Tailgating. The right of passage for sports fans in America. On any given Sunday in the Fall, parking lots in NFL cities swell with thousands of grill masters cooking up a wide variety of specialty foods. From porter house steaks, meticulously marinated in a secret passed down recipe to full pig roasts (we’re looking at you Oakland) the food choices are endless. Having the proper tools could be the difference between a Gatorade shower and a tailgate shunning. When it comes to grilling there is Coleman’s NXT Grill and there is everything else. This compact beast fits 18 burgers at one time, 20,000 BTUs for cooking intensity, and folds like a Transformer allowing it to fit in your trunk with ease. Did we mention the no-spill grease cup that prevents grease stains while you’re hauling it? Anyone who’s ever tried to lug a greasy travel grill home knows the crime scene, you could open up your trunk to.
If all that talk of tailgating, football and pig roasts isn’t getting you antsy enough for the season to kick-off, we’re about to put it over the edge.
We are in the middle of revealing the top 10 cities for tailgate grilling in the NFL. Last Friday we counted down the top seven (see the list here) and the debate was intense in the comment section. Today things roll forward as we are revealing number three. Let us know what you think in the comments and come back next Friday as we approach number one.
3. Buffalo Bills
Winters can be intense up in Buffalo, but Bills fans are hardcore tailgaters and don’t let a little chill freeze the good times. Once referring to the Bills tailgating supremacy, Chris Berman said, “no one circles the wagons like Bills fans” and the prime example of hardcore Bills tailgating is Ken “Pinto Ron” Johnson, one of the most illustrious and well-respected tailgaters in the entire NFL.
Since 1994, Johnson has setup a world-renown tailgate of using non-traditional utensils to cook with. That includes a “red 1980 Pinto, which he grills meat on the hood, to the pizza oven made out of a filing cabinet to a chicken wing-cooking mailbox and, yes, even the long-established ceremony of drinking shots of Polish cherry liqueur out of the thumbhole of a bowling ball.” If you thought that was enough think again, Johnson has also attended every home and away Bills game for almost 20 years! That is the Bills spirit.
Being that the Bills are a “small market” team playing in Orchard Park, NY you can avoid paying full price for parking and begin even earlier than 4 hours before kick-off by finding space in a Buffalonians’ front yard. A truly unique experience that you can’t find at very many stadiums in the league.
Buffalo wings are as American as apple pie and being that the buffalo wings origin is linked to Buffalo, NY it is only right that a tailgating all-star would cook up some wings on the grill. They are super simple to grill up and we included a recipe below that will make you look like a star.
Buffalo Bills Man Meal: Apple Cider Chicken Wings
3-4 lbs. segmented chicken wings
Ingredients for the rub:
- 1 tbsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp ginger
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Ingredients for the sauce:
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tbsp peach jam or peach jelly
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
Making the sauce: In a pot, on low heat, bring all of the ingredients for the sauce to a light simmer. Simmer for 20 minutes. Allow sauce to cool, then refrigerate.
Making the rub: In a bowl, mix all ingredients for rub.
Bringing it together: Place segmented wings into a large freezer bag or large bowl. Cover wings with rub, and evenly coat the wings. Refrigerate wings, and let the rub work it’s magic for a minimum of 3 hours.
Cooking everything up:
- Pre-heat grill to medium-high heat (400 degrees).
- Place wings on a well oiled grill, and cook for 12-16 minutes. Turn occasionally.
- In a small pot or BBQ friendly container, placed on the grill. Warm your apple cider sauce.
- During the last 2-3 minutes, brush some sauce on the wings.
- Once the wings are ready, place them in a large bowl, and pour remaining sauce over the wings. Evenly coat the wings and serve.
Stadium Name: Ralph Wilson Stadium
Stadium Capacity: 73,967
Hours before kick-off the parking lot opens: 4
Parking Cost: $20
Signature Food: Buffalo wings
Average High Temperature in August: 71°F
Average Temperature in January: 25°F