Tailgating with ABTs

It's happening everywhere... and it's called tailgating. Have you ever decided to just break out your grill in the middle of a parking lot? People do it all the time. Watch this short video to see what I mean. 

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Last year over 100 million Americans took part in this pastime, held in stadium parking lots across the country. Actually it's been growing at a rate of 12% a year over the past 5 years. For the next 5 years it is expected to grow even faster.

The NFL and college football stadiums are the most recognized parking lots to host tailgating. But, parking lots at MLB, NBA, NASCAR, NCAA, NHL events are all experiencing growing numbers every year as well.

People come with equipment ranging from a small hibachi to a complete mobile restaurant. They gather around, and fire up the grills, many hours before kickoff.

The variety of tailgating recipes has no limits. It varies by region of the country, theme of the host team, and individual imagination.

Grilling hot dogs and burgers are naturally common items on the menu. But leave it to the imagination of sports fans to come up with food such as, sideline sausage, Chernobyl chicken wings, hog burgers, and burger dogs. Many of these and other recipes can be found at tailgating.com.

What is an ABT?

I got to thinking about some of the recipe possibilities. I wondered what else could be cooked in a parking lot several hours before a game? What would everyone like, but not be too hard to make? ... ABTs.

One of our visitors to original-bbq-recipes.com had been reading about ABTs. They wrote in to ask, maybe, the same thing you are wondering.What does ABT stand for? Here is how I answered that question in a recent publication of my Original Q  newsletter (ezine).

Actually, ABT stands for Atomic Buffalo Turd.

No... not literally.

ABTs are appetizers made with jalapeño peppers, cream cheese, and bacon. There is no specific recipe for making them, since there are so many variations. But, this will give you an idea of how to do it.

Either cut the top off, or spit the jalapeños lengthwise and hollow them out. Some people cut the tip off so that the stem serves as a handle. Fill the hollowed out jalapeños with cream cheese. Wrap them with a half piece of bacon and secure it with a toothpick. Grill or smoke until bacon is done.

There you have the quick version of how to make ABTs. Many people like to stick a little smokie sausage into the cream cheese before wrapping it with bacon.

It is also very good with a piece of chicken, shrimp, or pork instead of the little smokie. I would recommend, though, that the meat you decide to stuff into the ABT be precooked. This will assure you that it gets completely cooked by the time the bacon is done.

Experiment with seasonings like Ms. Dash, chives, or cayenne pepper (to make them really atomic) blended into the cream cheese. Use your imagination and have fun.

An ABT Twist

Before I knew about ABTs, I used to take a piece of chicken and wrap it around a strip of jalapeño and cheese. Slice jalapeños and a firm cheese (like cheddar) into strips (avoid cutting the cheese when others are around). Then wrap it all in bacon.

I don't know if it has a name. I just made it up... but they sure were good. My family has eaten a lot of them, too. Either way, they both sound like good candidates for grilling at a tailgate party. What do you think?

I think I ought to get another drink and make a few ABTs.


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