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BYU tailgating like 'a ward dinner on steroids'

Published: Friday, July 31 2015 3:37 p.m. MDT

A family tailgates at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) A family tailgates at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO — An overcast gray sky dropping occasional drizzles of rain did not stop hundreds of Brigham Young University tailgaters from having a good time before and after the BYU/Washington State football game Aug. 30.

Smoke from barbecues drifted over parking lots, which were dotted with blue and white canopies, shirts, hats and flags. People partied under the open sky, under canopies, from the trunks of cars, from pickup beds or the comfort of RVs of all sizes. A few kept track of other football games on big screen TVs.

Richard and Sandy Johnston, of West Valley City, have driven their RV to BYU football games for the past five or six years. They’ve had season tickets for 20 years. Usually they bring one of their grandchildren. “Some of them aren’t as interested in the game as we are, but they like the weekend out with us," Richard said.

Mindy Maxwell, 6 weeks old Leah Pope and mother Kristi Pope tailgate at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Mindy Maxwell, 6 weeks old Leah Pope and mother Kristi Pope tailgate at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

As far as food goes, they keep it simple. “We’re having rib eyes, french fries and corn on the cob,” Richard said.

He said he has no secret sauce, but he has "a lot of seasonings in the trailer and whatever sounds good at the time, I’ll put on.”

Last year a group of friends were inspired by an Ole Miss tailgate party in Oxford, Miss.

“We were treated really well by the people out there, so we just wanted to bring that atmosphere here,” said Bryan “Bean” Mace of Sandy.

Through Twitter, Facebook and BYU avenues, Mace and his friends have brought together a group of around 50 people – and it’s growing.

“We’ve got a lot of people who volunteer to cook,” Mace said. “I’ve got a smoker and grill back here. I’ve been smoking meats all night.”

Food is grilled while tailgating at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Food is grilled while tailgating at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Like many other tailgaters, Mace makes up his own recipes as he cooks. He said he makes chili, but couldn’t share the recipe, “because I just go to the store, buy some things and throw it in the pot. It’s a free-style recipe.”

At 5 a.m. Koti Samani, of South Jordan, started cooking ribs and pork butts. “I just made up the rub recipe for the meat,” he said. Damon Carter, of Tooele, marinated his chicken in Zesty Italian dressing and then baked it in a Dutch oven.

Michael McQuain, of Provo, said his specialty is beef-a-roni in a microwave. Not a cook, but a retired TV sportscaster with BYU roots, McQuain is the group’s PR man. One question he said he hears a lot is, “Don’t you have to have alcohol to tailgate?”

His response? “No, absolutely not. That is the No. 1 thing we are here to dispel.”

Food prepared while tailgating at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Food prepared while tailgating at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

He described BYU tailgating as “a ward dinner on steroids.” That mixed with football he said is a winning combination.

Oscar Mink and family members feasted on homemade carne asada and cheesecake served from the back of a pickup truck flying a huge blue “Y” flag. The cheesecake, a family recipe that Mink intends to keep secret, looked delicious.

“We’re having a fiesta,” said James Travis Richardson of Pocatello, Idaho. He and a group of students who studied together at the BYU Jerusalem Center were tailgating from the trunk of a car. The menu: tortilla chips, tortillas, assorted meats and chocolate frosted Rice Krispie treats.

“It’s a true Mormon tailgate party for the poor kids,” Richardson said.

The recipe for this cheesecake, made by Oscar Mink for his tailgate party, was given to him by his mother. He is keeping the recipe a family secret. (Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Zac Williams, Rosemarie Howard) The recipe for this cheesecake, made by Oscar Mink for his tailgate party, was given to him by his mother. He is keeping the recipe a family secret. (Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Zac Williams, Rosemarie Howard)

Robert Blackmore of West Jordan, and father of BYU football player, Justin Blackmore, served hot dogs, brats and cheeseburgers from a well-equipped kiosk that included a grill and TV.

“Tailgating just gets everyone in the mood for the game,” Blackmore said.

BYU’s FAMOUS MINT BROWNIES

1 (20-ounce) box brownie mix

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

12 ounces chocolate frosting

MINT FROSTING

5 tablespoons butter, softened

Dash of salt

This fajita was part of Oscar Mink's tailgate menu. He said his wife made the salsa. (Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Zac Williams, Rosemarie Howard) This fajita was part of Oscar Mink's tailgate menu. He said his wife made the salsa. (Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Zac Williams, Rosemarie Howard)

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

2 1/3 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon mint extract

Blue food coloring

3 tablespoons milk

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl, prepare the brownie mix according to package directions. Once the mix is combined thoroughly, add the walnuts and then spread batter in a 9-by-13 pan. Bake according to package directions.

To make the mint frosting, combine the butter, salt, corn syrup and powdered sugar. Beat until smooth and creamy. Add the mint extract and food coloring. Mix in and then add the milk gradually until the frosting is a little more runny than cake frosting.

BYU tailgaters at the Marriott Center parking lot prior to BYU's season opener.  BYU tailgaters at the Marriott Center parking lot prior to BYU's season opener.   (Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Zac Williams, Rosemarie Howard) BYU tailgaters at the Marriott Center parking lot prior to BYU's season opener. BYU tailgaters at the Marriott Center parking lot prior to BYU's season opener. (Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Zac Williams, Rosemarie Howard)

Spread the mint frosting over the cooled brownies and then place in the freezer for a short time to stiffen. Take brownies out of the freezer and carefully add a layer of chocolate frosting over top.

Note: For easier spreading, heat the chocolate frosting in the microwave.

Serves 12 to 15

“Brigham Young Univeristy Cougars Cookbook,” by Jenny Ahlstrom Stranger, Gibbs Smith

BLUE-BERRY PARTY POPS

2 cups vanilla yogurt

1/4 cup honey

2 to 2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen thawed and drained)

Chelsea Mace started coming to BYU tailgates through the Cougar Center last year. Chelsea Mace started coming to BYU tailgates through the Cougar Center last year. "The company, the game, the food – everything is awesome," she said. (Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Rosemarie Howard, Zac Williams, Rosemarie Howard)

8 (5-ounce) paper cups

8 (3-by-3-inch) aluminum foil squares

8 Popsicle sticks or plastic spoons

Place yogurt and honey in a blender and blend until smooth. Gently fold in the blueberries and then pour an equal amounts of the mixture into each paper cup.

Cover the top of each cup with foil. Make a slit in the center of the foil for the Popsicle sticks (or plastic spoons) and then insert sticks into popsicles; freeze for 5 hours. To serve, peel off the paper cups.

Serves 9.

—“Brigham Young Univeristy Cougars Cookbook,” by Jenny Ahlstrom Stranger, Gibbs Smith

Nathan Willis flips some burgers while tailgate at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News) Nathan Willis flips some burgers while tailgate at Lavell Edwards Stadium prior to the BYU football game in Provo Aug 30, 2012. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.

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