An Upscale Tailgate (or really, just a Canadian Barbecue)

Recently, I decided that with my love of cooking it would be fun to join in on the Cooking Challenge over at 20sb. This time, the challenge was an Upscale Tailgate. Well, here in Canada (at least in my neck of the woods), a tailgate is when a group of people grab some cases of beer and go out and drink on the back of a truck.


I figured that wasn’t what was meant, so I asked, and apparently it’s a form of group barbecue, so that made me happy, because barbecues are totally my thing. Since I’ve never attended a tailgate, I decided to just pursue what I would do for a group barbecue. I love to go all out on any form of dinner. Even if it’s just hamburgers and hot dogs, I find things to add to the meal to make it slightly more special.


The challenge rules were pretty simple. Upscale tailgate foods and post photos and recipes to the blog, and keep it under $20 per person. Also had to do a cocktail, either new or pre-existing.


Originally the meal I planned was for Scott and I, however we ended up having an impromptu get together with some of our friends to watch Lord of the Rings (the extended version) in preparation for Fan Expo next weekend. So the meal size went from dinner for 2 to dinner for 6, which worked out okay because most of the things we bought for the dinner had more than enough for that many people (and was within the price limit).


Scott and I LOVE LOVE LOVE spicy stuff, especially spices with strong flavour, so that set the tone for everything I made. It also gave me the chance to do some experimentation that I’ve been wanting to do for a while (like making a homemade BBQ sauce).


The meal consisted of steak and chicken with a Maple-Lime-Whiskey BBQ sauce, cajun-oregano shrimp, balsamic beets and cayenne-lime corn on the cob. The drinks, which only Scott and I had, I made up, but they could have recipes out there. I had a chipotle-lime Caesar and I made Scott a Green Tornado (his choice of name).


Anyways, enough for the babbling, it’s time for show and tell!


Prior to beginning, place wooden skewers for shrimp  in container of water to soak. Helps them cook better on the bbq, and prevents splinters when trying to put the shrimp on 😉


First, comes the prep work:



The Maple Lime Whiskey sauce, or as I named it ‘Maple Whiskey Sunrise


Add to a saucepan:
1/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup ketchup
Melt together and simmer.
Add in:
2 cloves garlic
1 Tbsp chipotle Tabasco sauce
2 tsp chili flakes
Bring to slight boil, then stir in:
2 tbsp rum
2 Tbsp maple syrup
Lime juice to taste


Pull off heat and cool.



Balsamic Beets


I sliced the beets and found the largest, low depth container I could so that I could get them soaking the most. These needed to marinate for a little while, so once the bbq sauce was done, I prepped them. I used 4 1/2 medium sized beets to get enough for 6 people.


In a measuring cup, mix:
3/4  cup Balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Thyme, marjoram and salt to taste


Pour over beets and let soak for an hour.



Cayenne-Lime Corn


Mix together:
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp oregano
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp chipotle tabasco sauce
1 tsp cayenne powder
3 tsp lime juice


Place on piece of tin foil and use sauce brush to brush over cobs of corn, then completely wrap in tin foil.



Cajun Shrimp


Mix together:
1 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp cajun spice
1 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp lime juice


Mix together in a container with a fork. Dip each individual jumbo shrimp in the mix before sliding it onto the skewer. Place 4-5 shrimp per skewer.


Next, the cooking:



Depending on the style of BBQ you have, the way you lay everything out will be different. Place the corn on the top rack – the heat of the BBQ and the length of time it is on the BBQ should be enough to cook it as if it was directly above the heat source.


Keep the meat on one side and the shrimp and beets on the other. When you first lay down the meat, lightly baste the top in the sauce – it will marinate the top as the bottom first cooks. Keep the meat side just above medium heat. When the bottom side is cooked (about 5-7 minutes) turn over and apply BBQ sauce to the other side. Leave for ten minutes, then turn over and add more to the top. There should be a slightly ‘burnt’ look to the sauce when you turn it over.


On the shrimp and beets side, put the beets towards the hottest part of the grill (on mine, it’s the back). Lay them all out, and then put on the shrimp. Turn the beets over whenever they start to get a lighter, crisped colour. Shrimp does not take very long to cook, so keep an eye on it. When the side facing down begins to get a yellowy look (that’s the olive oil crisping) turn it over.


When the shrimp looks like this, pull it off the grill:



The cocktails:



Chipotle-Lime Caesar


First, wet the rim of the glass with lime juice and dip it in Mott’s Clamato rim-spice.


1 shot of vodka
Full glass of Clamato Juice
1 Tbsp lime juice
1 1/2 tsp chipotle Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp white vinegar
1/8 tsp ground black pepper


Green Tornado


First, wet the rim of the glass with lime juice and dip it in sugar.


2 shots Malibu Rum
1 shot Blue Curacao


Fill the glass 3/4 full with pineapple juice.
Top off with orange juice.



The first time around when we ‘tried’ the Green Tornadoes, the drink did not mix but layered, so it was a cool blue, fading into green then orange. When I made it with the dinner, it went green. Not sure what happened different, but according to Scott, it tasted incredible.


Overall, the dinner was a HUGE hit. Everyone loved it, and I was actually very impressed with how it turned out. Especially the BBQ sauce. I’ve decided I am going to make and bottle some to keep in the fridge. It definitely worked better on the chicken than the steak, so I’ll probably keep it set aside as mainly a chicken sauce.


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