Cooking With Americas Ultimate Tailgater

Avid tailgaters are often more passionate about the tailgating itself than the events at which they celebrate. This is certainly the case for Cathy Phillips, a resident of Chincoteague Island, Virginia, who was named "America's Ultimate Tailgater" at The Tailgate of a Lifetime Tailgating Championship.

Having gone head to head with four other finalists, Phillips' three-course meal and over-the-top decorations led to her being awarded $10,000 cash and an ultimate tailgating prize pack by event sponsor Lifetime Products. Here are just a few of the tailgating tips that aided her on the road to victory:

• Make a simple menu and a corresponding list of everything you will need to pull off the tailgate party.

• Use disposable items for easy cleanup and be sure not to forget things such as resealable bags, disposable plastic containers, plates, napkins, etc.

• Prepare as much as you can before you get to the event.

• Be mindful of your food temperatures. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

• Just remember to have fun-it's why you're there in the first place.

One of Phillips' signature recipes wowed judges during the final round of the championship. Grilled Lamb Chops with Vegetables can be prepped the night before a tailgate and is perfect for mobile celebrations throughout the year.

Grilled Lamb Chops with Vegetables

8 lamb rib chops (one-inch thick and trimmed)

1/2 cup oil

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves

2 Tbsp plus 1 tsp crushed garlic

4 Tbsp plus 1 tsp liquid smoke

2 shallots, chopped

4 bay leaves

2 large resealable bags

2 medium zucchini cut into 1-inch pieces

2 Portobello mushrooms, stems removed and sliced lengthwise

1 large red onion, diced

Salt & pepper to taste

Place the chops, oil, 2 Tbsp thyme, 2 Tbsp garlic, 4 Tbsp liquid smoke, shallots and bay leaves into one of the bags. In the second bag, combine the zucchini, mushrooms, onions, 1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp garlic, 1 tsp liquid smoke, salt and pepper. Refrigerate both bags 4-6 hours or overnight for best results. Place all on a medium-high grill using a vegetable grate for the veggies. Stir the vegetables frequently for 8 to 10 minutes and grill the lamb to your taste, 7-9 minutes for rare.

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About The Author, Stacey Moore
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