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Scrumptious Tailgating -- On A Shoestring!

Executive Chef Bradford Thompson works wonders in the kitchen of the Lever House restaurant in New York City, where the food is described as "rugged, yet refined," with fine dining and elegant New American cuisine.

But on Sundays during the football season, Thompson turns into the king of tailgaters, making a hearty, gourmet meal for his friends and family before they watch their beloved New York Giants.

On The Early Show's Saturday Edition, Thompson prepared one of his typical tailgaters' over-the-top party menus - and tried to do it on our skimpy budget of $80 for eight people.

He showed he truly knows how to tailgate in style!


Deep Fried Turkey
Cheese Quesadillas
Jerk Rubbed Pork Shoulder
Brats Cooked in Beer
Grilled Sweet Potato Salad with Mustard Dressing
Parking Lot Beans
Apple Cobbler


  • Brine the turkey to add flavor and moisture.
  • Never poke brats on the grill; they'll lose all their juices.
  • Using cola adds a great sweetness to the beans.


    Deep Fried Turkey


    1 10-12 pound turkey
    2 gallons of water
    2 cups hot sauce, such as Frank's
    1 cup brown sugar


    In a very large container mix together water, sugar and hot sauce, submerge the turkey overnight.

    For safety fry the turkey outside.

    In a large turkey fryer add three gallons of oil. Heat to 325ºF.

    Being careful of the boiling oil, lower turkey into grease, legs first.

    Cook for 40 minutes

    Remove from grease, let it rest for 10 minutes before cutting

    Sweet Potato Salad


    4 Large Sweet potatoes
    Aluminum Foil
    2 tablespoons Mustard
    2 tablespoons of Olive Oil
    2 tablespoons of Bourbon (or something floating around the tailgate)


    Rub olive oil and salt and pepper on the sweet potatoes and wrap them in foil individually.

    Put them on the grill wrapped in foil.

    Cook for 30-40 minutes until just tender.

    Scoop insides out of potatoes and toss it into bowl or aluminum pan.

    While still warm, stir in olive oil, mustard and bourbon.


    Take skins from potatoes, rip into pieces and fry them in turkey fryer.

    Mix fried pieces into potato salad.

    Cheese Quesadillas


    8 large flour tortillas
    2 onions
    1 pound of shredded cheese, mozzarella or cheddar
    2 tablespoons olive oil


    Thinly slice the onion and sauté in oil until caramelized.

    Divide onion and cheese between 8 flour tortillas and fold in half. (Can be done the night before so they're ready to be cooked on the grill)

    Place the tortillas on the grill and cook evenly on each side until cheese melts.

    For plenty more recipes, go to Page 2.

  • Bratwurst Cooked in Beer


    4 pounds of fresh bratwurst
    1 onion
    2 cans or bottles of beer


    Slice onions into thin strips and put in a pan with the beer.

    Place pan on grill over low heat (or stovetop).

    Put raw bratwurst in pan and with the lit on let it simmer for 10-15 minutes.

    When just barely cooked, take them out of pan and place directly onto the grill.

    After grilled, put them back in pan with beer until you're ready to serve.

    Pork Shoulder


    1 boneless picnic pork shoulder
    1 4 ounce bottle of Jerk Sauce


    Rub jerk sauce over pork shoulder. Marinate for at least 2 hours or ideally overnight.

    Pre-heat oven to 250ºF.

    After pork has marinated, season with salt and pepper and put it on a roasting rack in the middle of an oven for 6-8 hours.

    Let it rest for five minutes, wrap several times in plastic wrap so shoulder stays warm, take to your tailgate in the plastic wrap.

    Parking Lot Beans


    1 pound package of sliced bacon, chopped
    1 large onion, chopped
    1 can Dr. Pepper or other cola
    3 8 ounce cans of cooked black beans
    3 tablespoons of mustard
    1 tablespoon of hot sauce


    In a medium sized saucepot over medium high heat cook bacon until crispy.

    Add onion and Dr. Pepper, let simmer until liquid is reduced by half.

    Add the beans, mustard and hot sauce and let simmer for 30 minutes.

    Apple Cobbler


    1 Pinch salt
    1 cup flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 cup sugar
    16 Tablespoons butter, soft
    2 egg yolks
    1/4 teaspoon vanilla
    1/8 teaspoon Clove
    1/8t teaspoon Cinnamon

    2-1/4 apples, peeled and cut into 1/6ths
    1/3 cup sugar
    2 teaspoons Cornstarch


    In one bowl, mix dry ingredients. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until smooth. With wooden spoon, mix in yolks.

    Add flour mix to wet mix and stir just to combine.

    Peel, core and cut apples into 6 or 8 pieces. Toss in sugar, add liquids and toss well.

    Butter an oval gratin dish or baking dish.

    Spread apples evenly on bottom and drop spoonfuls of batter on top.

    Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes, until golden.

    So, how did Thompson do with our $80 budget?

    Deep Fried Turkey
    Turkey $11.88
    Hot Sauce $2.36
    Frying Oil $6.99

    Cheese Quesadillas
    Tortillas $2.19
    Onions $1.12
    Cheese $3.76

    Bratwurst Cooked in Beer
    Bratwurst $10.00
    Onion $0.56
    Beer $2.55
    Hot Dog Rolls $2.50

    Jerk-Rubbed Pork Shoulder
    Pork Shoulder $10.14
    Jerk Sauce $3.19

    Parking Lot Beans
    Bacon $2.49
    Black Beans $3.45
    Onion $0.58
    Cola $0.30
    Mustard $1.00
    Rice $1.19

    Sweet Potato Salad
    Sweet Potatoes $1.49
    Bourbon $1.50

    Apple Cobbler
    Apples $5.96
    Butter $3.99

    TOTAL COST = $79.19!