Saturday Afternoon Home Tailgate


I couldn't resist taking a bite!

I couldn't resist taking a bite!



When you work home football games here at UGA, the thought of tailgating or even leaving the house on off-weekends feels like an appalling amount of effort.  What I really wanted to do today was….nothing.  Of course, absolutely nothing gets boring.  So, I headed off to the Farmers’ Market just after getting up, bought my quota of food (I allow myself $30 to blow on whatever), decided to make tailgate food, stopped by the store and bought beer and grilling supplies, then headed home.  After all, FSU was playing Miami, and I knew that’s what the TV would be devoted to.  Somehow, the “doing nothing” didn’t start off so great; it’s like I won’t allow myself.

Now, I figure if I’m making tailgate food I might as well take full advantage of the fact that I have a stovetop and an oven.  I also figured I should probably not eat complete crap, because I had no illusions about how lazy the rest of my day was going to be.  I picked up some bratwurst at the store.  They’re so flavorful – easy to prepare, and easier to grill.  My farmers’ market bounty included some giant sweet potatoes, so I decided to make sweet potato fries to go with the brats.  It might not sound like a huge tailgate spread, but it’s only for two of us.  Plus there were those chips and salsa still hanging around, some fruit, and the beer.  And I made the whole package of bratwurst.  In case you’re curious, after the food was served, doing nothing progressed beautifully.

These brats could be made on site at a tailgate, but the sweet potato fries won’t do without an oven.  I’d say take along some of my crunchy cole slaw, and you’d have a good replacement.  

Grilled Bratwurst


  • 2 onions, sliced into slivers
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 6 bratwurst
  • 4 bottles dark beer
  • water to cover 
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1/4 tsp celery seeds
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • spicy brown mustard
  • whole grain mustard
  • whole grain buns


Heat your grill.  Slice the onions, and add them to a large stock pot on your stovetop along with the garlic.  Prick the brats all over with a fork; this will keep them from bursting when they cook.  Place the brats in a pot and pour in the beer.  Add enough water to cover the brats and onions with liquid.  Add the bay leaves, caraway, mustard, coriander, cumin, and celery seeds.  Season with a little salt and some black pepper.  Bring this to a boil, then reduce the heat and let them simmer briskly for 10 minutes.  Remove the brats from the pot, and leave the onion mixture to simmer while you grill.  Rub the brats down with olive oil when they are cool enough to handle, to crisp the outsides.  Grill, turning to brown evenly.  (If a grill isn’t handy, you could brown them in a pan instead – the grill just tastes better).  Take the onion mixture off the heat, then remove the onions with tongs to a serving bowl.  Serve the brats with whole grain buns, with assorted mustards.  Top with the onions or sauerkraut or pickle relish. 

Serves 6.

Sweet Potato Fries


  • 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into fries
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • parsley or basil, chopped, for garnish

Preheat oven to 425º.  If you prefer, peel your sweet potatoes or scrub the outsides very clean.  Cut the sweet potatoes in your favorite fry size; I like mine just a bit larger than shoestrings.  Place them in a mixing bowl.  Toss them in enough olive oil to just coat them; be sparing, or you’ll risk having soggy fries.  Season with the salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper.  Continue to toss the fries so the seasonings are evenly distributed.  Spread the fries out on a cookie sheet in an even, single layer.  These crisp best if none are touching.  Bake for 10 – 15 minutes, until the fries are cooked through.  Turn them every five minutes to achieve the best crisp outer surface.  Remove from the oven, sprinkle with a bit more salt, and garnish with basil or parsley.

Serve 4-6.


11 thoughts on “Saturday Afternoon Home Tailgate

  1. @ Kalyn – Two of mine as well. Tailgating is such a great excuse to enjoy indulgent foods, but this lessened the guilt and was tasty. I love these things!

    @ Reeni – I understand. I bought several sweet potatoes at the market, and now I can’t think of anything else I want to make with them. Somehow “sweet potato fries” keep coming up on the meal plan!

    @ Kat – thank you!

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