Tailgating helps make SEC Football unique

Published 8:47 am Wednesday, August 28, 2019

The college football season is finally upon us.

College Football officially gets underway Saturday with a day-night doubleheader on ABC involving Iron Bowl rivals Alabama and Auburn. The second-ranked Crimson Tides faces Duke in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 2:30 p.m. No. 16 Auburn tangles with No. 11 Oregon at 7 p.m. at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Labor Day weekend usually starts my favorite time of year.  Having grown up in Tuscaloosa, I’m a football junkie.

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The pre-game meal is always important and sets the tone, at least for me. My nostrils never get tired of smelling the strong, spicy scent of ribs, chicken, frankfurters and ground beef on grills whether I’m at a restaurant or outside the stadium.

Tailgating is equally important to the football game, especially at any of the 14 SEC schools.  Alabama, Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vanderbilt all know how to produce delectable pre-game spreads on their respective campuses.

I’ve sampled foods at several SEC venues and they’re all unique and delicious.

But here are the schools that have provided the most memorable eating experiences during my years of attending games in their towns.  I’ve included both on campus and at restaurants.

Alabama: Chicken smothered in white barbecue sauce, surrounded by baked beans and mashed potatoes at Full Moon in Tuscaloosa.  I’m declaring a tie for ribs and cole slaw at Archibald and Woodrows and Dreamland.

LSU: Crawfish étouffée during tailgating in Baton Rouge. Coming in second is multiple kinds of boudin—spicy pork and rice sausage.

Auburn: Corn Nuggets and fried pickles at Niffer’s Place. Second is the sausage pizza at Little Italy Pizzeria.

Mississippi State: At The Little Dooey in Starkville, the Boss Hogg a pulled pork barbecue sandwich topped with smoked bacon and a side of cole slaw. The two-meat combination of pulled pork and ribs with hush puppies and cole slaw are equally good.

Ole Miss: Stuffed eggs with paprika during tailgating outside Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford. French Toast Casserole is a close second.

I love all of the idiosyncrasies that SEC football brings, especially the games and cuisine. It’s a winning combination.