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MMQB: What’s Your Ideal Tailgate Spread?

With football season quickly approaching, it’s time to address the serious issues.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 29 Ohio State at Penn State Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re now just 40 days out from the opening game of the Penn State season against Idaho on Aug. 31.

That means we’re also just 40 days out from the first true Penn State tailgate of the season (sorry Blue-White).

What we at BSD want to know is what you’re ideal tailgate food and beverage spread is. We’re going to assume the game is a 3:30 or 7 p.m. kick, so you need to cover at least two meals because we’re starting early.

Personally, it took a number of iterations of the night-game tailgate in college before I felt my roommates and I got it right, but here’s what we ended up with by my senior year:

If you’re not already in the lots, it’s imperative get up at the crack of dawn and get into a spot early so as to avoid Park Avenue traffic.

Once you’re set up, the early morning calls for many, many mimosas and if you’re feeling a bit adventurous you can go with Irish coffee and/or breakfast shots.

On the food side, a nice pork roll, egg and cheese sandwich is a great starter for a tailgate. You can make it as thin or as dense as you’d like and sandwich structure allow you to be portable and social while fueling your body. Always, always fuel your body before a long day of tailgating.

Around 10:30 or so you start to roll out the snacks and other beverages. I’d recommend a beer (or tea or spiked seltzer for you sophisticated folks) that isn’t overly heavy and will allow you to stay consistent in your beverage consumption throughout the day. A reminder, all tailgate games should be played beverage in hand. As for snacks, chips and pretzels and dips are a must. Buffalo chicken dip is an elite tailgate role player and if possible, a veggie tray helps to accommodate vegetarians.

Lunch hits the grill or griddle at some point between 12 and 1 p.m. I’m a strong believer in the classic burgers and dogs, but obviously changing from week to week adds a bit of variety to your fiesta. Also acceptable are sandwich trays (if you’re coming from Philadelphia area, might I recommend Fink’s Hoagies) or a wing platter, which is always a fun change of pace. Beverages during lunch time can switch to a bit heavier beers and maybe some mixed drinks as you have some food in there to counteract.

We’ll continue snacking and lighter beverage consumption until we’re either ready to go into the game at 2:50 or so or, if it’s a night game, around 4 to 4:30 when an early dinner gets thrown together.

Pulled pork barbecue is a nice change of pace and if you throw in a nice homemade coleslaw with some seeded buns you’re really putting together a solid showing. It makes for a great tailgate food if you can either make it the day prior and store it or cook it through out the day before pulling your pork shoulder. As we get deeper into the season and the weather starts to turn a bit cold, you may want something more hearty like a Texas chili that you can prepare early in the day and let cook in a slow cooker. Options like peppers and onions and beer braised chicken usually go over well also.

So, you’ve heard some of our suggestions. What type of spread will you be hoping to roll out to the grass lots on Aug. 31?