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3 Must-Haves for the Ultimate Texas Tailgate

There’s nothing quite like Texas football – from high school level to the NFL, fans around Texas flock to cheer on their favorite teams. Many will agree, one of the best parts of football is how it brings family and friends together in the All-American pastime known as the tailgate. Open up that tailgate, put up your antennas, and get the BBQ smoking – here we unveil the 5 must-haves for the ultimate Texas tailgate.

1. Yeti Cooler

The Seider brothers, both avid hunters and fishers, started Yeti in 2006 with a vision to create coolers that would exceed the expectations and needs of the outdoorsman’s lifestyle. What they created with their home-grown Austin company completely revolutionized the cooler industry. Designed with 2-inch thick polyurethane walls, these coolers are not only durable enough to keep out grizzly bears, but keep ice frozen for days on end. A Yeti will be sure to keep your beverages cold for an entire day of tailgating so you don’t have to worry about the ice running out. Now these incredible coolers come with collegiate designs, including a handful of Texas schools: UT, A&M, TCU, and Tech. If you don’t need a whole cooler, Yeti also offers a Rambler Colster to keep your 12 oz. beverage of choice crisp and refreshing for hours.

2. Local Brews

The cheap country songs Nashville churns out today may reminisce of glory days spent drinking PBRs and other cheap brews, but any good Texan likes to keep it local and crafty when it comes to stocking their tailgate bar. The state is brimming with stellar craft breweries and distilleries to keep the crowds around your watering hole happy. Some of our favorite places to stock up in and around Austin include:

Live Oak Brewing Company: With a name that pays homage to our state tree, this local brewery has been whetting the palettes of Austinites since 1997. While favorites like the Big Bark Amber, Hefeweizen, and Pilz have long been available on tap in local bars and by the keg, the Company promises that these brews will also be available by can this winter. For big tailgates this fall, you’ll have to stick with Live Oak by the keg, but who’s complaining about 62 pints of refreshing deliciousness?!

Thirsty Planet: If you’d rather have bottles to fill up your Yeti, Austin brewed Thirsty Planet can accommodate, with their popular Thirsty Goat Amber, which is available at HEB, Whole Foods, Spec’s, and an assortment of other retailers. This particular brew is a crowd-pleaser, and bonus, Thirsty Planet is also planet conscious – re-purposing and recycling the materials used during production…so you are basically helping the environment with every gulp.

Real Ale Brewing Company: Another favorite in Austin bars, Real Ale Brewing Company brews less than an hour away in the small town of Blanco, nestled in the folds of the Texas Hill  Country. Their most popular year-round beer is Fireman’s #4, a smooth and balanced blonde ale so good that it medaled at the Great American Beer Festival. Canned, kegged, or bottled, you can pick up a supply of Fireman’s 4 at a number of local retailers.

3. Brisket

Most Texans would tell you they are proud of Texas’ heritage – there’s a distinctly Texan nostalgia and mystique shrouding this vast, variable, and sometimes unforgiving land where cowboys of old toiled to raise cattle and earn a living. During the 1800s, in the boom of Texas ranching, Texan cowboys drove millions of cattle north for rail distribution to other parts of the US. Ranching is still a big deal here, and if you know anything about Texas BBQ, you know that the quintessential meat of Texan tailgates, born out of Texas’ ranching heritage, is the beef brisket. Fine Texan brisket requires 4 essentials:

  • Quality beef: Look for a cut with marbling and a fat cap that render a melt-in-your-mouth experience.
  • Wood chips: Soak them in water before throwing them in the pit to lend extra smokiness to your end product.
  • Dry Rub: Typically a mixture of good ole salt and pepper, with additional spices as you see fit.
  • Patience: Plan on smoking that brisket slow and steady (up to 2 hours per pound of meat), but this is no problem since there’s plenty of football to be watched.

If you’d rather just pick up your gameday meat from a tried and true local smoker, check out one of the following:

Franklin Barbeque: This is THE place to get BBQ in Austin right now. If you plan to dine-in, bring some beer and a chair for the wait, and be forewarned – when they run out they run out. For a gameday order, make sure you plan well in advance and preorder here.

The Salt Lick: This place has the ultimate Texas BBQ experience. You could spend hours out at their sprawling estate in Driftwood – tasting wine at the Salt Lick Cellars and chowing down on their family style bottomless BBQ plates, but you can also order online or have them cater your tailgate.

Whether you’re a Longhorn, Aggie, Red Raider, or a Baylor Bear, we hope that you have a season of memorable tailgates and enjoy some great Texas football!


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