Friends, Food, Tradition (& Grilling): A Winning Tailgate Recipe

September 1st, 2014 | Posted by Pacrec in Tailgating | Tailgating Grill

Oregon Duck fans are setting the stage with the Tailgate Grill Station

A great friend and all-around great person, Joni Carlson is an avid booster of the Oregon Ducks football team. She bakes cookies for the players.  She serves on the Oregon Club board of directors. And she tailgates from dawn ‘til dusk.

“Tailgating is a great way to be a part of the college football scene,” says Carlson. “At Autzen, everyone is your friend when you get there.” Carlson has been tailgating for 30 years with the same four or five families. After a week of preparations, the crew pulls into the stadium parking lot at about 10am on game day. “Then we roll out the Astroturf and the fun starts!”

If you wander onto Carlson’s patch of Astroturf, you’ll find green and yellow flowers, and matching balloons, cups, plates, silverware and chairs. Everyone sports clothing head-to-toe in team colors, of course.  They grill everything from tri-tip to burgers and dogs, and Carlson makes duck-shaped sugar cookies frosted in bright yellow confection called Quackies.

“The three main ingredients to successful tailgating are friends, food and beverages,” says Carlson. Having perfected the tailgating scene over three decades, Joni is willing to offer up her recipe for “Winning Poppers,” the crew’s post-win tailgate tradition.

Banana peppers tailgating recipe

Photo courtesy of

Nelson’s Winning Poppers

  • Fresh banana peppers, sliced down the center, seeds removed
  • Fill with:
  • Jalapeno cheese, shredded
  • Bay shrimp, rinsed and dried
  • Cooked Italian sausage (optional)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Squeeze of fresh lime

Grill on barbecue, seam side up, until cheese is melted and skin is softened.


If you’re looking for a great grill to take to the tailgate party, check out the Tailgate Grill Station from StowAway, with a Cuisinart Grill and SwingAway Frame.

Trailer hitch tailgate open frame

The Tailgate Grill Station attaches to your trailer hitch, pivots to give you access to the rear of your vehicle, and creates a perfect outdoor grilling space

  • SwingAway Frame: Pivots 90°/180° and locks to create a safe and convenient grill station
  • More Space: The grill stays outside your vehicle to create more space inside – and keep gas and grill odors outside
  • Extras Included: Cuisinart Grill, commercial-grade cutting board, patented Swingaway frame, rack for your cooler/tailgate gear, and hitch tightener
  • Hitch Grill or Tabletop: Grill converts to a tabletop for homegating, camping, fishing and hunting
  • Best Warranty: 10-year warranty on the Swingaway Frame & Rack; 3-year warranty on the Cuisinart Grill

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