Joe Cahn is the world's only "professional" tailgater.
Since 1996 he has driven his RV, the "Joe Mobile," more than 800,000 miles and visited all 31 professional football stadiums and over 120 colleges. In all of the games, fans and food he's seen (which is a lot), Cahn ranks Phoenix as one of his top tailgate destinations.
On Sunday, December 5, the Bing National Tailgating Championship Regional Competition is coming to the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The event is designed to answer the question that Cahn, a.k.a the "Commissioner of Tailgating," is always asked: "Who are the best tailgaters?"
The event involves six regional competitions that are held on game day at football stadiums inHouston, Denver, New York, Phoenix, New Orleans and Seattle. Judges, including Chow Bella's own Zachary Fowle, rate tailgaters based on four categories: cooking, sports trivia, parking lot agility and team spirit. The winning team from each regional competition will then compete for the national championship in Dallas during Super Bowl week.
We chatted with Joe the Commish about the art of tailgating. Read his tailgating tips and recipes, after the jump...
What is your favorite thing about tailgating?
People feeding me. I wear a sign around my neck that says, "Please feed the Commish." But really, I love all the friends that I've made over the years. I've known some of them since 1996 when there were very few tailgaters. I have friends around the country. I get to meet their families and watch their children grow up. It's all about the people.
Finish this sentence: Every good tailgater is... a happy, social person. A person who enjoys his or her neighbors, enjoys being with family and friends, and enjoys coming out and being part of the community.
What tailgating tips do you have for newbies?
Keep it simple. Have a checklist (or a game plan). Wear your team colors. If you don't cook or grill, get take out and bring it along. Be a part of rather than an observer.
Let's talk tailgating etiquette - what is a tailgating no no? I think the no nos of tailgating are the no nos we have in regular society. Don't over drink. Don't overdrink and grill. Always have a designated driver and a designated griller. Don't crank your music too loud. Tailgating is like bringing your home to the stadium or the parking lot. Don't get too complicated -- Martha Stewart and Emeril Lagasse are not coming. Finger foods will do. Paper towels will work. It's a party.
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Favorite tailgating recipe?
My Jambalaya. It's easy to make and it feeds a lot of people. Anything can go into it. This week I can make a turkey jambalaya with leftover turkey. It's the best because it's easy to serve and people love it.
Do you think the Cardinals' recent struggles will affect tailgaters? No, fans come out whether we're on a six-game losing streak or six-game winning streak. You certainly don't stop telling your wife you love her because she has a bad hair day.
Why should people go to the tailgating event on Sunday?
It's a fun event. You'll get some (recipe) ideas. You'll meet people you normally wouldn't meet. No one is selling anything and people are just happy. Although the Cards are not doing very well we're celebrating their past achievements and what they're going to do. You should never give up on a team when they have bad day.
The Bing National Tailgating Championship tour will make its stop at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 5 at 11:30 a.m. For more information about the event, visit the official website.