I have a lot to be thankful for in my life. One thing for which I’m not so thankful is being from South Florida only because it means my favorite NFL team, through no fault of my own, is the Dolphins. Since masochism is apparently a hobby of mine, I’ve also had season tickets for about 15 years. In the mid 90’s things were different. Dan Marino was in his prime, the Dolphins were always a playoff contender, and about 15 of us caravanned down to tailgate together before games and to be extremely unsportsmanlike to opposing fans afterward. I had a full head of hair and a 34” waistline, too, so life was good.
That was a long time ago. The group of 15 has dwindled significantly. People got married. Married couples started families. People moved away. Marino retired. The last few years it’s been just 3 brave souls: Will Chupp, Tim Wheat, and me. Like the unpopular kid staring out the front window looking for people who have no intention of coming to his party, we have 4 seats together with the 4th for people we thought would be eager to join us. It can be a tough sell.
In 2007 the Dolphins went 1-15. We were there every week. Except of course for the game they won. Yes, after sitting in the stands through 6 consecutive home losses as the Dolphins ran their record to 0-13, we couldn’t bring ourselves to make the December trip to the Baltimore game. But that’s okay. We gave our tickets to Tammy’s aunt and uncle and her mom, and they told us all about the dramatic victory. I watched the whole thing from the comfort of my couch right up until about a minute before the game-winning touchdown in overtime when my dog, Jim, decided to haul ass down the street with me behind him losing ground while calling him terrible names.
The thing about that season was we definitely kicked up our tailgating quite a bit. We decided if the play on the field wasn’t going to be very good, at least our food would be; though, sometimes watching the actual game made it difficult to keep it down. We developed a routine of emailing each other on the Monday morning following the latest loss to decide what to cook prior to the next game (i.e. loss). It’s gotten to the point where in June we’re talking about tailgate menus as much as the upcoming season, which is where this post comes in.
I had a craving for a Buffalo chicken sandwich, and I decided to do a grilled thigh version instead of a fried breast. Chicken thighs are freaking delicious. So I stopped at the store on the way home and bought thighs, wing sauce, buns, bleu cheese dressing, and some lettuce and tomato, as well as the most common wing accompaniments: carrot sticks and celery. I’m sure no one needed that shopping list, but it was only one sentence. I’m also sure no one needs instructions, but it should be noted that I bought enough wing sauce in which to marinate the chicken for an hour before grilling (overnight is better) and still have enough left over to drizzle on the sandwich with the bleu cheese dressing. If you want to make your own wing sauce, traditionally it's equal parts hot sauce and butter. Have at it.
Without further ado I give you Tammy's fantastic photography.
Yes, it tasted as good as it looks.