My initial foray into the Silver & Black tailgate experience happened purely by accident. With Humboldt County's own Rey Maualuga getting drafted by Cincinnati, the Bengals' Nov. 22, 2009, matchup with at the Oakland Raiders would be the closest to the North Coast the linebacker would get in his rookie season.
Thus, I made the drive from Eureka, California, for The Times-Standard newspaper along with photo editor Rich Bickel to cover the game. The Raiders edged the Bengals 20-17 in that game, by the way, which featured a forced fumble on a kickoff return by Oakland tight end Brandon Myers (you could see Bickel right there taking photos of the strip on the CBS broadcast).
Instead of ending up in the media parking area, I wasn't paying attention and ended up in the general parking lot. And that allowed me to walk through quite the tailgating experience. Food, costumes, drink and camaraderie all around as fans were adorned with Raiders gear and face paint. The smell of cooking food on the grill was exquisite and reminded me that the food provided to media in the hospitality room would pale in comparison. I mean, hotdogs, chips, and soda can't compete with tailgate food.
From that point on, when I made the trek from Humboldt County down to the Coliseum for Raider games, the tailgate was a must-do — whether I was attending a game as media or Joe Public. The variety of foods was outstanding as it ranged from all cultures. I remember one spot in particular showcased my home country Philippine dishes of pancit, lumpia, and adobo along with barbecued meat and veggies.
Here are some recipes I gleaned from the Coliseum days that fit the Las Vegas Raiders Allegiant Stadium vibe, and are guaranteed to blow you away like the Autumn Wind:
Anyone who has walked towards the BART station at the Coliseum remembers the aroma of bacon-wrapped hot dogs. But one year, I indulged in a similar hot dog with a bit of a twist: Mac and Cheese. Thus, the Mac-Daniels Dog, an homage to new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels.
- Hot dog wrapped in bacon
- Mac and Cheese
Serve it up: Wrap the hot dog in bacon and put on the grill (or any cooking device you have) and cook completely. Dice jalapeño mixed with any mustard you like. Put the hot dog in the bun along with the jalapeño/mustard on both sides and top with mac and cheese.
Mad Maxx Ribs
These pork ribs will get your attention quick as the flavor and spice won't quit, just like Raiders pass rusher Maxx Crosby.
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons chili powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 2 racks baby back ribs
- 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Soy Vay Hoisin Garlic Marinade & Sauce
- 1 dab or 2 of Hot Ones' The Last Dab XXX
Serve it up: Combine the spices and sugar in a small bowl and rub the mixture on both sides of the ribs. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least two hours. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. In a roasting pan, combine the broth and vinegar and place ribs in the pan. Cover with foil and bake for two hours. After baking, remove the ribs, pour the liquid from the pan into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes and add the hoisin garlic sauce and a dab or two of the last dab sauce. Now it's grilling time. Preheat grill to medium high and put the ribs on the grill and cook about 5-10 minutes on each side until browned and seared. Eat it up!
You can also flip the recipe and use it for some Smackin' Abram Salmon (pronounce salmon anyway you please). If done with salmon, follow similar instructions but instead of baking, wrap the salmon in foil and place on the grill at medium-high heat (400 degrees) and cook for 15 minutes.
The Raiders combination of quarterback Derek Carr and wide receiver Davante Adams is slated to be the most glorious pairing of QB-WR the Silver & Black have seen in quite a while. And this dip represents that by combining two primary ingredients of beer and cheese.
- 16 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded or cubes (white cheddar would also be good)
- 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 2 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 - 2/3 cup of beer (pale for a light sweet flavor or a dark ale for more robust, bitter flavor)
Serve it up: Blend cheese and seasonings in food processor until combined. Slowly add bear and continue blending. Cover and refrigerate at least an hour and serve cold as a spread or warm as a dip. To warm, place in saucepan over low heat and whisk constantly or microwave on high in one minute intervals. This is a popular dip for pretzel bites but chips and bread will work too.