When a team from Baton Rouge, a city known for its delicious cuisine, shows up in Georgia there is really only one good option: you must show the Southern Jaguars what a truly down-home spread looks like.
On Field Street in Athens, Nan Smith is known to Bulldog fans as the “Tailgate Queen” for her family’s commitment to the tailgating lifestyle. The Smith Family has worked their way up through the ranks since 1990 to their current spot under the shade trees next to the chemistry building, where fans have known where to find them for the past 15 years. Smith offers the following ways to support your beloved team:
It’s not just about the bar and food
The Smith family goes all out to provide entertainment at their tailgate, including a generator to support a satellite and flat-screen TV, so they can keep tabs on other SEC games. Ladder golf and a custom-made UGA corn hole add to the fun and keep all ages entertained until kick-off.
But keep the bar fully stocked
The Smith family stocks a full bar for each home game, including Bloody Mary mix with all the fixings. Depending on the game, the family members assigned to stock the bar might plan for a signature drink, such as mojitos one week and sangria another.
Pick a theme for each home game
According to Smith, her family meets in July each year to choose a theme for every tailgate. Plans include diagrams of the setup and logistics for transporting everything on game day. Every family member takes on a task so no one is overwhelmed. An early game may call for a brunch and champagne theme. Late October calls for a Halloween theme. Other themes to try include Mexican, Italian, traditional hamburgers and hot dogs, wine and cheese, and (of course) down-home Southern.
For a down-home Southern tailgate, the Smith’s son Wes will make homemade pulled pork and barbecue sauce. Nan creates her famous meatballs and her daughter Kellie serves up banana pudding. Incredibly, this is just the beginning. “The spread,” as Smith calls it, also includes potato salad, pimento cheese, veggies and Redneck Caviar.
The Smith family’s motto is “the more the merrier.” Everyone is welcome, even opposing team fans. As Smith puts it, “We like to show the other teams how we do it in Athens!”
For your own down-home Southern tailgate here’s a few of the UGA Tailgate Queen’s favorite recipes:
1/2 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 pint cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 (8 ounce) bottle zesty Italian dressing
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained
1 (15 ounce) can black-eyed peas, drained
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 bunch chopped fresh cilantro
In a large bowl, mix together onion, green bell pepper, green onions, jalapeno peppers, garlic, cherry tomatoes, zesty Italian dressing, black beans, black-eyed peas and coriander. Cover and chill in the refrigerator approximately 2 hours. Toss with desired amount of fresh cilantro to serve.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
1 pound lean ground beef
1 cup soft, fresh breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 bottle Heinz(R) Chili Sauce
1 bottle sweet and sour sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Gently blend beef, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, onion, garlic, salt and pepper until evenly combined. Form into about 40 bite-sized meatballs. Place meatballs on a foil-lined, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked all the way through.
Combine chili sauce and sweet and sour sauce in a saucepan set over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until sweet and sour sauce dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Add cooked meatballs to the sauce; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 10 minutes. Makes 8 servings.
Sour Cream Banana Pudding
8 ounces sour cream
1 (8 ounce) container frozen whipped topping, thawed
2 (5 ounce) package instant French vanilla pudding mix
2 cups milk
1 (16 ounce) package vanilla wafer cookies
4 – 6 bananas, peeled and sliced
In large bowl combine pudding mix and milk, it will be thick. Stir in sour cream. Fold in the frozen whipped topping. In the bottom of a trifle bowl, or other glass serving dish, layer cookies, then pudding mixture, then bananas. Repeat until all ingredients are used. Refrigerate until serving.
— By Karen Huppertz special for DawgNation