Sept. 1, 2010
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
OK, almost everybody loves to eat and is good at it. Often, too much and too often. But can you cook? Can you bring it with the special spices, the unique additives, the secret sauces and place your entry in front of some starving Lobo-type judges and see if you got what it takes?
The Lobos have a deal for you, and, no, this is not our way of getting a free lunch. We love our Lobo Dogs. The University of New Mexico athletics department has teamed up with Albertsons, Pepsi and Route 66 Casino to bring you "The Lobo Football Tailgate Challenge."
It's not really an eating thing. It's a cooking thing. But the cooked things have to be edible and we'll produce some highly-qualified judges to see whether you can bring it on your grill.
Of course, the dishes mostly will be judged by palates and stomachs. We'll have some time-tested culinary experts (of sorts) who will sample your wares on a 100-point scale and give out points according to: 1- taste (70 points) and 2- ambience (30 points).
The taste thing isn't subjective. It's objective. Your dish needs to be good enough to tickle the tongues of Chef Ramsay, Rachael Ray or, more likely, a member of the UNM athletic staff. Kurt Esser and Brad Hutchins, a couple of big honchos and big eaters from the athletic department, have volunteered to sacrifice their waistlines for the six-game home season. There also will be a celebrity judge. Could it be Chef Ramsay? Maybe. Rumor has it that he's a big Lobo fan.
The ambience thing is more subjective. Your Tailgate Challenge entry will get 30 points for atmosphere -- decoration of your tailgate area. After our judges do their munching thing, the top three entries each week are marched over to their tailgate area to see how it looks. So decorate!
The look of your tailgate could make the difference. You might be trailing by 10 points after the taste-bud test, but rally for a come-from-behind win with cool decorations.
Here are a few contest details.
1. It's free.
2. The contest begins three hours prior to kickoff.
3. A tent will be set up next to the Lobo Football Pre-Game shows at Gate 8 (Stadium Lot North). That's where you bring the food.
4. There will be prizes and GoLobos.com will announce them next week. Stay tuned.
Of course, there also are specific dishes set for specific games. The scheduled Lobo opponent that week has little to do with the scheduled dish, but it does look suspicious that the first week is chili and a team from chili-famous Texas is coming to University Stadium. Anyway, here's the order:
1. Sept. 11 vs. Texas Tech -- chili
2. Sept. 18 vs. Utah -- hamburgers & brats
3. Oct. 2 vs. UTEP -- Ribs
4. Oct. 23 vs. San Diego State -- brisket
5. Nov. 6 vs. Wyoming -- green chili stew
6. Nov. 27 vs. TCU -- chicken/turkey or any poultry.
That's about it, until we tell you about the prizes. So, dig out the family's most famous and most secretive recipes, go to Albertsons and buy your culinary needs, and come to University Stadium with your pots and pans -- or just your grill.
We'll be waiting with open arms and open mouths.