Photos courtesy Jay Ducote.

At-home tailgating tips from Jay Ducote

In the spirit of eternal optimism, there are two upsides we can see to tailgating from home: the familiar food and the solitary bathrooms. Sure, there’s nothing like a Saturday tailgating outside of Death Valley. But for those of us stuck at home, we’re just going to have to give our tailgate the good old college try. Local chef and food personality Jay Ducote has us covered on how to make our tailgate-from-home just as good as it would be on campus.

“This fall will be a little different for those of us in Baton Rouge. Our normal tailgate parties under bustling tents and shady oaks which fill the LSU campus with aromas of smoldering charcoal and free-flowing bourbon won’t be there,” says Ducote. “Instead, those of us fortunate enough to attend the socially distanced spectacle will be confined to our parking spot and the tailgate or trunk of their own vehicle, a concept that seems completely foreign to us. But, believe it or not, a lot of the country actually considers this tailgating. Most of us, however, will find our football perch at home this year, extending our tailgate parties to our own backyards and living rooms.”

Here are Ducote’s tips on how to make the 2020 football season the best it can be:

First, make sure you’re all stocked up with the necessities. You know your usual checklist when you’re heading out to campus, but think about what you need to tailgate from your own place. “The last thing you want right before the game is to have to run to the store for extra charcoal or propane,” he explains. “These things are on every checklist when we head to campus, but it can slip through the cracks at home.”

Second, Ducote says to remember that tailgating from home means you have certain amenities that aren’t as accessible on campus. Make good use of ice machines, fans and even your air conditioner to stay cool. And as always, pace yourself for the marathon that is gameday.

Third is simple enough: “Finger sandwiches are SO Ole Miss. Avoid them.”

Fourth: “Since we won’t have the burden of packing up trucks and trailers to get everything to campus this year, use that extra time to shop and prep so your gameday is nice and relaxing,” says Ducote. “We may never get a season like this again, so try to enjoy it!”

And last, but certainly not least: “If you just HAVE to get out and about, there are plenty of local restaurants that are open and ready to have you over for the game,” he says. “Just remember to wash your hands, wear your mask, respect social distancing rules and tip your server. For the love of the Tigers, tip your servers.”

For more hands-on tips for crafting the perfect backyard meal for family, check out the 150 recipes in Ducote’s newest book, Jay Ducote’s Louisiana Outdoor Cooking, released this month.