Welcome to Short Order, a brief, monthly shopping list for the season's most important culinary occasions. This week: everything you need to cut a fine figure at your next pigskin tailgate.
The Cooler: Alpine ICE
Because playing tunes through your car stereo will drain the battery, there’s the Alpine ICE. Equal parts cooler and stereo system, the Alpine ICE lets you keep the beers and meats cold while blasting your tunes.
The Grill: Traeger PTG
Traeger makes grills that use wood pellets, which burn longer and hotter than logs and render your meats with that delicious wood-smoked flavor. The PTG is their travel grill, and it has a timer to ensure a perfect cook.
The Meats: Omaha Steaks
The venerable butcher has an entire tailgating section. But we’re going simple and selecting their bison burgers and the split baby back ribs (which you should slow-broil at home first and then finish at the lot).
The Sauce: Chef and the Farmer
People drive from all over North Carolina to visit Vivian Howard’s restaurants in Kinston. Her Blueberry BBQ sauce has the vinegar kick eastern N.C. is known for, with an added sweetness thanks to locally grown produce.
The Condiments: Sir Kensington’s
I never thought I’d give up Heinz ketchup. Then I had Sir Kensington’s. Their ketchup, mayo and mustard are pro-level condiments. Nothing widely distributed even comes close to their quality, and the ingredients are all natural.
The Buns: Seattle International Brioche
The softness of a brioche bun won’t take away from the rich flavor of the bison. Seattle International’s will hold up to the grease, too.
The Tomato: Beefsteak
Buy a few beefsteak tomatoes to dress the burgers.
The Greens: Organicgirl Baby Arugula
No chopping required, and arugula give your patties a peppery kick. Plus it’s prewashed.
The Cheese: Boursin
Everyone loves soft, garlicky Boursin cheese — but no one expects to see it on a burger. It’ll go well with the bison. Do a light spread on the burger bun.
The Cups: Spectrum Unbreakable Cups
Unless you’re playing beer pong, there’s no sense in disposable cups. Buy them once, then never again.