Tailgating has colorful history

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By Greg Summers

This Saturday, Clemson University's Death Valley and the University of South Carolina’s Williams Brice Stadium will be magically transformed into two of the Palmetto State’s largest towns, at least for a few hours.

And tailgating provides the perfect opportunity to make friends with the temporary neighbors who are parked beside you.“Tailgating is the veritable game before the game that has evolved into the quintessential culinary side show of the modern sporting era,” says Chris Warner.Warner, author of “A Tailgater’s Guide To SEC Football,” describes the pregame (and post-game) party as “a feature of the modern football experience that’s just as important to the game as the modern pass.”Tailgating, Warner says, has humble origins in the tumultuous times following the Civil War, when college football arrived on the scene. Ironically, Warner said the first college football game was an Ivy League contest played Nov. 6, 1869, in New Brunswick, N.J. between host Rutgers and Princeton before an estimated 100 spectators. Rutgers won the game, 6-4, in a game which was played more like rugby than modern football with 25 men on each side.The sport began to spread and 12 years later, in 1881, the first collegiate football game was played south of the Mason-Dixon line at Old Stoll Field in Lexington, Ky. The University of Kentucky (then referred to as A & M College or Kentucky State College) defeated Kentucky University by a score of, 7 1/4 to 1.But even back then, the food was just as important as the game, Warner writes.“Food and football went hand in hand,” Warner says. “In those days it was customary for the fans of each team to engage in a wild fish and game supper before the contest and then to revisit the leftovers after the game where they relived the on-field exploits of the daring young gridders.” The advent of electricity in the 1920s transformed college football into a sport that could be played in the afternoon or at night, with evening games becoming a critical social event. Men and women alike, he said donned their Sunday best and went to games after a day of leisure house-hopping at the homes of football fans.These pre-game jaunts continued for almost 40 years when TV coverage and the much-revenue it generated moved games back to daylight hours, ending party-hopping.“The alternative to not house partying was simple to the legions of football fans that had been weaned on pregame parties: Take the party to the stadium,” Warner writes. “And that they did, because today tailgating at or near the stadium is a social practice that seems to have found a continual flow of willing fall participants that only grows with each passing year.”

Tailgate Barbecue BeefIngredients3-pound boneless chuck roast1 medium onion, chopped2 tablespoons butter3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar12 ounce bottle chili sauce2 tablespoons brown sugar1 tablespoon honey mustard2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce1/2 teaspoon black pepper1 teaspoon Kosher salt1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper2 cloves garlicKaiser rolls

Directions_ Place roast in slow cooker and cook until meat falls apart and shreds easily._ In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onions and saute until onions become translucent. Stir in vinegar and chili sauce. Fill empty chili sauce bottle with water, shake and pour into skillet. Add brown sugar, honey mustard, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper and garlic. Cook over low heat, stirring until sauce thickens._ Remove roast from slow cooker, let cool, shred and then return to cooker. Add sauce into cooker and let simmer for about an hour._ Place barbecue in aluminum pan and cover in aluminum foil so it can be placed on a grill and reheated for tailgating.– Serve on a buttered Kaiser roll that’s been toasted on the grill, along with the trimmings.

– Recipe by Gregory A. Summers