Eat ’em Up: Time for a Proper Tailgate Mark and Erik, Mark Crouser and Erik Pollom October 29, 2014 Eat 'em Up, Features Game Weeks on The Salute Finally! A 7 p.m. kickoff! One where we can appropriately enjoy an entire afternoon on the lot, sufficiently fueling ourselves with a proper tailgate before the game! Usually with the blog, we’ll try to find food inspiration in the season (see Oktoberfest for Texas Tech), the opponent (just wait for KU), or reference the culinary history of their hometown (see UTEP). But for Oklahoma State, I was left wanting, realizing any inspiration I might find would likely be about as shallow as a basket of Eskimo Joe’s cheese fries. So my thoughts turned to the beer. With a long tailgate before the game, a beer that allows you to continue enjoying it throughout the afternoon is a smart suggestion – that’s why I’m going with a session IPA. High flavor and low alcohol are the predominant factors of a session beer, usually somewhere in the 4.0-4.5% ABV range. After years of offering huge, high alcohol beers, the beer pendulum has swung and this category of easy drinkers has blown up in recent years, with so many breweries offering quality choices that it’s difficult to choose only a few. I’ll give you a few I like, with Sierra Nevada Nooner IPA, Stone Go To IPA, Lagunitas DayTime IPA, Founders All Day IPA (you can find this one in cans), Boulevard Pop-Up Session IPA. For a comparable local option, try Tallgrass 8-Bit IPA (also in cans), which is a little higher alcohol, but packs a huge hop flavor. IPAs tend go well with mildly spicy foods, as their hoppiness accentuates the spices. Then (and with no thanks to Oklahoma State), inspiration struck, with me thinking back to a great sandwich I recently enjoyed. Though we mentioned the place in a previous blog, the bahn mi sandwich at Pigwich makes it worth plugging again. The stationary food truck of the butcher shop The Local Pig specializes in a variety of unique takes on mostly classic sandwiches, serving to lines of hungry carnivores (and some vegetarians too) in the East Bottoms of Kansas City, Mo. A Vietnamese staple, their version of the bahn mi sandwich puts the focus on three tasty pork meatballs that are topped with pickled vegetables, lining the length of a baguette and drizzled with Sriracha mayo. The fat and spice of the pork, heat from the mayo and tartness of the vegetables work exceptionally well together. I’m going to recreate their sandwich using a modified version of this recipe, which seems to mimic many of the same characteristics. When preparing the meatballs, I’m not planning to use the fish sauce – I just don’t like it, or daikon radishes for that matter. In their place, I’ll use coarsely grated cucumbers and pickle them according to the recipe. For convenience, and so I don’t get Sriracha on my gameday shirt, I’ll prep everything Friday night. For the meatballs, I’ll then plan to reheat them in a small frying pan over hot coals once on the lot. Serve them right off the grill and into your choice of bread, topped with the vegetables and sauce. While this take on bahn mi is an especially unique selection for a tailgate, I’m really looking forward to it as an appetizer for the main course that starts at 7. See you on the lot.