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Broiling the Birds - A Cardinal Tailgate Theme

One of the most popular activities for fans attending a sporting event is to tailgate. Wherever there's a Coliseum or arena, chances are you will find tailgaters. Not relegated to football games, but baseball and race tracks are bombarded by these folks too. I've even heard of tailgating being done at hockey games. Now that's my definition of a fanatic.

Tailgating is a great way to spend time with family, friends, fandom and food. I mean, who better to share your outrageous behavior with than the people who already know you're crazy? While you're at it, you might as well mix food in with your celebration at the stadium. Especially if you are imbibing.

If you're attending the Bronco game in Arizona this Sunday and are planning to Tailgate, here is some info for you preparation.

No charcoal grills allowed. Only propane grills are allowed to operate in the parking lots around University of Phoenix Stadium. Map

Sportsman's Park carparks open four (4) hours prior to kickoff.
Oversized vehicles - There is limited number of oversized parking locations for RV's at the Youth Sports Fields and Lot H. Sportsman's Park will close one (1) hour after the conclusion of the game.

Tailgate food has a vast spectrum, from the simplest of meals to the most elaborate creations. According to the Tailgate Guy, (yes, there's a guy by that name), there are common factors that go into these occasions.

Tailgate food has a vast spectrum, from the simplest of meals to the most elaborate creations. According to the Tailgate Guy, (yes, there's a guy by that name), there are common factors that go into these occasions

* Regionality - The native food of the area (so you can get the freshest ingredients).

* Lots of food - You can't make enough friends, but you can make enough food for them.

* Cooked in the lot - Well that is the criteria for tailgating, but if you aren't at the game, a patio and a barbecue will do the job.

* Many cooks - Football is a team sport and so is tailgating.

* Specialty dishes - Go with your strengths.

* Planned, prepped, coordinated - There can be only one signal-caller, to ensure the team is in position and ready to execute the gameplan.

Now I know not every football fan out there is a tailgater, but they all like to eat. So when looking for something suitable to scarf for the pre-game ritual, quick and easy works. You don't want the process to take away from the festivities or the game. Use your Prep time at home to expand your play time. The menu should also be versatile enough to make at home for those who aren't fortunate enough to possess season tickets.

This week's Captain of the Tailgate theme called for a flavorful selection. Since the Broncos are playing the Cardinals in Arizona, I figured a poultry dish with a Southwestern infusion would make an ideal entree for your Game Day Griddle Fest. So the play I'm calling for is Buttermilk Southwestern Chicken. It satisfies the subject criteria to a tee.

Don't be afraid to change it up and audible for some extra spice.

Buttermilk Southwestern Grilled Chicken

Recipe courtesy Bobby Flay

Prep Time: 10 min

Marination Time: 4-24 hours

Cook Time: 20 min

Yield: 4 servings


  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chili powder (or any pure chili powder)
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Hot sauce, to taste (recommended: Tabasco)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 bone-in or boneless chicken breasts (each about 6 to 8 ounces)
  • Canola oil


Whisk together the buttermilk, lime zest and juice, garlic, chili powder, coriander, cumin, turmeric, hot sauce, cilantro, and salt and pepper, to taste, in a large bowl. Pour the marinade into a large resealable plastic bag, add the chicken, seal the bag and refrigerate. Marinate bone-in chicken up to 12 hours, boneless up to 4 hours, chicken legs or breasts, up to 24 hours. If using fish, marinate white fish such as snapper, halibut or bass up to 30 minutes.

Preheat the grill pan over medium-low heat for boneless breasts and fish, and medium heat for bone-in breasts, thighs and legs. Remove the meat/fish from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Brush with oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste, on both sides. Grill until golden brown and charred on both sides and just cooked through.

Cook's Note:

Boneless chicken breasts: about 9 minutes total

Chicken thighs/legs: about 20 minutes total

Bone-in chicken breasts: about 15 minutes total

White Fish: about 8 minutes total

Remember, your food should be ready 1-1/2 hours before the game starts. That gives you plenty of time to eat, drink, make merry, clean up and get to your seats. Don't forget to share with your neighbors. Maybe even Swap recipes.

Good eating and...

Go Broncos!