You were probably told in elementary school that the calendar year generally has four seasons: winter, spring, summer, and fall. I don't want to ruin your universe or anything, but your teachers were liars. I'm serious. They stood in front of you with a cockamamie homemade sun or snowflake and made you repeat, "Summer! Winter!" until this vast conspiracy of yearly subdivisions was drilled into your skull. I'm sorry to be breaking this to you at this point in your life; College Crosse will make therapists available to you on a confidential basis in case you need to talk this out.
The real truth -- and you really shouldn't spread this around because it's kind of explosive -- is that there are actually only three yearly seasons: college lacrosse, barbecue, and college basketball. Everything else exists in the ether. I have scientists checking into this right now, but the early returns on the research is that this hidden truth is stunning reality. You may not have noticed the refined seasonal subdivisions because there is heavy overlap between the three. Don't feel bad about being in the dark; it's just a good thing that you found this Internet computing page.
To really enjoy two of the seasons -- college lacrosse and barbecue -- you need to maximize your experience in both at the same time. I know, I'm blowing your mind. It can be a little scary to squish together the two the first time you go for it, but trust me, if you do it right you'll never live life the same way again. Just think how good hot dogs on the grill in the parking lot taste before you watch a monster first round NCAA Tournament game. Now ditch the dogs for something that doesn't treat your body as a trash can.
That's what I'm talking about, people.
I'll take you through some incredibly important tips over the next few days to make sure that your lacrosse/barbecue seasons are maximized to the point where you send me thank you cards and your first-born child. Today's tips follow after the jump.
VITALLY IMPORTANT TAILGATING TIP NUMBER ONE: First!
Preparation: It's just not for gym teachers with collegiate professorships that hold whistles and require wind sprints. If you're waiting until gameday to get your act together you're already too late. The reason for this is simple: The first one in the parking lot wins the prize. (The prize being named Captain Terrific wherein you are given free balloons and people break out into a choreographed dance number all around you.)
The entire concept behind this is simple -- if you aren't first in the lot, you can't have the most tailgating time possible. You can only unlock maximized eating, drinking, and merry-making achievements through preferential parking and isolated appreciation of the outdoors. So, wake the kids up early, son; your car's bumper has a date with your rear-end starting at 5:00 A.M.
VITALLY IMPORTANT TAILGATING TIP NUMBER TWO: You deserve better!
If you're going to the grocery store and picking up a package of dogs and some frozen hamburgers you're just wasting your life. It's the postseason, people; stop eating like your meal should come with a free hat. Just a little careful planning and a basic knowledge of preparing food -- like, don't sweat on it -- is enough to move your parking lot mastication from a scene in Oliver Twist to a palatial feast.
Assuming that you following tip number one, you should have plenty of time to get a rack or two of ribs going on your kettle grill. A simple pork rub featuring a heavy brown sugar ratio applied to the meat -- remember to remove the backside membrane -- sitting overnight will provide that delicious bark that'll probably result in you receiving a plaque for "Achievement in the Field of Achievement." Always smoke your ribs over indirect, low heat in a kettle grill and keep those puppies under the lid, only checking things to make sure that you're maintaining your heat. A three- to four-hour smoke is usually sufficient to blow all of your friends minds. The best part of doing ribs? You have plenty of time to throw washers into buckets because you're not losing faith in humanity flipping burgers every two minutes.
If you're not into pork ribs (assuming you're a Communist or something), how about a simple grilled fish? Your parking lot neighbors may end up hating your guts, but your guts will end up loving you. Planked salmon is a favorite and you really can't screw it up. Steve Raichlen provides a simple recipe that even a knucklehead with a pipe through their head could handle.
I don't care what you end up doing. Just have a little respect for yourself and stop cooking crap that make the terrorists hate us.