the baking sheet and cutting board over the pork.
  8. Set up a buffet with the pork, tortillas and whatever toppings you like. Let everyone assemble their own tacos. Serve with a lightly tossed cabbage slaw if desired.

Best Tailgate Burger Recipe

It might still feel like summer but the marching bands have started playing, the whistles are blowing and the teams have taken the field.  That can mean only one thing and that is tailgating season is here.  Sure they call it football season, but we all know it’s really about good food and fun with friends.

Tailgating at the stadium is the best, in my opinion. There’s just something about the atmosphere and camaraderie of being with 100,000 of your closest “friends.”  But when the team is traveling for away games, we like to make do and tailgate at home.  Here are some of the ways you can recreate the atmosphere of stadium tailgating in your own backyard.

  1. Fire Up The Grill – One of the better things about tailgating at home is that you get to use your bigger home grill instead of the tiny one that fits in your vehicle.
  2. Hands-On Entertainment – People often play games at stadium-based tailgates such as cornhole or just tossing the football.  Break out the activities in the backyard.  Lawn darts anyone?
  3. Team Decorations – Use team-colored tablecloths, napkins, and cups to liven up the Game Day spirit.  Sure you can spend big $$ on official team logo tableware, but you can do it on the cheap by hitting the dollar store or even the grocery store.  Around here I often find non-logo plates and such in Tennessee Orange.
  4. Pregame Show – We always have the radio pregame show on at stadium tailgates because we don’t drag a TV and satellite dish down to the event (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  So to set the mood at home, we’ll turn down the TV and have the radio on until kick off.
  5. Help Yourself Servings – Set everything up in self-serve fashion just like at the stadium.  A tub full of ice and beverages and a buffet table will keep your guests happy and leave you free to enjoy yourself.
  6. Friends – As important as the food is, friends really make the tailgate.  Get them all to come, even if they say they are too busy.  Life is too short to mow the lawn every weekend, right?  They’ll thank you for it later.  Hopefully.  Or at least they won’t press charges for kidnapping.
  7. Camaraderie with Strangers – One of the great things about tailgates is that bond you have with everyone in the same team color.  You will cut up and party with strangers at a tailgate even if you are an introvert during the week.  So for your home tailgate, invite someone new along.  Maybe that new guy at work or the neighbor who just moved in.
  8. Make It Interesting – At our neighborhood tailgates for away games, some people like to play that game where you put numbers on a grid and buy a square for a dollar.  If the numbers for your square are the last digits of the final score, you win the pot.  Only do this if it is legal in your state, of course.
  9. Charge for Parking – To really make it like a stadium tailgate, charge your guests for parking!  Okay, I’m kidding on that one.
  10. Portable Food – Tailgates are all about one-handed food.  How else are you going to hold a frosty beverage, too?

Whether you are tailgating at the stadium or at home, these Pigskin Burgers are just the ticket for Game Day.  The triple threat combination of bacon, brats and ground pork pack in the flavor.  No boring burgers on your watch – wake up the tailgate with the Pigskin Burger!

Brats, bacon and pork – how can these Pigskin Burgers not be great?

Tailgate Recipes
Notice that the BBQ sauce is on the side burner in the picture above.  Even if you are using a bottled sauce, always warm it up slightly before serving.
Pigskin Burger for Game-Day Tailgates


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 burgers

Pigskin Burgers combine three types of pork for a punch of flavor.


  • 12 ounces ground pork
  • 8 ounces all-pork bratwursts, removed from casing and crumbled
  • 4 ounces smoked bacon, finely diced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons BBQ rub
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 kaiser rolls
  • Spray oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce, warmed


  1. Gently mix together the ground pork, crumbled brats, diced bacon and BBQ rub. Divide into four equal portions and form each into burger patties.
  2. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to help the patties set.
  3. Preheat your Char-Broil grill to medium-high heat (500 degrees).
  4. Lightly butter the split kaiser buns and toast them on the grill. Remove.
  5. Lightly spritz the burger patties with spray oil and then season with salt and pepper.
  6. Place the burger patties on the grill and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 165-170 degrees, about 5 minutes per side.
  7. Place on toasted buns, top with warm BBQ sauce and any other toppings you desire, then serve.


I like using the 8-inch deli sheets when refrigerating the uncooked burgers because it makes it easier to handle and store the patties without them sticking together.

pork, hamburger, burger, tailgate, gameday

Tailgating Tips

The games are won and lost on the grid iron, but real legends are born on the tailgate and flatbed of a 2,000-pound, gas-guzzling, 4×4 diesel truck.

With tailgate season here, it’s time to put serious consideration to your Super Saturday and Sunday Funday culinary game!  To get you kicked off, I offer these five insider tips for throwing the tailgate party of all tailgate parties.

  1. Set the standard for all tailgate parties from henceforth. Arrive at least two hours prior to game time packed with the baddest grill on the block – the Char-Broil® TRU-Infrared™ Grill2Go.  And, although this grill boasts extremely efficient use of propane, ensure you’re loaded with extra tanks of fuel because you’re gonna have a crowd to feed.
  2. If it can be prepared in advance, make it happen – sauces, marinades, condiments, vodka-infused watermelons, etc.
  3. At best, fall weather can be unpredictable.  At worst, it could rain, shine and snow all in one afternoon.  If there’s less than a 97 percent chance of clear skies, load up a portable canopy, long sleeves and waterproof jackets.  Just remember, leave no doubt to your loyalties – whether it’s your throwback championship jersey, long sleeves or rain jacket – always dress in team colors. Always!
  4. Necessities: One emergency first aid kit.  Cheap fold-up chairs.  Footballs and backyard games.  Copious amounts of garbage bags, plastic storage containers, tin foil, ice (lots and lots of ice), bottled water, high quality disposable plates and eating utensils, disinfectant cleaning spray, dish soap and a large plastic tub for cleaning dirty dishes.
  5. Cultivate critical pregame karma for the home team. Meet and greet with your neighbors. And, if executed effectively, you’ve also laid the foundation to one heck of a progressive tailgate party – from tent to tent, party to party – mouth-watering barbeque, cold drinks and great friends.

From tailgate to guest’s plates in 45 minutes. Prepare for tailgating glory!

You’ve got the tailgate machine appropriately stocked and you’re ready to rock. Your moment of glory is at hand: Chicken drumsticks grilled to tender, smoky perfection, caramelized in a tangy Balsamic-Ginger Asian Zing Glaze.  Garnished with grated heirloom carrots, spring onion, sea salt and freshly ground peppercorn, then served with copious amounts of ice cold Sapporo brewski.  This is the Big Dog Champion of tailgate chicken recipes – A Bachelor & His Grill’s Asian Zing Drumsticks!

Balsamic-Ginger Asian Zing Chicken Drumsticks


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 1 1/2 Cups

Serving Size: --

Calories per serving: --

Fat per serving: --

Tangy, sweet and spicy Asian glaze - caramelized over grilled chicken drumsticks!


    Balsamic-Ginger Glaze
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chinese five spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Everything Else
  • 3 pounds chicken drumsticks, trimmed
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil, plus additional for basting
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic powder
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • A Bachelor & His Grill’s Ginger-Balsamic Glaze
  • Carrots, finely grated, to garnish
  • Spring onions, chopped, to garnish


    Creating The Glaze:
  1. In a heavy bottom sauce pan over medium heat, bring the canola oil to a gentle simmer. Add the onion and garlic, sauteing 10-15 minutes, or until the onion is just caramelized.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer and cover. Stirring occasionally, cook until volume reduces by 1/3 to 1/2.
  3. Remove from heat and pour the sauce into a food processor. Puree until smooth.
  4. Set aside until ready for use.
  5. Cooking The Drumsticks
  6. In a resealable plastic bag combine chicken, oil, garlic and seasonings. Massage marinade into all portions of the meat and refrigerate for 1 hour up to overnight. 30 minutes prior to grilling remove meat from refrigeration, allowing chicken to arrive near room temperature.
  7. Meanwhile, prepare the Ginger-Balsamic Glaze.
  8. Preheat grill to medium (400°F), building a 2-zone heating surface (see notes below).
  9. Lay the chicken on the grill over indirect heat for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145°F, turning and basting occasionally.
  10. Turn all the grill burners to high heat and begin liberally brushing the chicken with the Ginger-Balsamic Glaze.
  11. Grill for an additional 5-10 minutes, rotating and brushing every few minutes as the sauce caramelizes around the chicken. Remove the chicken from the grill once the internal temperature reaches 160°F. Brush again with a heavy coating of sauce and place under a tin foil tent for 3-5 minutes to rest.
  12. Garnish with grated carrots and chopped onions. Season additionally to taste. Serve alongside a big win from the Home Team!


Creating a 2-zone Grilling Surface: 1-burner grill – leverage the warming shelf, lined with tin foil, to remove the meat from direct contact with the grill grates. | 2-burner grill – heat the right side to hot and leave the left side off. | 3-burner grill – heat the far right side to hot, the middle to low-medium and the left side off. | 4-burner grill – heat the two right zones to high and leave the two left zones off.


Tailgate Pulled Pork

Everybody loves your pulled pork. The question is how can you make it without missing any of the party or game?

You know the scenario: The game starts at noon, which means the tailgate party starts somewhere between dawn and breakfast. It takes at least 12 hours to smoke a pork shoulder, but sometimes it stalls out and takes 14. If you start it at 10 p.m. the night before, you’ll make the party or the game, but you might also sleep through it all.

Here are two different methods to make sure you get to have fun, too.

#1: The Warm Cooler Method: You really can sleep while smoking a perfect pork butt. Follow my pulled pork recipe on The Big Easy™ and dream of your team winning while The Big Easy™ does all the work. Wake up and smell the perfect pork butt.

Now transporting that smoked pork to the tailgate takes a little finesse. You want to keep it warm for a number of hours while it’s Bloody Mary time, and pull the pork to oohs and ahhs at the tailgate. You also want to be sure the pork doesn’t fall below 140°F for more than four hours for food safety.

Here’s a time tested method of keeping your pork warm that actually improves it. When your shoulder reaches the desired temperature on the Big Easy™ (about 185-190°F), heat a small cooler by pouring hot water in it. Wrap your hot pork butt in multiple layers of plastic wrap so it is sealed. Pour out the hot water and place the pork in the toasty cooler-turned-insulated warmer. Take it to the tailgate and enjoy. Don’t forget to bring a pan, sauce, buns and utensils for pulling the pork.

#2 The Planning-Makes-Perfect Method: This is the obvious one. Make it a day ahead! Smoked pork shoulder, whether it’s the full bone-in “picnic” or boneless “Boston butt” cut, is one of the most forgiving cuts of meat and it just gets better with time. Smoke your pork a day ahead and let it rest for 30-40 minutes. Pull it and chill, covered, in the refrigerator.

One hour before the pre-game party, add some of your favorite barbecue sauce – just a little to moisten the meat. You don’t need to drown that beautiful smoked pork. Then reheat it in a casserole pan, covered with foil, at 250°F in the oven. Stir it a few times. Carry it to the game in an insulated casserole carrier if you have it, preferably with your team’s colors.

As you can see by the not-so-subtle photographs, my team is the Huskies. I’m strictly a college ball gal. Go Dawgs!